Vomiting in Dogs - Symptoms & Treatment
It can be worrying when your dog keeps throwing up. Most of the time, though, vomiting in dogs isn’t a sign of anything too serious. However, you shouldn’t ignore it completely just in case it’s being caused by an underlying health condition that needs to be checked out.
Reasons dogs vomit
There are a host of reasons that might induce vomiting in dogs. As any dog owner can attest to, our four-legged friends can have a habit of putting just about anything in their mouths, leading to them swallowing inappropriate items that need vomiting back up.
They may have ingested foodstuffs they are intolerant to, swallowed a toxic substance or it could be a sign of a serious health condition. We’ve listed some of the most common reasons below alongside some advice on how to address the issue.
It's something they’ve eaten
You’ll tend to see vomiting when they’ve ingested something that’s considered toxic food for dogs, usually when your pooch has snatched something from the table they shouldn’t have. Common toxic foods include chocolate, dairy, and grapes. They might’ve eaten something toxic out on their walk or gotten into the trash, for example.
If your dog seems to perk up noticeably after throwing up, the cause is likely dietary and you needn’t worry, but keep an eye on them the rest of the day to see if their behavior changes.
Underlying health conditions
A huge range of common health problems in dogs might be causing vomiting, some more serious than others. Your dog may have an easily treatable virus or bacterial infection, pancreatitis, or may be throwing up as a result of heatstroke.
However, it could be a sign of a more serious condition such as liver or kidney failure, intestinal parasites, or even some forms of cancer.
Take note if vomiting is accompanied by other symptoms. If you notice diarrhea, blood in the vomit, lethargy, or a change in appetite, these are likely signs of an underlying condition.
How to treat vomiting in dogs?
If the bout of vomiting is a one-off, then a short period of rest and recuperation is all your dog will need to recover. An isolated incident of vomiting usually means there’s no serious underlying issue. However, if the vomiting is frequent or is happening over a span of weeks and months it’s definitely time to get your dog checked out at the vet.
Take a look at the vomit
When your dog vomits the first thing you should do is examine the throwup. This will give you an initial idea of how serious it may be at least. If it’s mostly food then the likely cause will be something in the food they’ve just eaten or a case of overeating.
Keep an eye out for other substances too. Is there any blood in the vomit? Does it mostly consist of bile? These are usually signs of something more serious. If your dog vomits any foreign objects, like a piece of a toy or cloth, then bag it up as you may need to show this to your vet.
If your dog is throwing up white foam this could be anything from indigestion to kidney disease. Take a picture of the vomit in case you need to show your vet.
Keep an eye on your dog
After your dog has thrown up there’s no need to panic initially. First, just wait and monitor their condition for signs of other symptoms. Withhold food for a few hours and look out for signs like diarrhea and lethargy. If they seem fine around 6 to 12 hours later then chances are they’re going to be OK.
When you should call the vet
If your dog doesn’t seem to be feeling better, has continued vomiting, is vomiting blood and exhibits other signs like diarrhea and lethargy, then it’s a good time to call the vet.
Other signs the vomiting may be something more serious include general unresponsiveness, trouble breathing, your dog's abdomen seems to be painful, the vomiting continues for several hours and the abdomen appears to be bloated.
A good rule of thumb to follow is that if vomiting continues into a second day, you should make an appointment with your vet straight away. Sometimes dogs may also vomit intermittently or every few days over the course of a couple of weeks. Whilst they may seem fine, the continuous nature of this vomiting also means you should go and see your vet.
Ease them back on to food and water
If your dog seems well 6 to 12 hours after vomiting, you can try to ease them back onto food and water. Start off with a little water first and if they’re able to keep that down, give them some bland food to try. Something like white fish or boiled chicken will be perfect and remember to feed them small portions at first.
Don't try and force your dog to eat. If they’re reluctant, keep trying every couple of hours to offer them something and gradually ease them back into a normal diet. If they’re still not eating the day after vomiting, make an appointment with your vet.
How to stop vomiting
You won’t always be able to prevent vomiting, which is why it’s important to have good dog insurance. However, there are steps you can take to help reduce the chances.
Make sure you keep toxic foods like chocolate out of reach and only feed your dog good quality and nutritious food. Take a look at the condition of your dog’s toys too. If there are any that are showing significant wear or tear, make sure to throw them out so your dog doesn’t swallow a piece.
Finally, make sure your trash is secure so your dog can’t get access and swallow something it shouldn't. Try not to feed them table scraps too as you could be giving them something toxic.