Why Is My Dog Throwing Up And What To Do?

The sound of your dog retching, vomiting, or about to vomit is something that all pet parents hate to hear. 

What causes dogs to vomit? Read on to find out why your dog is throwing up and what to do about it.  

Vomiting vs regurgitation in dogs

Vomiting is the stomach and upper intestines forcefully expelling contents through the mouth. Your dog vomiting is a reflex and can be triggered by anything, be it a mild cause such as overeating or by a severe medical problem. This is not voluntary. 

Regurgitation, on the other hand, is a passive process as the regurgitated food is usually undigested, does not contain bile, and is regurgitated soon after eating. Your dog will thus, usually try to eat the food it has regurgitated. Regurgitation is largely a voluntary act. 

What causes dog vomiting? 

There are several reasons why your dog may be throwing up. Although most reasons are nothing to worry about, knowing the root cause is key to realizing whether your dog needs further medical care or not. 

Dog Diarrhea Vomiting
Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash

 

Possible causes of your dog vomiting include:

  • Diet change
  • Brain tumor
  • Cancer
  • Constipation
  • Diabetes 
  • Drinking contaminated water 
  • Eating too fast, eating poop or grass
  • Allergies to food 
  • Gastritis 
  • Heatstroke 
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intestinal parasites or obstruction
  • Liver disease
  • Meningitis
  • Motion sickness (from riding in the car)
  • Pancreatitis

Watch out for the following symptoms, especially if your dog is throwing up frequently - 

  • Weakness
  • Vomit with blood in it
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Fever

If your dog displays the above signs in addition to throwing up, rush it to the veterinarian immediately. 

Dog vomiting treatment

Depending on the severity of your dog’s vomiting, treatment may differ. Generally, your dog’s overall health also determines the type of treatment it receives. 

If your dog vomits more than once within 24 hours, you should see a vet. The vet will examine your dog then do certain tests such as blood tests, faecal tests, ultrasound, endoscopy or biopsy. Your vet may likely prescribe antibiotics if it is an infection. However, in serious cases, surgery can also be recommended. 

Once underlying concerns are eliminated, a simple treatment such as a diet change is recommended if your dog is vomiting. You may feed your dog some raw protein, boiled potatoes, and rice because a dog with an upset stomach needs bland but nutritionally adequate food. 

Dog Diarrhea Vomitting
Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

Home treatment for vomiting in dogs

If your dog has vomited but seems happy and is still active, you can apply some home treatments so that the vomiting does not occur again:

  1. Withdraw food for a few hours (12 hours for adult dogs) so that your dog’s stomach and intestines can rest. If your dog does not throw up after that period of time, you can proceed to the next step.
  2. Offer your dog a small amount (1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon) of balanced electrolyte oral rehydration solution. If your dog keeps it down, offer the same amount again after 15 to 30 minutes, increasing the amount of liquid by 50% every hour. 
  3. If your dog does not throw up, try feeding it a small amount of bland food. The bland food should typically be the same food you feed when your dog has diarrhea
  4. If your dog manages to keep the food down, continue on the bland diet for up to 4 days before gradually introducing its regular food back into its diet. 
  5. If at any time your dog vomits or refuses to eat, call your veterinarian immediately as it may be a sign of serious medical issues. 

How to prevent dogs from vomiting?

When your dog throws up, it sometimes cannot be prevented. However, some causes of dog vomiting can be prevented by following the following guidelines:

  1. Don’t change your dog’s diet abruptly. If you are changing its diet, use a gradual approach as sudden dietary changes can cause stomach upsets for dogs.
  2. Don’t let your dogs play with toys that can be chewed into pieces or swallowed, as the toy may cause a blockage or gastrointestinal tract irritation.
  3. Don’t feed your dog bones. Instead, feed your dog bone broth such as PetCubes’ bone broth as it has all the nutritional values without the risk of your dog vomiting due to swallowing bone fragments.
  4. Avoid feeding table scraps. Human foods such as grapes, chocolate, onions, garlic, chives can be dangerous for dogs. Dogs with sensitive stomachs are even more prone to vomiting or diarrhea if they consume human food. 

Conclusion 

Your dog vomiting or having an upset stomach can be a very stressful experience. Figure out why your dog is throwing up and being prepared for it is essential so that your dog is not in any immediate danger.

Reviewed by: 

Dr Francis is one of the top wildlife nutritionists in Asia. Originating from Montreal, Canada, he left at 21 to pursue his Masters and subsequently a PhD in wildlife nutrition at Oxford Brookes University. Instead of taking the path of common animal science to learn about farm animals, or through the veterinarian space and taking a certificate in nutrition, he took the road less travelled to dive deep into the world of animal ecology, metabolism and nutrition.

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