Everything You Need To Know About Dog Vomiting

Dogs Vomiting Feature Image

Your dog is an integral part of your family. They are man’s best friend. They keep you company and accompany you on your daily walks. That’s why we do everything we can to ensure they are healthy and happy.

Unfortunately, no matter how closely we monitor their health, vomiting occurs. Like us humans, dogs do throw up from time to time to expel food and anything else that they should not have ingested. In most cases, their occasional vomiting isn’t a major cause of concern.

Nonetheless, dogs of all breeds will throw up for a variety of reasons, with some being quite serious. Although dog’s vomit isn’t the prettiest thing to talk about, understanding it can provide you with some important insights into your dog’s health. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at vomiting in dogs and what to do when it happens.

The Difference Between Vomiting And Regurgitating

It is important to know the difference between dog vomiting and regurgitating since they have different causes and treatments. It’s also important to know the difference between the two because they may be signs or symptoms of different health issues.

When it comes to vomiting, a dog uses effort to fetch up ingested fluids or food up. In most cases, you’ll know your dog is vomiting because he will show signs like drooling, retching, and a contraction of his tummy and ribs.

With regurgitation, there’s no effort shown by the dog throwing up undigested food. Regurgitation usually occurs immediately after they have ingested the food/liquid, and the regurgitated substances will most likely be clearly different to dog vomit. More often than not, dogs regurgitate material without warning.

But you may be wondering, ‘why is my dog throwing up?’. Although dogs throw up quite often and for numerous reasons, tummy problems are probably one of the most common reasons.

Gastritis is quite similar to stomach upsets in human beings. We might eat something that doesn’t sit well with our stomachs. Or we might end up eating too much. For dogs, this often implies the ingestion of irritating objects, including bones, paper, grass, and rotten or decomposed food.

Why Your Dog Is Vomiting

What Causes A Dog To Vomit?

Vomiting in dogs can actually protect the pup. If they end up ingesting harmful things, removing them from the body via vomiting can be beneficial to your pet’s health. Possible causes of vomiting in dogs include the following:

1. Food Allergies & Sensitivities

Food allergies are a condition in which the pup’s immune system reacts to a particular substance in their meal, typically an animal-source protein. Unlike a food allergy, food intolerance and sensitivities have more to do with a dog’s digestive system. However, the signs and symptoms of these two can be quite similar, often appearing as gastrointestinal or skin issues.

Symptoms include vomiting, which often happens as soon as the dog ingests their meal or can be delayed for up to three days. To prevent dog vomiting due to food sensitivities, it is important to determine with components or foods your pet is allergic to. After identifying the triggering elements or foods, remove them completely from your dog’s diet.

2. Food Transition

Sudden changes to a dog’s diet can lead to a gastrointestinal problem, so changing food brands or varieties suddenly can lead to stomach issues. More importantly, it is vital to switch your dog’s food gradually, usually over seven to ten days.

Before making the decision to transition to another food, consult your vet. If you have recently started the transition to a new food brand, make sure to start slowly and increase the amount slowly until it’s the only brand of food you’re providing.

3. Toxic Food

If a dog ingests toxic food or poisons such as rat poison, pesticides, antifreeze, or household drugs, vomiting can happen almost immediately. In most cases, the dog vomiting will start within one hour to 24 hours after they have ingested the most toxic foods. In such cases, the dog’s body is trying to eradicate the toxins as fast as possible.

Some human foods are harmful to and can induce dog vomiting, among other side effects. These foods include chocolate, caffeine, macadamia nuts, alcohol, and sweetener xylitol.

Signs & Causes Of Dog Being Sick

4. Dietary Indiscretion

Also referred to as scavenging/ingesting a foreign body or something that dogs shouldn’t eat, dietary indiscretion is a very common cause of vomiting in both puppies and adult dogs alike. Scavenging elevates the risk of toxin exposure [1] and foreign body ingestion.

5. Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites are the most common cause of vomiting in puppies, but can also cause vomiting in dogs of any age. If your dog consumes an animal host like beetles, cockroaches, or giardia, he could ingest an intestinal parasite that may cause vomiting.

Intestinal parasites include worms such as hookworms, tapeworms, earthworms, whipworms, and roundworms. The best prevention method for all of these is fecal examinations and regular deworming.

Effect & Causes Of Environment Which Results In Emptying Stomach Contents

6. Gastroenteritis

Dogs can throw up because of a bacterial infection in their gastrointestinal tract. This type of gastroenteritis is often minor and can be successfully treated at home. However, in some cases, it can result in complications such as fever and dehydration.

The most common causes of gastroenteritis include food-borne pathogens and systemic infections. Contaminated or rotten food can lead to an upset stomach and dog vomiting.

7. Pancreatitis

This condition is characterized by irritation or inflammation of the pancreas. The condition is often associated with the sudden introduction of a new diet that is too high in fat or a case of dietary indiscretion. This can be a result of feeding on garbage or table scraps that have high-fat content.

Symptoms include frequent vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, lack of appetite, weight loss, and lethargy. Just like preventing gastroenteritis, make sure to avoid quick changes to a dog’s regular diet.

8. Bilious Vomiting Syndrome

Bilious Vomiting Syndrome refers to sensitivity to the bile found in a dog’s stomach, which mainly occurs when a dog doesn’t eat its meal sometimes.

The most common symptom is intermittent or daily throw up, which often occurs six or more hours after a dog has had its last meal.

The best prevention method is to feed your dog more regular meals. In addition, the best way to reduce the symptoms is by feeding your dog a proper meal.

Causes Of Medical Conditions That Lead To Abdomen Upset

What To Look For When Your Dog Vomits?

Consistency Of The Vomit

Dog vomit can be liquid, foamy, slimy, granular, or chunky. Liquid, foamy or slimy dog vomiting, with traces of yellow, shows that the dog’s stomach was empty when the vomiting happened. 

The dog throwing up white foam is due to the presence of mucus in the stomach along with saliva. The yellow coloration comes from the bile present in the small intestine. 

The cause might be a minor condition that may be managed by a change in food or a more serious condition such as liver or kidney disease. Therefore, it is important to have your pet examined by a vet to determine why your dog is throwing up.

Granular and chunky vomitus is often associated with dog food, treats, or something else they ate that doesn’t sit well with their stomach. If chunky vomit has recognizable pieces of food in it, it means that the food didn’t stay in the stomach long before being vomited. 

On the other hand, granular vomitus indicates that the food was in the stomach for some time and that some digestion had occurred. However, granular material in your dog’s vomitus is partially digested blood and suggests bleeding in the stomach, so immediate vet assistance is necessary.

Observations Of The Throw Up Color For Diagnosis Of The Problem

6 Different Colors Of The Vomit

As with humans, the appearance or color of your dog’s vomit can change depending on the reason. Some of the causes may be expected while others could be shocking. So what do the various colors of vomit possibly mean?

1. Green Vomit

The color could come from eating a lot of grass or plants. This could also suggest that the dog vomiting bile. When it comes to the color of vomit, green is often not a cause of concern. If your dog vomiting is too frequent or excessive, schedule an appointment with a veterinarian.

2. Yellow Vomit

There’s usually nothing to panic about dog vomiting yellow, especially if it’s a one-off occurrence. Usually, it is mainly bile vomit. All you need to do is to clean up, but if symptoms persist, visit your vet’s office for evaluation.

3. Black Vomit

This is quite tricky. Normally, black vomit can come from digested dirt or mud (so there’s usually nothing to worry about). If the black vomit resembles coffee granules, observe it closely to see if it is actually very dark red, as this could be a sign of undigested toxin, or stomach ulcers. If you notice that your dog is vomiting a color of very dark red instead of black material, call your vet straight away.

4. White Vomit

This may either be white foam or vomit. White foam could be due to an upset stomach, something that you shouldn’t worry much about. White foam from the mouth may also be more serious. It suggests that your pooch is experiencing bloat or gastrointestinal issues. They may also be attempting to vomit with no success. So don’t hesitate to consult a specialist.

5. Red Vomit

In almost all cases, red vomit has something to do with blood. If your dog’s vomit has the usual shade of red, it most likely consists of fresh blood. That could mean problems with your pup’s esophagus or stomach lining. It may also be a result of inflammation of the stomach or possible response to having eaten a poisonous foreign object. 

If the vomit is dark red, it means that the dog could be throwing up blood that has stayed in the body for some time (i.e. digested blood). If your pet seems to throw up blood frequently, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

6. Dark Brown Vomit

Here, the smell has the clue. Usually, dark brown vomit indicates that your pup has eaten too much poo. It could also mean that there’s a blockage of your dog’s intestines. Contact your vet immediately if it happens repeatedly.

Frequency Of Your Pets' Retching Times

Frequency Of The Vomit

If your dog throws up just once and continues to eat normally and experience normal bowel movements, then the throw up was probably an isolated bout. You may not have to worry about an isolated incidence of vomiting. 

However, chronic or frequent dog vomiting may be a sign of a serious problem, such as parvovirus, colitis, or intestinal obstruction. If your dog keeps throwing up, contact your vet as soon as you can.

Other Symptoms

A dog who has eaten or drunk a large amount of food or water too quickly should regurgitate a lot of material. However, a dog who makes frequent attempts to throw up only to bring up little or no vomiting requires immediate medical attention.

White foam or little to no vomit is a sign of gastric dilatation-volvulus (twisted stomach), a life-threatening condition that should be treated as soon as possible.

Treatments For Retching Dogs

What To Give A Dog For Vomiting?

You may not need to worry about an isolated bout of vomiting. Many pups that throw up tend to have minor issues that resolve on their own. That said, the best thing to do is to seek veterinary care, especially if you’re worried about your dog throwing up. But what can you give your dog for vomiting while you decide if you need to seek emergency vet care?

  • Implement a food fast – Give your dog’s gastrointestinal system time to rest and recover by not giving your dog food for 12 to 24 hours.
  • Give small amounts of water – You should ensure your dog is hydrated by giving him a small amount of water. Alternatively, you can give him an unflavored Pedialyte.
  • Feed a bland diet – Feed your dog a mix of plain white rice, cooked boneless chicken in small amounts to help resolve the throw-up. Start with one tablespoon of bland food each hour and slowly increase the amount if the vomiting has stopped.

Talk to your veterinarian right away if your dog vomits blood, seems to be in pain, looks weak and lethargic or the symptoms persist.

Attention - Comparison Of The Seriousness In Retching Dogs

Acute Vs Chronic Vomiting In Dogs

Acute vomiting is the severe or sudden episodes of vomiting. Acute vomiting is an isolated bout of vomiting and it’s often not a cause of concern. It is a result of eating their meal too quickly, a dietary change, or ingesting something unpleasant.

In contrast, chronic vomiting can be defined as ongoing vomiting and needs to be treated as a medical emergency since it is a sign of a serious or even life-threatening condition. 

Chronic vomiting is often a sign of underlying health conditions, such as infectious diseases, Addison ’s disease, dietary allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, diabetes, kidney failure, liver failure, cancer, and other conditions affecting the abdominal organs.

Types Of Illnesses Caused By Retching

When To Take Your Dog To The Vet For Vomiting?

Since vomiting is a common occurrence in dogs, dog owners are often not worried if their dog keeps throwing up. But when is it a cause of concern? There are quite a few dog vomiting scenarios that require immediate veterinary care:

  • Presence of other signs – If your dog throws up and starts acting abnormally, e.g. having diarrhea, refusing to eat, or sleeping for more hours than usual, you should contact your vet.
  • Blood in vomit – If you spot blood in your dog’s vomit or the dog throws up something that appears like dried blood or coffee grounds, contact your veterinarian. This could be a sign of more serious conditions like gastric ulcers or the dog has ingested a sharp foreign object like bones, toys, or even socks.
  • Excessive throwing up – If your dog vomits several times in a day or excessively or your dog keeps throwing up, talk to your veterinarian to find out why.

Identifying the cause of dogs’ vomit may require a number of steps. Veterinarians will ask a few questions regarding your vomiting dog ’s access to any foreign body and toxins, dietary changes, medical history, and whether or not your pooch is displaying any other signs and symptoms. 

They will then carry out a physical exam to provide further information. Your vet may also do further tests such as urine tests, x-rays, ultrasound, blood test/blood work, biopsies, and endoscopy for a thorough diagnosis.

For treatment, your vet will create a tailored treatment plan depending on the cause and condition of your dog. Vomiting can cause health problems such as dehydration, acid disorders, and electrolyte imbalances. Your vet may tackle these issues by treating the various symptoms and may even prescribe anti-nausea medication.

Signs To Look For After Your Pet Have A A Form Of Reflux

Frequently Asked Questions

How to stop a dog from vomiting?

You may stop a dog from vomiting by taking a few steps. Give them homemade meals like skinless chicken, plain white rice, and boiled potatoes. In some cases, a dog may need antibiotics, fluid therapy, dietary changes, or antiemetics (medications to help stop vomiting).

Should you give dog water after vomiting?

Yes, you should give your dog a small amount of water to help keep him hydrated. However, avoid giving them a large amount of water as this may induce further vomiting. Give him water slowly and gradually.

Should I let my dog sleep after vomiting?

Yes, you can let your dog sleep after vomiting as your dog may feel lethargic after that. Also, it is advisable to withhold all other activities and observe after they vomit too. Do not, however, withhold them from drinking water as it helps to replenish their system.

Should you feed a dog after they vomit?

No, you should not feed a dog after they vomit. Instead, wait for at least 12 hours. Vomiting may irritate the stomach lining of your dog or cause inflammation of the stomach due to stomach acid, which could result in more vomiting if they eat soon after throwing up.

However, a puppy should not be allowed to go without food for more than 12 hours. Their stomach should be given time to recover and help determine if the underlying issue was food-related. The fasting also gives the dog an opportunity to eliminate anything that could be causing the dog to be sick.

Conclusion

Occasional vomiting is not uncommon in pets. Dogs will sometimes throw up in order to eliminate something disagreeable to them. However, a few cases of puppy vomiting could be a cause of concern to pet parents. For instance, call your veterinarian right away if your dog:

  • Is throwing up excessively or frequently
  • Has fever
  • Dog vomiting blood

Although vomiting often means nothing to panic about, it’s best to always stay alert and watch out for any red flags. And if you’re worried, content your vet immediately.