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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

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.

Viruses

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Vomiting and Having Diarrhea Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Chihuahua/ Yorkie mix

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Nine Months

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Diarrhea And Vomiting

Hello, my pup Oscar threw up three times on Monday and had diarrhea. I only gave him water that day and he was acting like his normal self the rest of the day so that evening he had his dinner. Yesterday he had his first “regular” poop after not going a ton the last couple days. This morning he threw up a tiny bit of undigested food and started having diarrhea again. Is this something I should be worried about and take him to get looked at? He is still acting like his normal self in between all of this. Thank you so much.

Aug. 7, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. From your description, it would probably be best to have him checked for any parasites that he may have come in contact with some can cause intermittent vomiting and diarrhea, and they can become a problem if not treated. Your veterinarian will be able to assess a fecal sample for you, and let you know if there are any parasites that need to be treated. I hope that all goes well for Oscar.

Aug. 7, 2020

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Aussiedor

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Four Years

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Diarrhea

He started throwing up and having diarrhea on Tuesday night. He still alert and active, and although the vomiting has receded, he still has diarrhea. I've been giving him white rice after I didn't give him anything for 24 hours. He's been drinking water and peeing normally. I just don't know what else to do.

Aug. 7, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. If you have been giving him white rice for 4 days and the diarrhea has not improved, it is probably time to have him seen by a veterinarian. They will be able to examine him, see if he needs a fecal sample run, and get him medications to help with the diarrhea since the bland diet has not helped. I hope that all goes well for him.

Aug. 7, 2020

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Labrador Retriever

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8+

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Noisy Breathing, Vomiting, Diarrhoea, Doesn'T Want To Have Food

He was suffering from swelling tooth. Our vet medicated him with Sporidex 250 and Betnesol. Then he was suffering from fever. Again our vet medicated with some antibiotic (I don't remember the name of it) and Paracetamol. From that day he is vomiting and having diarrhoea for almost three days. He doesn't want to have food either. He is too weak to stand and sit. He sleeps all the time. We are really worried.

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. It sounds like there was either more going on than what your veterinarian thought, or he is having a reaction to one of those medications. If he is that sick, he needs to be seen by a veterinarian, whether you take him to the initial veterinarian or whether you take him to an ER. I hope that he is okay.

Aug. 6, 2020

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Pit Bull

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Seven Months

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Unknown severity

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Watery Stool, Throwing Up(Clear Fluid)

She is a usually a playful puppy but today she just acted very sick and barely wanted to move. She has had diarrhea for 2 days now and it has been very watery and she isn’t wanting to eat or drink

Aug. 5, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Puppies are prone to infectious diseases, parasites, and foreign bodies. It would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible, as they can examine her, see what might be wrong, and let you know what treatment she might need so that she feels better. I hope that all goes well for her.

Aug. 5, 2020

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Pit Bull

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Four Years

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Vomiting And Diarrhea

My dog has been vomiting and having watery diarrhea for 24 hours now. She did eat some table scraps. But she has been eating a lot of grass. Should I just buy some dewormer? Or is it more serious?

Aug. 4, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. If the vomiting and diarrhea has been going on for 24 hours, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian, as she may have an intestinal infection or her pancreas may be inflamed. Your veterinarian will be able to examine her, see what might be wrong, and get any medications that she needs to feel better. I hope that all goes well for her!

Aug. 4, 2020

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Bailey

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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Vomiting

2 weeks ago we gave our dog a Nexgard Flea and Tick tablet. The next day she vomited (only once) but then had diarrhea for the next 3 or 4 days. She seemed fine after that but then last night thru the night she vomited again and also had diarrhea. Could this be a side affect of the Nexgard or something else?

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zummie

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Rat Terrier

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Diarrhea
Vomiting

For almost a week my dog has had pretty bad diarrhea he can not hold it in, and a lot of the time it just comes out like water, and just tonight he started to vomit, i have no idea on what to do.

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Sookie

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Great Pyrenees/Border Collie Mix

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3 Months

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Vomiting

My puppy suddenly started having diarrhea last night. She usually doesn't have accidents in the house anymore but had 4 episodes last night. Then this morning after she ate, she vomited everything up. Last night she was still energized and running around but this morning after vomiting she seems exhausted and just wants to lay on the couch by me. Last night I thought it might be stress or her acting out since I'm a teacher and just went back to work from summer since I got her. But now I'm worried it might be worse. I do have a hibiscus plant (I'm not sure what kind though) that she pulled a branch off of yesterday but I don't know that she consumed anything off of it.

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Ned

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German Shepherd

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5 Months

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Vomiting

Ned had a puppy play date 2 days ago. He started licking / chewing his back paw while we were still there. Thought it was a hot spot seeing as nothing was in his paw. Yesterday he was really calm. Didn’t want to play much. We figured it was due to him getting to run around a lot and play with other dogs. He started to have some runny poop late last night and then this morning he woke up whining to go out. No blood, but his stool is complete liquid right now and he also threw up his first meal of the day. He’s been on the same food since we got him so we don’t think it’s related to that.

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holly

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Golden Retriever

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5 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Not Eating

my 5 year old golden retriever ate some grass ,now she throws up and has diarrhea,she doesn't eat but drinks a lot of water, last couple of nights she would wake me every couple of hours to go outside to do her businesses , was this caused by the grass and how long does it last . Thank you Winnipeg ,Manitoba

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