From time to time, it can be expected that the average household pet will become ill, be it due to a virus or a minor stomach bug. In such cases, some degree of vomiting can be expected and is in fact fairly normal and even beneficial in order to rid the animal’s body of toxins. However, sometimes the symptom of vomiting can be part of a far more serious health condition and the act of throwing up can itself make matters worse for the dog. In such circumstances, it is best to prevent the dog from regurgitating its food, as vomiting can induce a number of secondary health conditions that can prove both uncomfortable and dangerous for the animal. These include dehydration due to the sheer loss of fluids that vomiting can cause, as well as conditions such as bacterial pneumonia if the dog accidentally inhales vomit into its lungs.
Causes And Prevention Of Vomiting
Food Poisoning – Dogs love to explore their environment and their primary method of interacting with the world is to use their mouth. As such, the most common reason that a dog will start to vomit is due to it consuming (either by accident or on purpose) food that is dangerous for them to eat. This can be because the food is overtly toxic to canines (such as chocolate) or because it has gone rotten and is harboring harmful bacteria. However, most dogs can be trained to avoid chewing or licking items that are not explicitly designated as edible by their owners. Also, making sure that the food they are given is of a good quality and has not exceeded its use-by date can prevent the animal from becoming ill. Additionally, making sure the animal receives a healthy, and well-balanced diet will not just prevent stomach upset, but it will ensure the proper development of the dog, ensuring they stay healthy in the long-term.
That said, there are often things such as plants and insects that the dog may accidentally consume during the course of a normal day that can also induce vomiting. By taking a careful look at both their own property and areas where the dog is commonly taken to exercise, owners can avoid such hazards with just some cursory research regarding the dangerous flora and fauna in their region.
Liver Disease – The liver is the primary organ responsible for acting as a barrier between the toxins that pass through the digestive system from day to day and the rest of the body. If the ability of the liver to do its job is compromised, then the dog may start to suffer from further organ failure and even death. The animal will commonly start to vomit once the liver becomes sufficiently damaged, as the body starts to reflexively try and clear the toxins that are damaging it out of the digestive system.
One of the main causes of liver disease in dogs is the presence of growths within the organ. These can be benign cysts or highly cancerous tumors, but both can put large amounts of pressure on the surrounding tissues, causing fluid buildup and malfunctions. Both of these growths can be caught and treated early in their life cycles if the dog attends regular check-ups at their vet.
Another common cause is severe food poisoning, which can be avoided by keeping the dog away from potential hazards such as household chemicals and by making sure their diet is properly controlled. Additionally, paying attention to the quality of the animal’s diet can prevent obesity and pancreatic problems, which can also damage the liver enough to induce vomiting.
Stomach Ulcers – An ulcer is a patch of tissue that has become home to a localized bacterial infection, effectively creating an open wound within the dog’s stomach lining that can be extremely uncomfortable for the animal. The ulcer can cause vomiting after large meals and certain foods as the wound becomes exposed to stomach acids, causing convulsions within the digestive system and making the dog regurgitate its meal. One of the main ways that ulcers form occurs when the dog swallowing a foreign object, which then goes on to gouge the stomach lining as it passes through the body. By training the animal to properly behave around potentially hazardous material, owners can negate much of the risk of them accidentally swallowing anything. Training is especially effective, as if done properly, it can offer lifelong behavioral modification and discipline.
Stomach ulcers can also appear as a result of high stress levels and a diet that the animal finds hard to digest. Owners can minimize their dog’s levels of anxiety by making sure that they have plenty of opportunities to play, explore and socialize. Dogs can also become stressed as a result of persistent disruptions of their lives, such as constant travelling, vet visits and conflict with other animals; keeping these distractions to a minimum or resolving them as fast as possible will help greatly.
Parasites – While dogs are frequently characterized as being dirty and somewhat unhygienic, the presence of parasites within their bodies can actually be incredibly disruptive. Things such as stomach and intestinal worms can both prevent the dog from getting proper levels of nutrition and will also irritate the tissues they live on if their population size becomes great enough. In these cases, the dog will frequently lose their appetite and start to vomit as the digestive tract reacts to the organisms living within it. As these parasites are most often passed on in an infected animal’s feces, owners should prevent their dog from interacting with animal droppings they find on the ground, especially those in dog parks.
Also, other parasites in different parts of the body may produce a negative reaction, such as heartworms. These organisms make their home in the chambers of the dog’s heart and as their numbers increase, they start to disrupt the organ’s ability to pump blood around the body. This can lead to organ failure, fluid buildup and other unpleasant symptoms, including vomiting. While it can be hard to predict the emergence of such parasites, owners in regions where they are especially common may be able to get preventative drugs which will stop the worms from reproducing.
Effects of Preventing Vomiting
By preventing the dog from vomiting, the owners will be able to ensure that their pet enjoys a long and healthy life. The main tenets that underpin the prevention of throwing up food (i.e. a good quality diet, plenty of activity and stress-mitigation, preventative medicines and a decent level of training) will also have far-reaching consequences for ensuring that the dog goes on to live a healthy and happy life in general. This is because good levels of nutrition and exercise, combined with a comfortable home and good healthcare will provide the animal with the ability to develop properly in its younger years and remain healthy as it goes through life.
While vomiting may seem like a fairly minor health concern in the grand scheme of things, it can be a sign of very serious health problems when combined with other symptoms. Furthermore, the root causes of vomiting such as the presence of parasites, a bad diet or a heavily taxed liver can often be taken as a sign of a poor living environment for the dog in question. By providing the animal with preventative measures to combat these problems, its overall quality of life can be significantly increased as a result. This means a happier, more fulfilling life for the dog and is owners alike.