Callie Harris, DVM, Nestle Purina Pet Care
There are many reasons for dog vomiting including, but not limited to, dietary indiscretion, rapid food changes, infectious or metabolic diseases, gastrointestinal obstructions, toxins, stress, and chronic conditions. To determine the cause of a dog throwing up, a veterinarian needs a description, time of, and frequency of your dog vomiting.
Causes: Which frequency is your dog vomiting?
|Vomits occasionally||Chronic vomiting||Acute vomiting|
|Overeating or eating too fast||Metabolic disease e.g. Diabetes||Parasites e.g. Roundworms|
|Human foods not good for dogs||Allergies e.g. Food or environment||Intestinal obstruction|
|Stress/anxiety/over-excitement||Inflammatory Bowel Disease||Parvovirus|
|Eating grass or non-toxic plants||Kidney or liver failure diseases||Kidney or liver failure|
|Sudden change in diet||Pancreatitis||Pancreatitis|
|High energy playtimes or motion sickness||Infectious disease e.g. Lyme disease||Toxicosis e.g. grapes, household cleaners, human medication|
|Swallow bones or other objects|
*Causes are not exhaustive
Symptoms: Dog vomiting and diarrhea
A dog vomiting occasionally may not be too concerning. Dogs vomit for many reasons as you can see from the causes listed.
If your dog vomits just one time, the best way to care for him is to keep an eye on him for any changes in behavior or if the vomiting persists.
If vomiting increases and your dog develops other signs of illness such as diarrhea, it’s important to get him to a veterinarian to be checked-out. Additional symptoms that your dog’s condition is worsening and needs to see a veterinarian may include the following:
- Refusing food or appetite loss
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Lethargic and loses interest
- Dehydration and change in water consumption
- Decrease in urination
- White gums
- Blood or dried blood particles in vomit
- Collapse or loses consciousness
Dog vomiting: Signs
A dog that may be nauseous and about to vomit may show very clear signs of what’s to come. As unpleasant as it seems, it is important for you to take note of what your dog is throwing up so that you can describe the contents to a veterinarian.
Liquid and particles, color and foam are all signs of different reactions happening inside your dog’s system that could help a veterinarian better understand the cause.
Signs your dog is going to throw up
- Very restless
- Stomach rumbling
- Excessive gas
- Swallows repeatedly
- Eats grass
- Drinks more water than usual
Regurgitation vs Vomiting
It’s important to understand the difference between a dog vomiting and a dog regurgitating.
Regurgitation can be a sign of serious disease, so it’s important to share this type of information with your veterinarian if your dog regurgitates frequently.
Regurgitation is when a dog expels contents with no force and it usually comes up and out of the esophagus easily. Some dogs, more commonly in large breed dogs, may regurgitate after eating too much or too quickly.
Your veterinarian can recommend ways to help your dog avoid regurgitating food. Always consult with a professional before making any changes to your dog’s daily feeding routine.
4 Types of vomit
When it comes to a dog vomiting, it can be a sign of a health issue. When a dog vomits, they are using all the stomach muscles to forcefully expel contents. Your dog usually has one of the following four types of vomit colors and contents.
- Dog throwing up white foam vomit
If the vomit is mostly white foam with some yellow color to it, your dog is throwing up mucus (the white stuff) and bile (the yellow stuff). This type of vomit is because your dog’s stomach is empty, and he is throwing up foam that is normally in the stomach and bile from the intestines.
- Dog throwing up clear, watery vomit
If your dog is throwing up clear liquid, it may be a sign that he is dehydrated. If your dog continues to throw up watery vomit, he may become severely dehydrated. Check with your veterinarian on how to help your dog.
- Dog throwing up green vomit
If your dog’s vomit is green, he may have ingested a poison. For example, dogs who eat chemically treated grass or plants vomit green foam or liquid which is mucous inside his body. Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to have your dog examined.
- Dog throwing up blood in vomit
If your dog’s vomit looks like it has coffee grounds in it, it could be dried blood particles or partially digested blood. This is a very serious sign and could indicate that your dog has internal bleeding into his gastrointestinal tract. It’s important to get your dog to a veterinarian immediately for an examination and diagnoses.
Treatment for dog vomiting
Consult a veterinarian before attempting any of these steps as not all dogs who are throwing up get the same treatment. The following instructions are meant as a guide only and require the support of your veterinarian.
- Remove food and water bowls for 6 to 8 hours.
- If your dog did not throw up during the 6 to 8-hour period, start with giving no more than one teaspoon of water per pound of body weight every 2 to 3 hours, or small amounts of ice chips or ice cubes through the night.
- The following day, if your dog has kept the water down without vomiting, give a small amount of a bland food made up of either boiled hamburger meat and rice or boiled chicken and rice. Do not add any seasoning to the mixture.
- If your dog won’t eat or vomits again, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
- If your dog takes food and does not throw it up, you can begin offering small amounts of food every 2 to 3 hours.
- Keep your dog away from other pets in the house during this time.
- Once your dog has passed the 24 hours mark without vomiting, begin stretching out the servings by an hour each time until you are back on his regular feeding schedule.
- You can slowly transition him back to his normal food during this time.
- give your dog over-the-counter medication meant for people, unless advised by a veterinarian.
- give your dog water or food until he has not thrown up for 6 to 8 hours unless recommended by a veterinarian.
- change your dog’s diet suddenly, get advice from your veterinarian first.
- wait to see how your dog is doing if he has continuous episodes of vomiting and diarrhea, which leads to loss of important fluids and an imbalance of electrolytes.
Learn more about feeding your dog