What is Vomiting and Diarrhea?

Throughout a dog’s life, he may have occasional bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. Occasional vomiting and diarrhea may be 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
  • Bacterial imbalances
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Toxic substances
  • Viruses
  • Parasites
  • Organ failure
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intestinal obstruction

Why Vomiting and 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 diarrhea and vomiting 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 Diarrhea

If you notice that your dog has started with signs 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 may 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 or having abdominal pain, 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 white chicken meat and give him a little chicken with rice, but only give him a little at a time. Be sure he drinks water in small quantities, frequently, as well. Continue to monitor him to see if he continues to vomit 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 signs, 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, and will also palpate your dog’s gastrointestinal organs. He may then choose to run 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 dog'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 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.

Some causes of vomiting and diarrhea can be expensive to treat. Save money on vet care and start searching for pet insurance today. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Trupanion

Curious about which health plan is right for your dog? Head over to Forbes' breakdown of the best pet insurance.

Paying for your pet’s routine shots, bloodwork and tests can also be difficult to budget for. Fortunately, Wag! Wellness plans cover costs for routine care for your pet, getting your money straight back into your bank account within 24 hours. In the market for wellness plans? Compare wellness plan packages to find the right plan for your pet!

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Cost of Vomiting and Diarrhea

If your dog has been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, it may cost between $500 to $1500. Other illnesses, such as parasite infestation can cost approximately $150 to $300. The treatment of poisoning from antifreeze can cost $1500 to $3000.

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Vomiting and Diarrhea Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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French Bulldog

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Five Months

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Unknown severity

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16 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

my puppy has been having consistent Diarrhea for about 3 week and some vomiting then and there we took him to the vet and they said he had virus in his small intestine which is contagious they gave him medication foe 5 days . his been on his medication for 3 days now but i see no change and now he doesn’t want to eat him food

Feb. 4, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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16 Recommendations

Hello, he may need to be on a different medication or for a longer time. I would recommend that you take him back to the vet for a recheck. YOu can also give him a probiotic to help with the diarrhea. Many times antibiotics will kill the bad bacteria as well as the good bacteria in your dog's intestines. Also, consider feeding him a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice until his stool returns to normal.

Feb. 5, 2021

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German Shepherd

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One Year

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45 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

Yesterday my 21 month old male GSD had one normal bowel movement then diarrhea then two normal. Then today he had diarrhea and vomited once. My dog has never been sick before and is up on all his shots.

Dec. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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45 Recommendations

I'm sorry to hear this. Vomiting and diarrhoea can have a wide range of causes including parasites, a viral infection, a bacterial infection, toxin ingestion, a gut obstruction, a new food allergy or sensitivity, pancreatitis etc. The main thing is that he remains alert and active, has a good appetite and has wet and pink gums with no abdominal bloating. Ensure his parasite prevention is up to date and consider providing a probiotic. I would feed a bland diet of chicken and rice for 1-2 days and then gradually re introduce his regular diet if he settles. If signs continue, a vet check is best.

Dec. 29, 2020

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