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What is Throwing Up in the Morning?

It is not normal behavior for your dog to be throwing up in the morning. You need to have your dog thoroughly checked by a veterinarian to determine the cause of your dog’s morning sickness. Most likely your dog is throwing up bile, which is a yellowish liquid, early in the morning or even sometime in the middle of the night. This occurs because their stomach is empty and has been for some time. This is referred to as reflux gastritis. Another possible cause for unaltered female dogs is pregnancy. If your dog is pregnant, the morning sickness will stop once she delivers her puppies.

If you notice your dog is throwing up most mornings, you need to make an appointment with your veterinarian. Your dog may just need to be fed smaller meals more often to alleviate stomach upset or it may be a more serious condition that requires veterinary care. 

Possible causes of your dog throwing up in the morning include:

  • Reflux gastritis
  • Pregnancy
  • Pancreatitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Colitis

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Why Throwing Up in the Morning Occurs in Dogs

Reflux Gastritis 

While reflux gastritis sounds horrible, it occurs when your dog’s stomach is no longer able to tolerate a large buildup of the acid that in the stomach that occurs when they rest for long periods of time, such as at night. Most dogs go to bed with an empty stomach so there is no food within the stomach to act as a buffer for the acid. Giving your dog a small snack before bed can help alleviate reflux gastritis and stop them from throwing up in the morning.

Pregnancy

Just like with humans, dogs can experience morning sickness when they are pregnant. If you have just bred your female dog and you notice she is throwing up in the morning, there is a strong chance that she is pregnant. The morning sickness will go away once she whelps.

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is when there is inflammation in the pancreas. It is more common in large breed dogs and can cause your dog to throw up bile in the mornings. You may notice your dog is lethargic, weak and has a decreased appetite. Your veterinarian will run diagnostic tests to determine if your dog is indeed suffering from pancreatitis. 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Also known as IBD, inflammatory bowel disease can cause your dog to throw up in the morning. IBD develops for a number of different reasons. Your dog will suffer from gastric immobility and that causes IBD to occur. When your dog first wakes up and becomes active, they will vomit anything that is in their stomach. Your veterinarian will suggest diet change and possible medications and dietary supplements. 

Colitis

Colitis will impede your dog’s ability to normally process food and this causes gastric distress. Parts of your dog’s bowel system will become inflamed and cause regular diarrhea, flatulence and vomiting. Your veterinarian will recommend diet changes and possible medications to alleviate colitis.

What to do if your Dog is Throwing Up in the Morning

Be sure to have your dog thoroughly checked by your veterinarian when you notice that they are consistently throwing up in the morning. Once your veterinarian has examined your dog, they will probably order diagnostic tests to determine the exact cause of your dog’s vomiting. Medications may be prescribed to alleviate the symptoms of your dog’s symptoms. Be sure to give all medications as prescribed to avoid overdosing your dog. 

Ask your veterinarian about changing your dog’s diet and adding a dietary supplement. In some instances changing the amount of food given or the number of times per day that you feed your dog will help alleviate the throwing up in the morning.

Prevention of Throwing Up in the Morning

Preventing your dog from becoming afflicted with reflux gastritis can be relatively simple. Do not feed your dog one large meal per day; instead, feed them several small meals throughout the day. Your dog’s final meal for the day can be a small snack right before they go to bed. 

Never feed your dog table scraps, this can cause stomach upset. Some research indicates that table scraps can cause pancreatitis in dogs. Do not give your dog excessive treats that can cause your dog to experience stomach upset.

Cost of Throwing Up in the Morning

The cost of treatment will largely depend on the diagnosis that is given for your dog. If your dog has been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease treatments can cost between $300 and $6000. Pancreatitis in dogs can be treated for $800 to $6000. Treatment costs for colitis can range from $300 to $2000.

Throwing Up in the Morning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Leia
Sharpei
1 Year
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

She is throwing up and has gas

My dog is throwing up early mornings. This is the second time this week! She has not lost her appetite (she loves to eat). She is throwing up yellow fluid but very little of it. Could it be that my dog has reflux?

Michele King
Dr. Michele King, DVM
277 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Reflux isn't as common in dogs as it is in people, but it is possible. She may also have an intolerance to her food, or parasites. It would be best to have her seen by your veterinarian, have her examined, and determine what might be causing this behavior. I hope that everything goes well for her.

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