Our Next Stop – The Dog Esophagus

The dog esophagus is where our dog food digestion journey continues. The food has now been swallowed thanks to the saliva-producing glands. We only stay for a short while at this next stop as the food spends only a few seconds here and not much happens to it.

Your dog’s esophagus is a short muscular tube. Its function is mainly to transport the food from the mouth to the stomach. Food spends very little time in the dog esophagus; a few seconds only.

Transport is aided by gravitation but luckily not dependent on this (as food still gets from A to B when you or your dog lay down). Peristaltic waves push the food forward to the stomach. This happens all by itself or involuntary. To aid this transport the esophageal cells produce mucus so the food is lubricated.

Cross-section of a dog's esophagus

Cross-section of a dog’s esophagus – photographed with a biological trinocular compound microscope [magnification 40X]

Food Passage Is Fast

  • Peristaltic waves created by striated muscle cells help gravity.
  • Mucus is produced as a lubricant for easy passage.

Your Dog’s Esophagus Is A One Way Street (Usually)

It’s a one-way street, though exceptions to the rule exist. Directions are reversed in your dog’s esophagus in some cases. Then, in a reflex, the cardiac sphincter opens and the stomach contents are pushed up through the dog esophagus back to the mouth. Then… the journey ends unexpectedly early but sometimes it’s better that way. Not all roads should be traveled by everything, and when your dog has eaten something that’s not beneficial to his health, it better leaves his body in a very quick way.

Akita dog washes cat

Just a picture of my dog… washing our cat again.

Vomiting Because Of An Irritated Stomach

Your dog vomits when something is irritating his stomach lining. This can be due to irritating chemicals, non-digestible toys or overproduction of acidic stomach fluids. Now, do you remember from “Dog Digestion Journey – Part 1” that I told you that production of saliva increases when your dog is smelling a delicious dish? This is not the only event that happens in his furry body as also the production of stomach acids starts in the anticipation of food or a snack.

What To Do When You Dog Vomits BEFORE Eating?

Suppose your dog vomits befóre he has had his meal. Then ask yourself how long in time before getting the meal, your dog is anticipating it. Investigate your own routines. When your dog can deduct from your behavior that it’s nearly dinner time, his digestive system is getting ready for action. Saliva and stomach acid production take off. This, in combination with a sensitive stomach, can result in vomiting when the time between anticipation and food intake gets too long.

Prolonging the time between food anticipation and actually enjoying it, can increase your dog’s stress level. Don’t wave the food in front of his nose requiring him to do a hundred tricks before getting it.

If you suspect this is the case with your tail wagger, then experiment with new rituals. Give your dog his breakfast and dinner at a different moment. For example, when you are used to feeding your dog right after you enjoyed your meal, then surprise him by giving it to him before.

Vomiting Due To Motion Sickness

In this case, the vomiting is not because of something (an object, a chemical or your dog’s own stomach acid) is irritating the stomach lining. In the case of motion sickness, the dog brain is stimulating the vomiting.

Suppose the dog food has made it through the dog esophagus to the stomach and nothing has caused your dog to vomit (which usually is the case, otherwise your pooch really should see a vet) then the journey continues to the dog stomach.

Recommended Resource About Dog Health Issues

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