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Dog Vomiting - Why is My Dog Throwing Up?


Dogs sometimes vomit for a variety of relatively benign reasons – to expel something they shouldn't have eaten from their stomach, for example. But sometimes vomiting can be a sign of a serious condition: anything from head trauma or toxin exposure to pancreatic cancer or gastrointestinal obstruction. Read on to learn why dogs vomit, when you should be concerned, and what you can do to treat dog vomiting.


What To Watch For


First of all, it is important to distinguish between vomiting and regurgitation. The latter happens passively, with undigested food coming up out of the esophagus with no abdominal effort. Usually, regurgitation is a sign of esophageal disorders. Regurgitation must be differentiated from vomiting because the causes and treatments for the two conditions are very different.


Vomiting in dogs is usually preceded by signs of nausea such as drooling, licking lips, and swallowing excessively. Some dogs may eat grass, possibly to protect the esophagus when the dog vomits, because the grass can wrap around and cover sharp objects like bone shards. Vomiting is an active process. It involves obvious contractions of the abdominal wall… “heaving” for lack of a better word.


Why Do Dogs Throw Up?


Vomiting serves a vital function in dogs, many of whom have a well-deserved reputation for a willingness to eat almost anything. It is the body’s way of correcting a potential mistake. Most owners have witnessed their dogs eating something unsavory, only to see it come back up a few minutes later. Other relatively benign causes of dog vomiting are motion sickness and bilious vomiting syndrome. Of course, vomiting is also a symptom of many potentially serious diseases such as:

  • Gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestinal tract)
  • Intestinal obstruction caused by foreign material, tumors, displacement, etc.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Parasites
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Some types of cancer
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Infections (bacterial, viral, or fungal)
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Addison’s disease
  • Pancreatic disease
  • Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis
  • Gastrointestinal ulcers
  • Head trauma
  • Drug side effects
  • Food allergies or intolerance

What to Do When Your Dog Throws Up


There are times when a vomiting dog requires immediate treatment. If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms, call a veterinarian.

  • Frequent vomiting – dogs who vomit frequently can quickly become debilitated. This is especially true for puppies,       elderly dogs, or individuals who have other health problems.
  • Projectile vomiting – potentially a sign of an obstructed gastrointestinal tract
  • Lethargy and depression – indications that the dog’s whole body is being adversely affected
  • Severe diarrhea – the combination of severe vomiting and diarrhea can quickly result in dehydration
  • Decreased urination – decreased urine production is seen with dehydration
  • Abdominal pain and/or enlargement – these symptoms are generally seen with the more serious causes of vomiting in dogs
  • Repeated attempts at vomiting but nothing is produced – this is a classic symptom of gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV or bloat), a potentially life-threatening condition. 
  • The presence of red blood or material that looks like coffee grounds in the vomit – fresh blood appears red while partially digested blood resembles coffee grounds. Some causes of gastrointestinal bleeding in dogs are true emergencies.
  • The vomit is bright green– some types of rodenticides (poisons used to kill mice and rats) are died a bright green color. These poisons can also kill dogs.

On the other hand, if your dog has only vomited once or twice and seems to feel pretty good, the following home treatment is a reasonable option:

  1. Take away all sources of food and water for six to eight hours.
  2. If your dog does not vomit during that time, offer a small amount of water.  If your dog can hold that down, gradually reintroduce larger amounts of water.
  3. If after 12 hours of being allowed to drink, your dog is still not vomiting, offer a small meal of boiled white meat chicken (no bones and no skin) mixed with white rice.  If your dog can eat this without vomiting, increase the size and decrease the frequency of his meals over a day or two and then start mixing in his regular food.  

This whole process should take around three days.  If at any point your dog starts to vomit again, see your veterinarian.

Comments  32

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  • What would happen if.....
    10/09/2012 02:42am

    What would happen if my boxer puppy ate a slug, something she wasnt supposed to(not poison), or got stung? because my boxer puppy is vomiting and not drinking or eating anything and loosing a lot of weight..but we are giving her two very small cups of Pedialite every hour just to keep her hydrated but she is walking around and drinking just a little bit of water at a time.

  • 10/09/2012 02:44am

    And yes...she has all of her shots..so she doesnt have parvo.

  • Boxer Puppy with Vomiting
    06/04/2013 03:57pm

    Frequent vomiting in puppies is a serious problem. Your puppy is not getting the nutrition she needs & is more vulnerable to illness and developmental problems. Aspiration pneumonia could develop if she she gets vomit in her airway passages.

    Please take your puppy to a veterinarian & take a sample of the vomit with you. Keep the sample in plastic bag in the refrigerator to prevent deterioration unless you get the sample right before you go to the vet.

  • My fog vomits for a week
    08/25/2013 04:13pm

    My Dog has been vomiting and regurgitating (involuntary return of food). I took him to the vet and she said she couldn't find any thing wrong. Prescribed him Pepcid AC and other anti acid medicine. They worked for a while but then he started vomiting again. He has lost wight and I don't know what to do anymore. Please help.

  • 08/28/2013 06:36am

    I would go to another vet

  • 08/30/2013 01:19pm

    Hi we have been having the same problem with one of our dogs. he hasn't really ate anything for almost a week. although he is still drinking his normal amount of water we have had him to the vet twice this week, she gave him some anti-vomiting shots and prescribed some medication for coating the stomach and Pepcid ac for him. which would be wonderful if I could get anything into him. he has also has full xrays and complete blood work, and according to all of the tests he is fine. next step is referral to specialist. so know how you are feeling

  • 10/08/2013 05:13pm

    look at my post about UPDATE TO VOMITING DOG....I tried all the same methods and nothing was working, except finally i switched their food to grain free holistic Blue buffalo and problem solved immediately....I did find out that even having them on a regular diet that they can develop food allergies from their food. I hope this helps.

  • 07/13/2015 11:13pm

    So my dog was vomiting back up her food as well. She's 12 yo now and I had Petsmart tell me to change out her food to a senior dog food. Sometimes the proteins, they cant digest it as they get older. The senior formula seems to work. She keeps trying to sneak off of my other pups food and when she does I know because she throws it right back up again. lol Its also possible that she might be allergic to chicken or grain. I actually also changed from Blue Buffalo to Simply Nourish Grain Free and she's doing just fine now. Let me know what goes on if you can.

  • 05/11/2016 09:16am

    Hi, does your dog still live after that week of vomiting? My dog is also vomiting. The Vet suspect it is Spirocerca lupi. Did you find out what was wrong with your dog?

  • Help please
    09/04/2013 12:37pm

    I have a seven-eight year old mixer dog and she has started getting sick but all that comes up is stomach bile. I have kept her on a bland diet she is NOT lethargic. Any advice would be helpful.

  • 07/13/2015 11:16pm

    Sometimes vomiting bile is them having anxiety. Your dog could be stressing over something in the home. Maybe your schedule has changed or a specific routine your dog is use to...

  • vomiting foamy liquid
    09/18/2013 04:45pm

    I have 2-chihuahuas and 1-ShihTzu. only the 2 chihuahuas have been vomiting \ regurgitating foamy liquid every morning (before they eat and go out for a walk) for the last 3-mornings. This has been occurring around the same time every morning (5AM). They are fine the rest of the day and do not vomit after eating? I do not give them any water after 8pm until 6:30am the next morning for the sake of accidents.
    DIET: 1/4 cup every 12hrs....Blue Buffalo salmon/rice for sensitive systems.
    One of my Chihuahuas has done this before and I gave him Prilosec and it resolved but now a few months later they both are doing this?

  • 09/24/2013 06:50pm

    That sounds like a problem I had with a Shih Tzu several years ago. The vet assured me that it wasn't overly serious. His explanation was that a dog has stomach acid, just like a human, and that, since they don't eat as much at night, that stomach acid is not absorbed. It irritates the stomach, and it comes up. He recommended feeding a small amount of food during the night and, if that didn't help, look into an OTC acid reducer. Just make sure you check with the vet before prescribing a dosage yourself. And I would start to leave out water at night. That will dilute the acid. Better a couple of pee spots on the rug than a sick dog every morning is my theory.
    Hope that helps.

  • 10/08/2013 04:59pm

    I tried the prilosec at night before bed...didn't work.
    I tried feeding them with water in their food before bed...didnt work.
    The vet said change their food and after consulting with a friend who is a vet. tech and knows alot about the different foods, told me to try a food that is Grain free....YAY IT WORKED!!!!
    So now i have them on Blue buffalo wilderness holistic, grain free, chicken recipe. I have not had any issues since switching, it stopped the vomiting the same night I gave them their first trial.
    SO HAPPY THEY ARE BETTER!!!! Thanks for all your advice.

  • Frequently sick dog
    02/05/2014 06:21pm

    My dog eats grass to throw up at least 2 times a week. I have had tests, x-rays and exams done and the vet cannot find anything that would lead to his digestive issues. He repeatedly did this as a puppy and I switched him to grain free and has been doing great for 2 years. Now all of a sudden he is eating grass and throwing up regularly again. I have tried giving him pepcid, taking away bones, taking away all people food, adding wet food to his diet and nothing seems to work. Could he have developed an allergy or resistence to his current food? I am hesitent to switch his food again because he really seems to like this blend. Any advice or insight is much appreciated.

  • Should I worry?
    02/11/2014 02:40am

    My dog has been regurgitating; I fed him at his normal time, when I get off work, and a few hours later, he regurgitated it. He's done it three times already; twice in the house and once outside. He drank some water after the second time. He could be lying on the couch, like he was the second time it happened, and regurgitate his food. Did he eat his food too fast? Please let me know.

  • Very concern about my Dog
    06/17/2014 06:04pm

    I took my dog Lexy ( medium size poodle, female 1yr and 1month old weights 20.5 pounds) to the vet yesterday(6/16/14) because she had an episode of vomiting the whole previous night and in the morning. She basically vomit everything she ate that day and in the next morning everything that she drank she vomited as well. She also poop blood which am really concern about this!! I took her to the vet right away they are doing lab work. They took her temperature it was a little bit low. She was dehydrated !! They gave her antibiotics and vitamin B12 and cant recall what else that they injected her. At home they gave her to take Clavamox 125mg 2x a day,metronidazole 250mg 2x a dayand AllerG-3 2mL 2x a day. Am am giving her Pedyalite to keep her hydrated. She looks a little better she is now eating not vomiting but she has not poop yet . I guess my question is should I have the vet test her for Parvo? Does her symptoms correspond to it or not? or what else do you recommend for me to ask the vet to test her for? By the way I had taken her to get her yearly shots on 6/12/14 four days previous from this vomiting episode.

  • my Dog wants to vomit
    06/24/2014 08:16am

    My dog likes to eat a lot but last two days it does not finish its usual food and it wants to vomit but it cant nw it starts to cough bt it is still fresh and it starting to become aggressive towards people.
    what could be possibly cause that?

  • Yellow foamy vomit
    07/25/2014 08:37pm

    I have a seven-eight year old mixer dog and she has started getting sick but all that comes up is stomach bile. She and my other dog are on same high quality food. She is NOT lethargic. Any advice would be helpful. She throws up about 30 min before normal eating time but still continues to eat her food.

  • 10 mo old pup vomiting
    07/25/2014 11:38pm

    I have a 10 month old boxer/lab. He has been vomiting and intermittent diarrhea off and on for the last 4 to 5 months. First time it became critical went to my vet, who I think is great! She gave him some shots of Pepcid and prescribed some anti-diarrhea meds and put him on a bland diet. He got better and I thought we were good. Then it started again! This time the vet did X-rays and a barium study in which she said he had an intestinal blockage. Emergency surgery and $2700 later, no blockGe was found! But he seemed to be better. Back to regular diet, a Lamb & Rice formula. He was fine .... And now it's starting all over again! I am thinking this has got to be his diet! Should I switch him to a no grain formula? What kind of protein? I'm am so ready to find a solution!!!!

  • vomiting
    08/07/2014 09:25pm

    i have a 11 year old yorkipoo.and shes been vomiting foamy type stuff . somtimes its yellow acid stuff. im taking her to the vet but im scared to f ind out its someting serious.

  • 11/04/2014 09:27pm

    That's scary! I bet she's alright. You definitely need to see a veterinarian though, just in case. Your veterinarian will you give the perfect advice to take care of your dog. Good luck!

  • Puppies regurgitation
    11/05/2014 04:42pm

    My dog is 6 weeks old Boston Terrier, we recently changed his diet and now he regurgitates often, usually after eating. I am SO worried :'(. What should I do? Please help!

  • worried about my baby gir
    05/05/2015 08:07pm

    I just recently moved my two dogs into a new apartment. The female of the two has had very inconsistent bowel movements. While the male dog is happy as ever, my female has had diarreah, milky stool, even blood a few times in her harder light colored stool. She has had 2 more accidents in the house than she has had since she was house trained over 5 years ago. She wakes me in the night to go out, then goes back to sleep for a few hours, only to get up again. She has never gone through this, and I am just very concerned. During the move my roommate had his mother come stay with us for a few weeks, she brought her dogs, and I caught her feeding them both crap that I don't feed them. I will try some OTC medication for her, just don't know if this is a reason for me to run her to the Vet.

    -A Concerned Daddy

  • Why Does Dog Keep throwup
    12/01/2015 06:20am

    Never change their diet unexpectedly
    When changing a dog’s diet it needs to be a gradual process to prevent them from getting an upset stomach.
    Don’t give them toys they could swallow
    Don’t give them dog bones
    Believe it or not, often times dog bones are the cause of them throwing up.
    Make sure your dog isn’t digging through the trash
    Always pay attention to what your dog may be eating.
    Sometimes when out and about, a muzzle is suggested to ensure you dog doesn’t get into anything that could make them sick
    I read it here : http://dogthrowupcure.com/why-does-my-dog-keep-throwing-up/

  • Dog Keeps Vomiting
    12/06/2015 02:40am

    If your dog does throw up, here are some guidelines to follow:
    Check for shock
    If your dog is in shock they will need immediate vet attention
    Signs of shock include: pale skin or gums; weakness; difficulty moving; collapsing
    Keep them warm and comfortable
    Make sure to assure your dog they did nothing wrong and set them up in a comfy spot
    Clean the vomit off their fur with a warm washcloth
    Y can read more here : http://dogthrowupcure.com/possible-reasons-of-why-your-dog-keeps-vomiting/

  • what can i do
    04/03/2016 06:29pm

    I have a dog that gets sick when he drinks pretty much water he starts falling all over an vomiting all over can u pls tell me why is that an what can i do to stop it?????

  • vomitting and isnt eating
    05/22/2016 03:35am

    my puppy, 5 months old suddenly stopped eating..he has vomitted twice already since yesterday..what do i do? i prepared coconut milk for her but i had difficulty on making her drink it..what are the other remedies?

  • Frequent vomiting
    07/13/2016 11:45pm

    My dog has been frequently vomiting since I got him in 2011. Several times I brought him to the vet and find no solution to the problem. Tried variety of dog foods but no positive result. Recently he vomits every night and and during the day when he gets excited seeing us coming home. He does not loss weight, appetite or dehydrated. He leaks the floor a lot and eats his own vomit when unattended. Is there anyone have similar problem? please share whatsoever can solve my concern.

  • My puppy is getting sick
    07/23/2016 06:03pm

    I just got my own dog, he is almost a year old and he loves to eat. He is a mutt, but I love him. Recently he has been throwing up food. I'm nervous for his health.... What should I do for my baby???

  • my baby is throwing up
    09/15/2016 08:24pm

    i have a 7 months old female lab , since last night she is throwing up whatever she is eating. After vomiting she eats drinks water . She ate nylon threads and cotton which she threw in the last nights vomit. After that i gave her curd and pedigree (chicken and milk). She threw that too. after that at dinner time i gave her little curd and rice , which she threw it again .
    What should i do !! i am shocked as well as concerned about my little baby.
    please suggest me something because vet clinic is too far from myhome.

  • Dog is vomiting.
    01/19/2017 05:02am

    My dog is vomiting immediately after food from last one month. She is facing vomiting tendency 24*7. I have consulted with veterinarian also. She took 1 bottle of saline water as well. But there is no improvement. She is vomiting even after taking medicines as well. Her age is 3 years. As food i am just giving soup only, but she is unable to digest this also.
    Please let me know if there is any way to prevent. I am really very much worried.

    Thanks & Regards.
    Sujay Das