Vomiting in dogs

When a dog is vomiting it can be caused by different things. We’ll help you identify the causes, explain when you need to worry and how you can help your dog when this unpleasant thing happens. Overall, vomiting in dogs is not always a cause for concern.

Is it a serious problem if my dog is vomiting?

It can be worrying to see your dog vomiting, but it’s not always cause for concern. We all know pups can eat unpleasant things, which unsurprisingly can lead to a dog being sick. Dogs who eat their food too quickly are also prone to vomiting shortly afterwards. Preventing scavenging by keeping a short lead and close eye on your dog can solve the first problem. Using slow feeder bowls can help with the bolting food problem.

What are the causes of vomiting in dogs?

But what are the other causes if a dog keeps being sick? There are many reasons, some more serious than others. The long list includes:

  • Gastritis or gastroenteritis (inflamed stomach and/or intestines)
  • Foreign body (a swallowed object lodged in the stomach or intestine)
  • Food allergy or intolerance
  • Dietary indiscretion (eating something inappropriate or unsanitary)
  • Dietary toxicity (eating something toxic or poisonous)
  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Worms
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver or kidney problems
  • Bloat or a twisted stomach (also known as GDV, Gastric Dilatation Volvulus)
  • Car sickness
  • Pyometra (a uterine/womb infection)
  • Heatstroke
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Medication side effects (especially certain anti-inflammatories)
  • Addison’s Disease (a hormonal disorder)
  • Vestibular Disease (a balance issue that can lead to nausea)

When do I need to worry?

Well, the first thing to consider is how often it’s happening. If your dog keeps being sick that’s different to a single, isolated incident. A good rule of thumb is if your dog vomits once, it’s OK to monitor and wait to see if it happens again.

One major exception to this rule is if their stomach is bloated or painful, or if they try to vomit and can’t bring anything up. These symptoms can indicate bloat or a twisted stomach (GDV), which is a genuine emergency and needs vet attention urgently.

If your dog vomits more than once in a 24 hour period, or it’s happening several times a week regularly then that may mean a vet visit is recommended. A dog vomiting yellow bile in large amounts can indicate a more serious issue than just a little white froth after coughing or retching for example. If there’s fresh blood in the vomit or dark spots like coffee granules which is how semi-digested blood appears, then again this is time for a vet visit.

A young puppy being sick is more of a worry as their blood sugar can drop if they don’t eat for a period of time. Similarly older dogs with other health issues should be treated with more caution as dehydration from vomiting may make their other problems worse.

What else should I watch out for?

Keeping a record of how often your dog has vomited is useful as is identifying any potential triggers, such as links to feeding times, certain treats or exercise. Lots of other symptoms can appear alongside vomiting, which will help your vet make a diagnosis if you let them know. Keep an eye out for signs like:

  • Lethargy
  • Excessive drooling or licking lips (nausea)
  • Restlessness
  • Refusal to eat
  • Reduced appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Weight loss
  • Increased/decreased thirst
  • Increased/decreased urination

What will happen at the vets?

Your vet will ask a detailed history and do a full clinical examination of your dog to find out what might be going on. There may also be a few tests depending on what they find to rule out certain issues or confirm the suspected cause.

Medications may be prescribed, or if your dog is dehydrated they may give IV fluids too to help your dog recover and feel better. If it’s an ongoing issue, or a food allergy for example, they’ll give advice on how best to manage over time.

How can I help my dog after vomiting?

The best advice is to follow your vet’s treatment plan for your individual dog’s case. Often food will be withheld for a short period of time to allow the stomach to settle. Then bland, easily digested food like boiled chicken and rice or a prepared recovery diet is used when you start feeding again. Plenty of water, rest and of course some TLC will usually help your dog make a full recovery.

Get to know more about your dogs’ health and read other blog posts: https://tails.com/blog/category/nutrition-and-health/health/

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