Dog with his mouth open

When should your Dog’s Vomit Concern you? Causes and Treatment

Your dog will throw up for many reasons. He could have eaten something his stomach disagrees with, or perhaps gobbled down too much food too quickly. However, he could also be vomiting as a result of a serious illness requiring immediate medical attention or due to the consumption of a toxic substance. If your dog is vomiting and not eating, that could be associated with systemic and gastrointestinal disorders both of which need to be inspected by your vet.

Why is my Dog Vomiting?

It is essential first to understand that there is a difference between vomiting and regurgitation. Vomiting can be defined as the forceful ejaculation of the upper intestines and stomach contents. It can contain food that is partially digested or yellow bile.

Regurgitation is mild without abdominal heaving. Here, undigested food is ejected from the esophagus. It will happen almost immediately after eating. Vomiting, on the other hand, happens hours after eating.

When to take Dog to a Vet for Vomiting

Stomach problems are the most common triggers of vomiting. These could include inflammatory bowel disease, gastritis, bloating, an upset stomach, or obstruction from a foreign body. Others may include:

  • Non-digestible material in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Motion sickness
  • Addison’s disease
  • Parasites in the digestive tract
  • Gastric dilation
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Acute liver failure
  • Acute urethral obstruction
  • Colitis
  • Peritonitis
  • Bilious vomiting syndrome
  • Heatstroke

All these could result in additional symptoms such as vomiting blood, blood in diarrhea, dark brown mucus, lethargy, loss of appetite, among others.

When your dog is vomiting blood, has diarrhea, and is presenting other symptoms, it could be a secondary reaction to critical illnesses such as kidney problems, pancreatic disease, or liver issues.  It could also be an indication of neurological problems such as meningitis, or brain tumor. Other psychological problems like anxiety and extreme fear could also be the cause of it.

Clear foamy vomit is different from that with food that is partially digested. If it is yellow or clear, it is a medical issue that is not linked to the food consumed. When it is liquid in form, it is often an indication of a serious medical problem. If your dog starts coughing and something looking like white foam or mucus comes out of his mouth, that could be expectoration stemming from respiratory causes and should not be confused with vomiting.

Red bloody mucus

When to Call your Vet

If your dog keeps vomiting, notify your vet and be sure to get help if the following happens:

  • Your dog is in pain, has a fever, or is lethargic
  • Severe vomiting occurs suddenly
  • Bloody diarrhea and vomit is seen
  • You suspect your pet swallowed a foreign object

If an object is blocking the intestines of your dog, surgery will be required. Should your vet not discover the cause of your dog’s vomiting, you may be asked to consult an endoscopy specialist. Here, tubes will be inserted through the mouth of into the stomach. An endoscope can get rid of small objects in the stomach.

Should Excessive Vomiting in Dogs Worry You?

First, understand that vomiting is a common occurrence in dogs mostly resulting from a minor stomach upset or gastritis. When dogs throw up resulting from an upset stomach, it is usually because they consumed something irritating such as rotten food, bones, or grass. If it happens only in one episode, it can be quickly treated at home. However, if it is chronic, you need to act quickly by getting your dog to a vet as soon as you can. When your dog refuses food and is lethargic, you should have him examined. If your dog also has diarrhea and has declined demeanor, consider visiting a veterinarian. With excessive vomiting, your dog is likely to be dehydrated; a state that could lead to the breakdown of the functioning of vital organs.

Distinguish whether your dog is throwing up bile or blood. Bile which is necessary for digestion is light brown, greenish and yellow. The smell comes across as strong and sour. Blood, also referred to as hematemesis is alarming and indicates a severe health condition. Depending on where the blood is coming from, bloody dog vomit can look different. When it is fresh, the blood will be bright red. In it, you will notice streaks of small clots. When digested, blood will be dark brown or black. Should you notice blood in your dog’s vomit or diarrhea, contact your vet immediately. It could signal internal bleeding or stomach ulcer.

What to do if Dog is vomiting on an Empty Stomach

Your dog may start vomiting when his stomach has been empty for too long. It is known as bilious vomiting syndrome often resulting from acidity and irritation. Because your dog has not been eating throughout the night, bilious syndrome causes the throwing up of mucus, fluid, and bile in the morning.  If you notice your dog vomiting in the early morning hours and is okay the rest of the day, he may be suffering from this syndrome. Offering a small portion in his night meal and early in the morning will solve the problem. If this does not work, it might be necessary to have blood work, fecal exam, urinalysis, and abdominal X-rays to rule out any serious medical condition. Should your vet suspect bilious syndrome, medication could be added to the treatment plan.

How to Induce Vomiting in Dog

Before poison is absorbed into a dog’s system, it takes time. Sometimes, it can take hours for you to notice he swallowed something that cannot be digested. Whether it is after 20 minutes or hours after you notice there is a problem, the quicker you get the toxin out of his digestive system the better; to prevent the absorption of it into the system. Before you induce vomiting, call your vet.

If your vet gives the go-ahead, then do it. If your dog is acting dizzy or is unconscious, it can be dangerous to try inducing. The first thing when trying to induce your dog is to feed him with small amounts of food. The food is meant to dilute the poison. The next step is to give your dog hydrogen peroxide. Because hydrogen peroxide tastes extremely bad, your dog will be prompted to vomit.

The other home remedy is salt. One tablespoon of salt causes dryness at the back of the tongue and can lead him to purge. Once he has vomited, get the vomit to your vet for close analysis.

Treatment for Dog Diarrhea and Vomiting

Tender loving care and home remedies work well where mild vomiting and diarrhea are involved. For instance, food could be withheld for about 24 hours to allow the gastrointestinal tract to rest. Once the symptoms are resolved, your vet may ask that you introduce small amounts of bland food. Severe gastroenteritis may be controlled with fluids intravenously to prevent dehydration.

Medications may be prescribed to prevent the urge to vomit. In cases where bloody vomit or diarrhea are involved, hospitalization may be required for further treatment and observation. Understand that vomiting in some cases can be a sign if severe conditions including diabetes, viral infection, and certain types of cancers.

If your dog is throwing up, he doesn’t necessarily need the immediate attention of a vet. However, should you notice other signs such as bloody stool or vomit, something could be seriously wrong. Call your vet immediately.