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Vomiting in Dogs

 

Dogs vomit occasionally for a variety of relatively benign reasons – to expel something unwanted from their stomach, as a result of gastric irritation or in response to colonic stimulus, for example. Prolonged, unrelenting vomiting or regurgitation, however, can be the sign of a serious condition, anything from head trauma or toxin exposure to pancreatic cancer or gastrointestinal obstruction.

 

What To Watch For

 

Dogs drool, lick their lips, and swallow excessively just before vomiting or when they feel nauseous. Some may eat grass, possibly to relieve gastric irritation or serve as self-induced emetic.

 

It is important to distinguish between vomiting and regurgitation -- the latter happens spontaneously, raising undigested food with no abdominal effort. Usually, this is a sign of esophageal issues or other problems occurring early on in the digestive process. Regurgitation should not be classified with vomiting as a different range of possible causes are associated with regurgitation.

 

Primary Cause

 

Vomiting usually empties the stomach of unwanted or indigestible material. It also accompanies a wide range of more serious problems triggered by nausea or gastric inflammation/irritation. Anything from infections and ulcers to cancer and drug reactions can lead to vomiting.

 

Immediate Care

 

For severe, unrelenting vomiting:

 

  1. Remove all food made available to your dog.
  2. Check for shock. If your pet is in shock from vomiting, pale skin/gums, an abnormal attitude and/or collapse/coma may result, which requires immediate veterinary attention.
  3. Check for dehydration. If the dog is dehydrated, immediate veterinary assistance is also needed.

 

For occasional or infrequent vomiting (and if the dog is not in shock or dehydrated):

 

  1. Do not give the dog food for 12 hours.
  2. Instead, provide the dog with ice cubes to lick or two to three tablespoons of water every half hour. This will help keep the mouth moist.
  3. After 12 hours, reintroduce clean, fresh water.
  4. Reintroduce bland food between 12 and 24 hours after the initial vomiting incident. A mixture of rice and chicken is best (one part lean meat to five parts starch is ideal), but do not overdo it. Two to three teaspoons is enough to test if the dog is able to partake of the food.
  5. If the dog does not vomit, continue with a little more bland food every hour or two.
  6. If vomiting stops, your pet can return to a normal diet the next day.

 

Diagnosis

 

Continued, repetitive, or serious vomiting should be investigated more fully. A vet will more than likely be able to help diagnose the underlying condition with X-rays, bloodwork, fecal analysis, urinalysis, ultrasound imaging and/or a barium study, among other things. If you can bring a sample of the dog’s vomitus with you, it may also help in the diagnostic process.

 

Prevention

 

Many causes of vomiting cannot be prevented, but for those that can, observe the following rules:

 

  1. Don’t change your dog’s diet suddenly. Always use a gradual approach in case gastric irritation or intestinal upset should result (a common occurrence as the result of sudden dietary changes).
  2. Don’t give the dog toys that can be swallowed or chewed into pieces, thereby causing gastric and/or intestinal irritation.
  3. Don’t give your dog bones. These, too, are routinely implicated in vomiting episodes.
  4. Don’t let your dog scavenge. “Garbage gut” is what veterinarians commonly call the gastroenteritis caused by consuming scavenged items from the garbage.
  5. Watch inquisitive dogs carefully when out and about. A basket muzzle to keep dogs from non-edible items they’d unwisely elect to consume may be in order.

 

Image via Shutterstock

 

Comments  18

Leave Comment
  • What would happen if.....
    10/08/2012 10:42pm

    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.

  • 10/08/2012 10:44pm

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

  • Boxer Puppy with Vomiting
    06/04/2013 11:57am

    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 12:13pm

    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 02:36am

    I would go to another vet

  • 08/30/2013 09:19am

    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 01:13pm

    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.

  • Help please
    09/04/2013 08:37am

    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.

  • vomiting foamy liquid
    09/18/2013 12:45pm

    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 02:50pm

    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 12:59pm

    UPDATE TO VOMITING DOG:
    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 01:21pm

    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?
    02/10/2014 09:40pm

    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 02:04pm

    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 04:16am

    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 04:37pm

    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 07:38pm

    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 05:25pm

    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.

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