All dogs throw up every now and then, just like people. Sometimes, it may just be from eating too fast, or eating the wrong things. If your dog is throwing up more than once in a while, it may be a sign of a more serious condition. No one wants their fur buddy to be feeling bad, so anything we can do to keep them feeling great is a win for both of us!
To know how to help your dog feel better and stop throwing up, you’ll need to figure out why they are throwing up in the first place. So put on your detective hat, and let’s add up the clues.
There are many reasons why a dog may vomit, and some may be more serious than others. When your dog vomits, it’s important to be vigilant and note what’s in it, and how frequently it occurs, as these factors can give important clues as to why. Also pay attention to any other symptoms or behaviors too, as they can help you decide if a trip to the veterinarian is necessary.
If your dog throws up, take note of:
- Frequency –
Acute vomiting is a sudden case of vomiting that occurs once, or a few times
over a short period of time. Chronic vomiting is sporadic vomiting that occurs
over the course of one to two weeks, or longer. While many acute cases can be indicative
of conditions that may resolve easily, chronic vomiting is usually a sign of a
more serious health condition that needs veterinary attention.
- Vomit Material – If you find toys,
plant material, or other non-food substances, you can usually guess what your
dog ate. If you see blood or bile, then this signals something much more
dangerous, and should be checked out right away. If nothing is coming out, it
could signal bloat or an obstruction.
- Diet – Is your dog
eating normally, or is there a change in their routine? Many dogs with upset
tummies or an obstruction in their digestive tract will stop eating, while
other conditions can cause an increased appetite.
- Time of Day of Vomiting –
A dog who vomits early in the morning before eating may have too much acid in
their tummy, while one who vomits after eating later in the day may have a
- Unusual Occurrences –Did
you see your dog eat something he shouldn’t have? Did your pup take a dive in a
muddy or green pond or lake? Note anything out of the ordinary that may have
caused the vomiting.
- Other Symptoms – Take note of any symptoms that don't seem normal for your dog, such as diarrhea, constipation, a distended abdomen, pale gums, increased or decreased urination or thirst, lethargy, weight loss, dehydration, or a fast heart rate.
Reasons for Vomiting
Often, vomiting occurs because of gastritis, or an inflammation of the lining of the stomach. This can be due to varied medical conditions, or foreign bodies or substances that have been ingested. Some of these reasons could be:
- Ingestion of garbage, spoiled food, bones, cat litter,
toys, clothing, or any other non-food item that can cause an irritation or
obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Ingestion of inedible or toxic plant materials, such as grass, flowers, plants, or molds. Fungi could include mushrooms, Pythiuminsidiosum that inhabits wetlands, ponds, and swamps, and blue-green algae found in freshwater ponds and lakes called cyanobacteria.
- Ingestion of toxic chemicals or heavy metals.
- Reaction to medications such as antibiotics, anesthetics, anti-inflammatories, and other drugs.
- Motion sickness
- Diet sensitivities or intolerances.
- Prolonged exposure to environmental allergens.
- Empty tummy syndrome, or when an empty stomach causes acid to irritate the stomach lining.
- Eating too fast.
- Intestinal Parasites
- Bloat, or a filling, then twisting of the stomach, causing pain and unproductive vomiting.
- Severe constipation
- Infections, such as in the gastrointestinal tract, in the abdomen, in the uterus, or parvovirus.
- Diseases, such as cancer, Addison’s Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or liver or kidney disease.
- Various internal inflammations, such as in the gallbladder, pancreas, gastrointestinal tract, or colon.
By taking a glance at this list, you can see a wide variety of reasons your dog may vomit. See your veterinarian right away if your dog continues to vomit for more than a day, if it is accompanied by other symptoms, if there is suspicious looking material in the vomit, if your dog cannot keep food or water down for more than 12 to 24 hours, or if you know they ate something they shouldn’t have.
Since the reasons your dog may throw up are so varied, it may seem difficult to foresee what could happen to your dog. But there are some preventative strategies you can use to lower your dog’s chances of having an upset tummy.
- Keep an eye on what your dog ingests and be sure to
keep foreign and inedible objects, toxic chemicals, and poisonous plants,
molds, and fungi out of their mouths.
- Keep aware of your dog’s eating habits, and note any
changes or possible food sensitivities or intolerances. Simple diet changes can
help most food allergies.
- If your dog eats way too fast, use strategies to slow
them down, such as feeding them alone, spreading food out on a cookie sheet, on
the floor or lawn, or using a slow feeder bowl.
- For dogs who are susceptible to bloat, keep them from activity right after
eating, and consider switching to a grain-free diet.
- Note any environmental allergens your dog may be
sensitive to, such as pollen, mold or dust, and talk with your vet if you
notice your dog having problems.
- Prevent your dog from drinking or swimming in lakes,
ponds, rivers and any new bodies of water you are unsure of, or are cloudy,
green, or look contaminated.
- Treat your dog monthly with anti-parasitic medications
to protect them from worms and parasites.
- Prevent heatstroke by ensuring your dog stays cool in
the heat, has access to water and shade, and is never left inside a hot space, such as a car.
- Routine checkups done yearly can help keep an eye on infections, inflammations, and diseases that may be brewing in your dog. While you can’t predict when one of the conditions may strike, you can catch some of them early enough to help your dog recover before the symptoms become severe.
So show your best bud just how much you care by using these simple prevention strategies to help keep them safe and healthy. A little attention now could mean a whole lot of sloppy kisses for many years to come!