If you’re a pet owner, you’ve probably had to deal with dog vomit at some point. Dogs throw up for a number of reasons. While some are harmless, others can be detrimental. Here is a guide on why dogs vomit, when you should be worried, and how you can treat it.
Why Dogs Vomit and What to Watch For
Dogs throw up for different reasons. It could be because they ate something they shouldn’t have or something more serious such as head trauma, exposure to toxins, or even pancreatic cancer or gastrointestinal obstruction.
Because dogs tend to eat everything, vomiting is a vital function for them. It is a way to correct the body when it makes a potential mistake. In addition to eating something they shouldn’t have, dogs can vomit due to motion sickness or bilious vomiting syndrome.
On a more serious level, vomiting can be a sign of gastroenteritis (inflammation of the intestinal tract and stomach), parasites, inflammatory bowel disease, and certain types of cancer. It is also caused by toxin exposure, liver or kidney disease, bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. Furthermore, vomiting can be a sign of Addison’s or pancreatic disease, head trauma, ulcers, drug side effects, and food allergies.
It is important to distinguish between vomiting and regurgitation. Regurgitation happens passively and occurs when undigested food comes up without the use of the abdomen. Vomiting, on the other hand, is an active process and involves contractions of the abdomen (also known as heaving). It is usually preceded by nausea signs such as swallowing excessively, drooling, and licking their lips. Dogs may eat grass to protect their esophagus. The grass acts a shield for sharp objects such as bone shards.
Differentiating between the two will allow you to get the proper treatment.
When You Should Be Worried and Treatment Options
Sometimes a vomiting dog needs immediate treatment. If your dog is frequently or projectile vomiting, it can be a sign of an obstructed gastrointestinal tract. Severe diarrhea coupled with severe vomiting can cause dehydration and should be treated immediately. Decreased urination is also a sign of dehydration.
Dogs suffering from abdominal pain or enlargement is often a sign of serious vomiting. If your dog is repeatedly attempting to vomit but nothing is coming out, if can be a symptom of gastric dilatation and volvulus (also known as bloat).
Lastly, if the vomit has blood in it, it could be gastrointestinal bleeding. If it is bright green, it could be a sign of rodenticides (rat and mice poison). Rodenticides are extremely poisonous to dogs and could kill them.
If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms while vomiting, take them to the vet immediately. But, if your dog only threw up once or twice and appears to be okay, there are some at home treatments you can provide.
First, take all food and water away for six to eight hours. If your dog doesn’t vomit during then, give them small amounts of water and gradually increase the amount until your dog can hold it down. After 12 hours of no vomiting, you can offer your pup a small meal of boiled, skinless, boneless white meat chicken and white rice. If there is still no vomiting, start to increase the size and decrease the frequency of their meals over the next couple days. Finally, you can begin mixing in their regular food.
No one likes to see their furry friend in pain. If your dog is showing any signs of severe vomiting, contact your veterinarian immediately. Otherwise, try some at-home remedies for less severe vomiting. Your pup will be on their way to feeling better in no time!