Why Dogs Vomit and What You Should Do


It’s natural to feel worried when we see our dogs vomiting and for reasons we may be unaware of. Before jumping into conclusion, we try to believe that there is a benign reason behind all of it. Usually, we would think that they are vomiting as a result of eating something that is not good for their stomach.

However, vomiting can also mean something more serious which shouldn’t be ignored. It can be sign of a number of serious health conditions such as toxin exposure, pancreatic cancer, head trauma or gastrointestinal obstruction.

If you’re curious to learn more, read on and understand better the reasons behind a dog’s vomiting and ways to treat the condition.

What is vomiting?

Vomiting in dogs is deemed as an active process and can occur after having signs of nausea. This includes excessive swallowing, lip licking and drooling. Some vomiting dogs would eat grass as a way to protect the esophagus. This is because grass has the capacity to wrap around sharp objects and cover them like bone shards. Dogs would also make contractions of the abdominal wall as part of the process.

Sometimes, people may find it difficult to distinguish between vomiting and regurgitating. Unlike vomiting, regurgitating is a passive occurrence. In this process, food that is undigested comes up out of the esophagus. This happens without any abdominal effort on the part of the dog. Regurgitation has always been linked with disorders in the esophagus. It should be differentiated from vomiting since the two have very different causes and treatments.

Understanding Vomiting Among Dogs

There is a vital reason why dogs vomit. Usually, vomiting dogs are known to have the willingness to eat just about anything. Vomiting is just a simple way to correct a suspected mistake. There have been several occasions when dog owners watched how their dogs, after eating something that is unsavory, would vomit everything out in just a few minutes.

Apart from the unsavory eating experience, dogs vomit due to other benign reasons such as bilious vomiting and motion sickness. Furthermore, vomiting is also seen as a symptom of several diseases that are potentially serious.

How To Treat Vomiting

If your dog seems normal after it has vomited once or even twice, you can use the following treatment in the house as a practical solution.

1. At least for a period of 6 to 8 hours, make sure that your dog has no contact with all sources of food and water.

2. If during this period you see no signs of vomiting, you can allow your dog to have some water. Gradually increase the amount of water if your dog is able to hold the water down.

3. Wait for another 12 hours after allowing your dog to drink. If there is still no vomiting, you can start offering a small meal such as plain boiled and deboned chicken meat with white rice. If your dog eats and doesn’t vomit, you can opt to give a bigger meal. Continue observing for a day or two as you start mixing in your dog’s regular food.

If you see that your dog starts vomiting again in between treatment, it’s best to go and see the veterinarian.

The following symptoms require immediate treatment. Call a veterinarian right away.

1. Your dog’s vomit is bright green in color. Green dye is usually found in some types of rodenticides which are poisons meant to kill rats and mice.

2. Your dog’s vomit has red blood or coffee ground-looking material. Both can be signs of gastrointestinal bleeding with the red blood deemed as fresh blood while the coffee ground-looking blood deemed as digested.

3. Your dog has shown repeated attempts at vomiting with each attempt producing nothing. It’s a symptom of a potentially dangerous condition known as volvulus and gastric dilatation.

4. There is pain in or enlargement of the dog’s abdomen.

5. Urination is decreased. This can occur with signs of dehydration.

6. If your dog is vomiting severely and has severe diarrhea, it can lead to dehydration.

7. Your dog becomes lethargic and depressed which shows how his body is seriously affected.

8. Your dog has projectile vomiting which can be a sign of an obstructed gastrointestinal tract.

9. Your dog vomits frequently which can make him debilitated. This is usually seen among puppies and older dogs.

Vomiting and Its Diagnosis

It is advised that cases of repetitive, prolonged and severe vomiting need to be placed under a thorough investigation. Veterinarians are highly likely capable of reaching a diagnosis on the underlying condition behind your dog’s vomiting by doing certain procedures. These include getting information on the health history and lifestyle of your dog, conducting a physical examination and potentially running several tests such as biopsies, ultrasound imaging, urinalysis, fecal analysis, blood test, X-rays and other diagnostic tests. You can also bring a sample of your dog’s stool and vomit which may help in the diagnostic process.

What You Can Do To Prevent The Vomiting

While it is true that several causes of vomiting among dogs have no ways of prevention, there are certain rules you can consider which can actually help.

1. Remember to keep an eye on an overly-inquisitive dog particularly when you are out and about. You may want to keep a basket muzzle handy to make sure that your dog doesn’t eat anything that is non-edible.

2. Make sure that your dog never scavenge. Scavenging is said to be the root cause of gastroenteritis. It’s also believed to be capable of increasing the risk of toxin exposure and ingestion of foreign bodies.

3. Never allow your dog to consume table scraps. This is because there are some human foods which have dangerous content and therefore should never be fed to dogs. Some types of food that are not “dog-friendly” include macadamia nuts, garlic, onions, chocolate, grapes and raisins.

4. Never give bones to your dog which can break into sharp shards. Otherwise, you can allow the large bone types such as the knuckles or femurs so long as they are uncooked.

5. Make sure that your dog’s toys are safe and non-choking hazard.

6. Avoid a sudden change in your dog’s diet. If you need to put some changes, do it gradually. Sudden changes in your dog’s dietary habit have been attributed to be the common cause of intestinal upset.

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