Factors To Consider When Your Dog Is Vomiting
Did your dog scarf down their food too fast, or eat inappropriate garbage? Several issues can cause your dog to vomit, but not all are cause for immediate veterinary attention. Our team at Belmont Animal Hospital wants to explain the important details that can help you determine if your dog is vomiting because of a serious issue.
Why Do Dogs Vomit Food
If your dog is throwing up undigested food but it isnt immediately after they’ve eaten, they’re probably vomiting. As described above, you can usually tell vomiting from regurgitation by the consistency, color, and smell of the stomach contents.
So, why do dogs vomit? There are many possible causes.
How To Prevent Your Dog Vomiting
Its not always easy or possible to prevent your dog from vomiting.
For example, if your dog has an underlying medical condition of which youre not yet aware or if your dog has eaten something he shouldnt have and you didnt see him do so.
That said, there are ways in which you can prevent your dog from eating toxic household items, such as plants that are poisonous to dogs: you should keep them out of reach so that your dog isnt curious about them.
Some common toxic items you should pack in high cupboards so your dog cant get to them include human medication , human foods containing chocolate, human foods containing xylitol, pest control products, and antifreeze.
Here are other ways to prevent vomiting:
- If your dog tends to vomit because he or she eats their food too quickly, you can help to prevent this by giving them smaller amounts of food at a time or feeding the dog bit by bit at mealtimes so that they dont gobble it all up in one go.
- If you travel with your dog and it experiences motion sickness, you can help to prevent vomiting by limiting how much food they eat before a car journey. You should also ask your vet about your dogs motion sickness as theyll be able to prescribe medication that your dog can take to keep it at bay.
- Try to find ways to eliminate stress in the household, especially around mealtimes. This could include feeding your dog in a calm, quiet room where external stimuli and other pets dont disturb it.
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Do You Need To Go To The Vet If Your Dog Is Vomiting
The most important thing to determine is when its necessary to bring your dog to the vet, and when its okay to try a home remedy or just wait for the vomiting to pass.
If the vomiting has been going on for less than 12 hours, and your dog is perky and keeping down food and water, then it may be okay to wait and monitor the situation.
One of the biggest dangers with dog vomiting is dehydration. When a dog becomes dehydrated, essential body functions start to break down.
Its time to call and visit your vet if your dog:
Is a puppy
Is projectile vomiting
Tries to vomit or dry-heaving and nothing comes out
Vomits pieces of a foreign object or an entire object
Is urinating less
Has a tender or enlarged abdomen
Cannot hold down small amounts of water
Is showing signs of dehydration
Has diarrhea with the vomiting
Has pre-existing medical problems
Ate people food
Is losing weight from vomiting often
Is declining in their appearance and overall demeanor
What To Look For In Your Dogs Vomit
Your dogs vomit can sometimes have clues in it that will help you to see what has caused it. Here are some important things to look for in your dogs vomit before you clean it up.
- Foreign materials: Look for signs that your dog has vomited something that they shouldnt have eaten, such as bones, items from the garbage or compost pile, or grass.
- Consistency: The vomit consistency can tell you a lot about it. Dog vomit can be foamy, slimy, runny, chunky, or granular. If your dogs vomit is chunky or granular, this is usually as a result of food that was eaten or items that your dog shouldnt have eaten that didnt agree with him. If the vomit is clear, slimy, or foamy, that means that your dogs stomach was emptied when he vomited. This foam originates from mucus in the stomach.
- Color: You should also check the color of your dogs vomit. Yellow vomit usually means that theres bile in it, but bile can also make your dogs vomit look a bit green or orange. If the vomit is bright green, this points to the dog having eaten rat poison, so you should consult with your vet immediately. If theres red color in the vomit, this means that blood is in the stomach, mouth, or esophagus. This is also an emergency that warrants a trip to the vet or animal hospital.
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Quick Eating Due To Anxiety
Although most pet parents assume that a dog vomiting after eating may have a sensitivity to the food, it isn’t necessarily the case. Anxiety or fear may be the driving force to why a dog throws up after eating. Does your dog compete with other dogs in the house for food? This sense of territory can make him eat faster, which may overload his stomach and decrease the amount of saliva normally swallowed with the food that acts as a buffer. And just like us, nervousness and stress can make your dog feel queasy and increase acid in his stomach.
When dogs eat too quickly, they don’t take the time to chew their larger pieces of kibble. They also ingest a significant amount of air, both of which can come back up by regurgitation or by vomiting. If possible, feed your anxious dog in a secluded area, without any other animals around. Start with small meals and gradually build back up to a normal-sized dinner once you see he’s calmed down at each meal.
Can My Dog Get Me Sick
Theres lots of research showing the health benefits of dog ownership. But humans can also become ill through contact with their canine companions. This usually happens through the inadvertent transfer of dangerous bacteria, such as salmonella, campylobacter and staphylococcus. But there are also some dog diseases that are considered zoonotic meaning they can be transferred from animal to human. The most well-known is rabies but its not present in the UK.
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Bland Diet As A Therapy
A dog with short-lived vomiting can be treated at home with a prescribed meal plan. Start with nothing by mouth for 12-24 hours. If vomiting has ceased, over a small amount of water three hours after the last vomiting episode. If theres still no vomiting after three more hours, offer a small amount of water again. Continue to offer water like this for the first 24 hours as long as vomiting doesnt return.
The next day, offer a small amount of a bland diet every 2-3 hours. If your dog is keeping this down, increase the amount, but decrease the frequencye.g. ¼ -½ cup every four hours. Stick with a bland diet for a few days after both vomiting has stopped and stool has returned to normal. Return to a normal diet slowly as described above in Dietary Changes.
Dog Vomiting Blood: Causes
Dog vomiting can be caused by various reasons, some of which are relatively harmless and others that require immediate medical attention from a veterinarian.
Some of the common causes of vomiting in dogs include the following:
- Motion sickness
- Dietary indiscretion
- The non-digestible material in the gastrointestinal tract
- Bloat/Gastric dilation
- Inflammation of the stomach and intestines
- Intestinal obstruction or other GI disorders
- Foreign objects in the digestive system
- Bacterial infections and viruses
- Acute urethral obstruction
Each of these causes for dog vomiting may cause other additional symptoms, such as lethargy, fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and more.
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Help My Dog Keeps Throwing Up
As an emergency critical care specialist, vomiting is the #1 reason why I see dogs presenting to the animal ER. So, if you notice that your dog keeps throwing up, how many times is too many before you decide to bring him in for a veterinary visit?In a previous blog, Dr. Nancy Kay discussed what you need to understand about your dogs vomiting. She talked about some important observations to note including:
- Material found in the vomit
- Anything unusual that might have been ingested
- All other symptoms observed
When is a vomiting dog an emergency?Ill add in a few other rules for vomiting that make it a must to bring your dog into the ER . While this list isnt all-inclusive, if you notice any of these signs, get to a veterinarian stat!
- Multiple attempts to retch without bringing anything up. This is one of the most common signs for the life-threatening condition, gastric dilatation volvulus .
- Vomiting with A distended abdomen
- Vomiting and not wanting to get up
- Vomiting and pale gums
- Vomiting and a racing heart rate
- Not able to hold water or ice down for more than 12-24 hours, sooner if its a puppy or neonate
- Vomiting more than 6X in a day
- History of getting into something that can cause a foreign body
Also get to the veterinarian if:
- Youre concerned your dog ate something poisonous
- Your dog wakes you up at night vomiting, acting anxious and cant settle down
- Your dog exhibits any abnormal behavior
Home Remedies And Their Effectiveness
If your dog is bright with only a mild tummy upset then you could fast them for a short period followed by small amounts of a bland food such as a commercial sensitivity diet or in a pinch cooked chicken, white fish, and boiled rice. Water should never be withheld, however. If your dog is showing any worrying symptoms, then you should always get a veterinarian to check them.
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E When Should You Be Concerned About Your Dog Throwing Up
While throwing up in one or two occasions may not be a big deal, it is important to note that vomiting is a clinical sign associated with serious and sometimes life-threatening conditions, which may require urgent veterinary attention.
Without further ado, you should be concerned when:
- A Dog is Vomiting Frequently: Continuous vomiting could be a sign of serious health issues like stomach ulcers, IBD, and kidney failure among others.
- Presence of Blood in the Vomit: If there is blood in your pups vomit or he is throwing up things that appear like coffee grounds, reach out to your vet as this could be a sign of more complex health issues like ingestion of sharp objects or gastric ulcers.
- Your Dog Manifest Other Symptoms: If your pup is not only throwing up but also displaying other symptoms like drooling, seizures, sneezing, diarrhea, or loss of appetite, know that something is wrong and you need to call your vet.
- Changes in Behavior: if you also notice other behavioral changes after your dog has thrown up, it is advisable to let your vet know immediately.
Small Regular Bland Meals
Give your dog small, regular, bland meals throughout the day.
Bland diets are available in tins , or alternatively you can give them plain boiled rice and chicken breast or white fish. Dont give your dog anything rich or fatty this could make things much worse! Once your dog has stopped vomiting you can start to re-introduce their normal food again.
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Wait Before Feeding Them Again
Even if your pup is acting hungry – give them some time for their stomach to settle. You can even wait to give them a drink to help make sure it doesnt come right back up. Just dont wait too long as vomiting can cause some dehydration. If you have concerns, work with your vet to form a plan. Try to keep your pet calm and at a comfortable temperature so you dont exacerbate the dehydration.
So Why Is Your Puppy Throwing Up Food Hours After Eating
Most cases of vomiting result from the factors weve highlighted in the previous sectionseating inedible objects, gastric irritation, swallowing dangerous objects, ingestion of too much fat, food allergies, intestinal parasites, ingesting poisonous substances, stress, anxiety or excitement etc.
Besides the above causes, puppies are also prone to infectious causes of vomiting. For instance, vomiting in your puppy can be a sign of the canine parvovirus or the canine distemper virus, especially when they didnt complete their vaccination series.
These viral diseases can cause extreme vomiting, which can lead to other serious health issues including intestinal problems, dehydration, and even death if they are not treated right away.
Puppies are also at high risk of contracting worms and other intestinal parasites, which are also known to cause vomiting and diarrhea.
And in deep-chested dog breeds, vomiting or regurgitation after eating may a sign of bloat.
Other potential causes of vomiting in puppies include IDB, GI ulcers, pancreatitis, abdominal infections, kidney issues, anatomic abnormalities, and Addisons disease, heat stroke, adrenal gland diseases, etc.
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Do You Know How To Recognize Vomiting Vs Regurgitation In Dogs
Before you do anything to help your dog, you should understand what vomiting is. First, its not a disease vomiting is often a symptom of an underlying issue which could be medical, physiological, or physical. A dog can be perfectly healthy and still vomit.
Vomiting is not always serious. Some cases resolve on their own without any intervention. Other times, you need to monitor your pet to see if it worsens over time or if other symptoms develop. Other instances of vomiting require an urgent trip to see your vet.
Identifying the underlying cause can help address your dogs vomiting and determine if there is a need to seek prompt veterinary intervention.
Treatment For Vomiting Dogs
If your dog is a puppy, older, or has pre-existing medical problems, see your vet immediately. If your dog is alert and active and has had no previous health problems, you may want to try the following treatment at home before consulting your vet:
- if it is a single vomit, withhold food for at least 6 hours. Make sure that they have water available but avoid excessive water intake as this can lead to further vomiting.
- if the vomiting stops, small bland food meals can be introduced
- gradually increase the amount of water
- after 6 hours without vomiting, give your dog small amounts of a bland low-fat food several times a day for a few days
- little by little, increase the amount back to your dog’s normal diet
- if vomiting persists, if your animal seems to deteriorate within themselves, or you have any other concerns we urge you to contact our friendly healthcare team.
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What You Can Do
If your vet determines what causes your dog to vomit and says that at-home care is sufficient for your pup, you’ll want to know how to treat him to alleviate his symptoms. Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine has these care tips for your vomiting dog:
- Withhold food for a few hours, but make sure to consult your veterinarian on how long first. With persistent vomiting, dehydration can be a real cause for concern, which is why fluids are so important.
- Once vomiting stops, introduce a bland, low-fat food, and feed your dog small amounts three to six times daily for a few days. Gradually increase the amount of food and decrease the feedings as you transition to the dog’s normal food. If your vet asked you to withhold water, re-introduce it slowly in small amounts.
- If you determine your dog is throwing up because he is eating too fast, one solution might be a “puzzle feeder,” which forces dogs to eat slower as they work to obtain food.
- You can also try switching your dog’s food to a high-quality option, such as Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dog Food, which offers your dog easy digestion and balanced nutrition. Switch to his new food slowly, rather than all at once or you might exacerbate the problem.
Are Toys Rawhide Or Any Household Item Missing
You should try to think of everything lying around the house that your pup may have had access toanything thats not nailed down or tucked safely in a drawer is fair game. Squeaky toys, plastic balls, bones, rawhides, sticks, corks, bottle caps, large fruit stones, food wrappers, paper, rocks, corncobs, socks, underwear, string from meat, wrapping ribbon, needles, fish hooks, and more can all cause intestinal distress or obstructionand result in vomiting.
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Treatment For Vomiting In Dogs
Your veterinarian will first perform a thorough examination of your dog. Talk to your vet about your dogs recent and long-term medical history. Include information about current medications and diet. Remember to share information regarding anything you think your dog might have eaten, such as plants, chemicals, or dangerous foods.
Your vet may recommend diagnostic tests to look for the source of the vomiting. This usually means may include blood and urine testing, radiographs , and possibly ultrasounds.
Treatment usually starts with the administration of anti-nausea medications, antacids, and GI protectant drugs. Where possible, the first doses may be given via injection to avoid further vomiting. Other concerns like dehydration, pancreatitis, and infectious diseases may require hospitalization. Dogs generally get intravenous fluids and frequent medication dosing while being observed in the hospital.
If the vomiting is a result of poisoning, your vet will follow recommended treatments for the specific toxin. This may also call for hospitalization.
If your vet suspects a GI obstruction, then the next step may be surgery or endoscopy to explore the GI tract and remove the obstruction. A hospital stay will be needed for post-operative care.