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What is Vomiting and Having Diarrhea?

Throughout a dog’s life, he will have occasional bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. Sporadic vomiting and diarrhea is typically nothing to be concerned about, and sometimes foods may not agree with your dog’s system and cause them to have an upset stomach. However, if a dog is vomiting and has diarrhea (or has one or the other) often and for extended periods of time, this could point to a more serious condition which needs to be looked at by a veterinarian.

A dog can have vomiting without the diarrhea, and vice versa. Knowing what your dog is eating and giving him a healthy lifestyle will keep you more aware of why he may be vomiting or having runny stools. If your dog is vomiting and has diarrhea, or one or the other, and you are concerned that he may have eaten something he should not have or is having other symptoms, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian.

Many situations can cause a dog to have vomiting, diarrhea, or both simultaneously. Reasons your dog may be ill include:

  • Certain foods
  • Bacteria imbalances
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Toxic substances
  • Viruses
  • Parasites
  • Organ failure
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intestinal obstruction

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Why Vomiting and Having Diarrhea Occurs in Dogs

There are several different reasons why your dog may be having an upset stomach. Several of the reasons are less worrisome than others, as they not a sign of an underlying health condition. A few reasons, however, can show signs of an underlying health condition, especially if your dog is having the vomiting and diarrhea for more than a day or has other symptoms. If you are unsure of as to why your dog is having an upset stomach, it is always safest to call your veterinarian. 

Reasons as to why this illness can occur include:

Reaction to Certain Foods

 If your dog is on a diet that just does not agree with him, he could suffer from an upset stomach more often than not. If your dog has a bacteria imbalance in his gut, this can make him ill.

Stress and Anxiety

Just like people, when dogs become very stressed or anxious, they can get an upset stomach. Stressful situations in the home or punishing your dog in an ineffective manner can make him stressed, and he can have stomach issues from the anxiety.

Toxic Substances

The ingestion of toxic substances can poison your dog. Vomiting and diarrhea are often the first signs of poisoning, and are sometimes accompanied by bloody stools or even blood in the vomit.


Your dog may vomit or have diarrhea caused by a viral infection in his intestines, such as rotavirus or coronavirus. Annual wellness checks and vaccines are two ways to prevent the infection caused by many viruses.


Parasites that invade your dog’s intestines can cause your dog to vomit and have diarrhea. Whipworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and other parasites can cause your dog to have many symptoms, including a very upset gastrointestinal system.

Organ Failure

Liver or kidney failure can occur in older dogs or with dogs that have liver disease or kidney disease. One symptom of these diseases is concurrent diarrhea and vomiting. Other serious issues with your dog’s glandular or organ systems, such as pancreatic abnormalities or diabetes may be characterized with the symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

If there is an inflammation in your dog’s stomach or upper intestine, it can lead to a highly-inflamed colon. Diarrhea with this condition may contain blood and mucus as well.

Intestinal Obstruction

If your dog has a twisted bowel or other intestinal obstruction, he may vomit and have runny diarrhea leaking from him. This is a serious condition and must be attended to by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

What to do if your Dog is Vomiting and Having Diarrhea

If you notice that your dog has started with symptoms of an upset stomach, remove all food and water to allow his gastrointestinal tract to calm down. If he continues to eat or drink, he will continue to vomit or have diarrhea. It is important, however, to give your dog very small amounts of water to prevent dehydration. You may choose to monitor the situation on your own for 24 hours to see if your pet’s stomach settles down. If you see other symptoms, such as blood in the stool or vomit, or any other alarming symptoms, such as your dog vomiting consistently over a short time, contact your veterinarian immediately.

After 24 hours, you may begin to reintroduce very bland food into his diet, as well as water. You may want to boil chicken and give him a little chicken with rice, but only give him a little at a time. Be sure he drinks water as well. Continue to monitor him to see if he continues to throw up or have diarrhea. If this is the case, you should call your veterinarian.

Once you arrive at the veterinarian, he will perform a complete examination on your dog. He will ask you questions about his symptoms, such as when the vomiting and diarrhea began, how long it has lasted and the frequency of each.

Your veterinarian will examine the stomach by palpating it to check for bloat and to check your dog’s gastrointestinal organs. He may then choose to take blood work, a urinalysis, and a biochemistry profile to take a closer look at what is going on in his body. Once those tests come back, they will guide him as to whether additional laboratory work is required. These tests may include radiography or an ultrasound of your canine’s abdominal area. The veterinarian may also use an endoscope to take a look at the esophagus and stomach. Your veterinarian will know which tests to perform in order to come to a definitive diagnosis as to what is causing your dog to be ill.

Prevention of Vomiting and Having Diarrhea

There are several things you can do to prevent your dog from having diarrhea or bouts of vomiting. Monitoring his diet and making sure he only eats dog food, rather than human food, can help prevent an upset stomach. When he goes outside, monitoring him to be sure he does not eat anything foreign can also prevent an upset stomach.

Keeping up-to-date with his flea and tick prevention and also keeping him out of harsh environments, such as areas that are heavily soiled and away from murky water can prevent parasites from infesting your dog. Also, making sure you take your dog to the veterinarian on a regular basis for checkups can keep parasites and other infections at bay. Your veterinarian will routinely check for abnormalities in your dog if need be, and, if anything, can diagnose situations early before they cause your dog any sickness.

Making sure your dog lives in a healthy and safe environment, free from toxic substances within his reach, such as rodent killer or antifreeze, is another way to prevent your dog from vomiting and having diarrhea due to a toxic substance that has been ingested.

Cost of Vomiting and Having Diarrhea

If your dog has been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, it may cost approximately $2800. Other illnesses, such as parasite infestation can cost approximately $300. The treatment of poisoning from antifreeze can cost approximately $3000, and Rotavirus treatment may cost $850.

Vomiting and Having Diarrhea Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Boston Terrier
8 Months
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

My dog just started vomiting and has some diarrhea, but not consistent. He is playing and acting normal other than within about 3 to 4 hours after he eats he vomits and stool has been very runny. This has lasted for about 3 days. There is no blood in the vomit or in the stool.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
675 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. If George is still having this problem after 3 days, it would be best to have him examined. Parasites can cause this type of problem, as can dietary indiscretion or intestinal infections. Your veterinarian will be able to determine that cause of what is happening and get him on appropriate treatments to resolve it. I hope that all goes well for him!

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Australian Silky Terrier
5 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Vomiting and diarrhea

My dog started vomiting vile then progessed to having bloody spots. This was soon followed with a loose bowel. Over the last 24hrs his first poop of the day was semi formed (but still a little soft) he refused to eat all morning and ate grass and threw it up a short time later but it was all grass with saliva. An hour or so later he looked like he struggled to hold onto a bowel movement dark dark brown in colour and watery (possible blood not completely sure so dark). He has finally eaten hypoallergenic paste. Kept it down. My question is i used a wet wipe (baby wipe) on his bottom without thinking, can these ingredients be causing the above: purified water, glycerin, polysorbate 20, phenoxyethanol, sodium benzoate, aloe barbadensis extract, chamomile recutita flower extract, tocopheryl acetate, disodium cocoamphodiacetate and citric acid. Could the baby wipes have poisoned him?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
675 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. I doubt that his illness is related to the baby wipes, but with such GI troubles, he should be seen by your veterinarian. Vomiting blood and bloody diarrhea warrant a trip to the doctor, as he may need medications and supportive care. I hope that he is okay.

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