Dog Vomiting

It Could Be Nothing, or Could Be a Big Deal
How to Tell the Difference, and What to Do

Just like us, sometimes your dog’s stomach just doesn’t want to keep food down. Isolated incidents are usually minor, but if you notice your dog vomiting often, or very violently, I know you want to figure out what’s gone wrong.

What Causes Dog Vomiting?

 

Here are a few of the more common reasons why dogs will start vomiting:

  • Abrupt food changes. Any changes in your dog’s food, even a change to a better dog food, should be done gradually.
  • Food allergies will cause dog vomiting.
  • Some foods are toxic to dogs: alcohol, avocados, baby foods, chocolate, coffee, grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, mushrooms, onions, and many other things should not be fed to a dog.
  • Is your dog one of a large breed, and experiencing a rapid growth spurt? Large dog breeds may grow faster than their diet can keep up with, resulting in vomiting bile in the morning.
  • Dog vomiting will happen if a bone or a cheap toy crumbles and gets caught in his throat.

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There are a few signs you can watch for. Take a look at the vomit, and keep an eye on your dog’s behavior. See if you can notice:

  • Your dog is eating lots of grass? Dogs will eat grass to force themselves to vomit. This is a natural remedy, in the dog world, for an upset stomach. (You still need to figure out the cause.)
  • The vomit is foamy or bubbly? This often means the dog’s vomiting is caused by stress. It can also mean there was a change in dog food that wasn’t gradual enough.
  • The vomit looks like food content? Something in that food probably caused your dog’s vomiting. Either the food is spoiled, or he ate something he shouldn’t have eaten.
  • Is your dog projectile-vomiting, aka vomiting with great force? Something is probably lodged in his throat or there’s a foreign object in his stomach.

My Dog’s Vomiting! What Do I Do?
Dog Vomiting Treatments

The goal of a dog vomiting treatment is to help his digestive system relax and recover. For adult dogs, this means you should avoid feeding him for up to a full day. Puppies should not fast quite so long. In either case, water is ok, in small amounts.

Home Remedy for Dog Vomiting

After that fasting period, you should feed your dog a small, bland, home-cooked meal. I suggest a recipe similar to solving diarrhea in dogs. Cook a portion that’s 1/3 boiled chicken breast and 2/3 white rice, and make sure it’s a small portion. If there’s no more vomiting, do another small meal after a few hours.

So long as he’s gaining energy and not vomiting, continue feeding that same meal over a few days, until you gradually work back up to his normal-sized portion. After a few days, gradually mix that with his normal dog food. Keep observing him to make sure the “normal” food isn’t causing the problem – which you’ll know, if your dog’s vomiting starts again after switching back to the dog food.

Dog Vomiting Can Be Very Serious
When Does Dog Vomiting Require a Veterinarian Visit?

First thing to know: If your dog is vomiting and experiencing diarrhea at the same time, pack up your dog now and go straight to a dog emergency hospital. Vomiting and diarrhea at the same time will quickly harm your dog’s health, complicating whatever is causing it.

 

A single case of dog vomiting with no signs of weakness or ill health afterward, isn’t usually a cause for an emergency room visit. Still, you need to keep an eye on your dog for a while after he throws up. If your dog vomits forcefully, becomes weak after vomiting, or vomits repeatedly, then you should see a vet. Vomiting dehydrates the body – so, whatever’s causing your dog’s vomiting will probably get worse.

Here are some of the things your veterinarian might do about your dog’s vomiting:

  • The prescription drug Flagyl is an antibiotic that fights a variety of parasites and bacteria.
  • Serious weakness can be treated with IV injections to keep your dog’s nutrients up.
  • If your dog has eaten something poisonous, your vet will probably induce vomiting.
  • Foreign objects can be found by hand-inspection, X-ray or ultrasound scan. Larger foreign objects that can’t be passed naturally, will require surgery.
  • Very serious medical problems can cause major illness, requiring a period of intensive involvement with your veterinarian, to get your dog on the road to recovery. I won’t scare you with details, but vomiting can be a sign of internal organ problems.

In short, if you’re in doubt about the cause of your dog’s vomiting, at least call the vet and ask questions, especially if he’s acting weak or sick.

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