Vomiting is common in dogs. They are very efficient at vomiting.
Vomiting is the forceful expulsion of the contents of the stomach.
If your dog appears to be trying to vomit and is in discomfort, often with a swollen belly, it could be Bloat. This is a medical emergency. Bloat occurs when when the stomach becomes overly full with gas. If you suspect bloat seek veterinary help immediately.
Regurgitation vs Vomiting
Regurgitation is the seemingly effortless ejection of undigested food. Vomiting involves some force.
If a dog starts to regurgitate, the dog should be taken to the vet. This is a problem that required veterinary intervention.
A dog that is regurgitating likely has something stuck in their esophagus (between the throat and stomach) so that food cannot get to the stomach. If they are drooling, they cannot swallow saliva. If they are having difficulty swallowing there may be a partial blockage. If the regurgitation comes and goes, then there may be some problem with esophagus itself.
When a dog regurgitates, some of the food may get into the lungs or the nose. This can lead to the lungs or nose becoming infected. The infection of the lungs by food is known as aspiration pneumonia and is a serious condition.
Vomit is usually foul smelling. There is usually partially digested food and generally some bile (yellow colored). Most dogs will extend their neck, make sounds (sometimes described as sounding like an out of balance washing machine) and perhaps retch before vomiting.
- What can cause vomiting in dogs
- What to do when your dog vomits
- Treatment of a vomiting dog at home
- Making a dog vomit
- Eating indigestible substances
- Overeating or gobbling food
Eating indigestible substances
Eating an indigestible substance is the most common reason for dogs to vomit.
Some things such as grass will irritate the lining of the stomach and cause the dog to vomit. A dog with a food allergy. will sometimes vomit due to irritation of the stomach, though itchy skin is the most common symptom of food allergy.
Overeating or Gobbling of Food
In all ages of dogs, but especially puppies, overeating and/or gobbling can result in vomiting. Exercising immediately after overeating will make most dogs vomit.
Feeding puppies together can result in rapid eating and overeating since they will often compete for food. If this is occurring, either feed smaller amounts more frequently, or feed the puppies separately.
Stress is a common reason for dogs to vomit. A dog that is frightened, for example of thunder, may vomit. Stress in some dogs may be a cause of motion sickness.
There are a number of diseases that can make dogs vomit. Both acute diseases, (comes on suddenly, often with severe symptoms), such as infectious diseases, and chronic diseases (longer lasting or recurring) can cause vomiting.
If you think that the vomiting is due to a dietary indiscretion, gobbling food or stress, then you can start to treat the dog at home.
If you have any concern, or the dog is very young or very old, or already has significant health problems, or if any of the following symptoms are present, take your dog to the vet, or call the vet.
- Sudden very severe vomiting
- Persistent vomiting or retching
- Diarrhea in addition to vomiting
- Vomiting blood
- Vomit looks like coffee grounds
- Vomit contains fecal matter
- Vomiting worms
- Projectile vomit
- In pain
- Becomes weak or sluggish
- Vomiting on and off for days or weeks
If you think that the reason for the vomiting in your dog is not serious, then home treatment is simple.
Do not give any food or water, in order to rest the stomach. This is not appropriate for young puppies or very old dogs since they do not cope well with dehydration.
If the vomiting and/or retching does not stop after several hours, take your dog to the vet. Do not let your dog get too dehydrated.
If the vomiting stops, give your dog a tablespoon or so of water, or let them lick some ice. If the dog does not vomit, then give your dog water every two hours, ¼ to ½ cup depending on the size of the dog.
After about 12 hours with no vomiting, you can start your dog on small amounts of bland food, such as a baby food meat puree, boiled rice with finely chopped chicken or low fat meat, cottage cheese etc. Do not give any fatty foods. Start with small amounts, a tablespoonful or two, every two to three hours and slowly build back up over about 2 days to the dog’s regular food and feeding schedule.
If the dog starts to vomit again when water or food is reintroduced take the dog to the vet.
Occasionally it may be necessary to make a dog vomit see How To Induce Vomiting In A Dog for information how to make your dogs vomit and under what circumstances it will be harmful.