A dog might vomit for a variety of different reasons, not all of which you should be overly concerned about. When your dog vomits, they are forcefully ejecting contents in their stomach or upper intestine out of their body, usually to try to feel better.
Of course, if your dog vomits once, you should pay close attention to how they act afterward. This can help determine if there might be a further issue.
Not all dogs will need treatment after throwing up because it might be something that passes fairly quickly. But it’s never a bad idea to get to the bottom of things and ensure that your dog is feeling well.
To learn more about different reasons why your dog might be vomiting and how to help them, continue reading:
Why Is My Dog Vomiting?
The first thing that you should do when your dog vomits (other than cleaning it up is to take note of any other symptoms and look for a culprit. Your dog might have gotten into something they shouldn’t have, or drank too much water, causing them to throw it all back up.
Sometimes, you can determine what exactly they threw up by looking in the vomit and searching for an indicator. Yes, this might be gross, but it’s partially what you signed up for when you adopted your dog!
There are several common causes of vomiting in dogs. A few that are less dangerous than others are:
- Diet change: Simply changing your dog’s food abruptly can sometimes upset your dog’s stomach and cause them to retch. This is why it’s important to slowly introduce your dog to a new food to avoid these issues.
- Food allergies: If your dog tries a treat or new dog treat or human food that has an ingredient they are allergic to or intolerant to, this might be the cause. For example, if your dog is intolerant to chicken and eats a chicken treat, they might throw it all up until it’s out of their digestive system completely.
- Constipation: If your dog has a bit of a blockage and can’t poop, they might begin to vomit as a way to empty out their upset stomach. While this might pass, you should still reach out to your veterinarian to figure out the next best steps.
Some more serious possible causes for your dog’s vomiting are:
- Ingestion of toxic foreign bodies
- Bacterial infection
- Intestinal parasites (giardia, roundworms)
- Foreign objects in the gastrointestinal tract
- Acute kidney failure
- Acute liver failure or another form of liver disease
- Uterine infection
As a pet parent, you always want to do whatever you can to protect your dog from life-threatening situations, and that often means visiting the vet. It’s always best to take your adult dog or puppy to the vet if you notice your dog throwing up frequently.
Make sure to observe what the vomit looks like — white foamy vomit is typically less concerning, while dark vomit that looks like coffee grounds is often a sign of a serious dog health issue.
How Can I Tell When My Dog Is Going To Vomit?
Your dog might give you a few different signs that they are feeling unwell and are going to vomit. Every dog is different, so it might come down to learning their specific behavior associated with when they are going to vomit. In general, the signs that you will see are associated with nausea.
Some things that you can look out for are:
- Spacing out
- Crying or whining
- Licking their lips
- Staring intensely at you
- Swallowing repeatedly
Additionally, your dog might begin to peel back their lips and gag. They might lurch a few times before actually vomiting, but this might give you some time to get them out into the backyard or place a trash bag beneath their faces.
Is Vomiting Considered Normal?
If you’ve been a dog parent for long, you know that sometimes they just throw up white foam. Maybe they ate too much grass outside or drank too much water too fast on an empty stomach. Whatever it is, your dog’s body wants it out, and vomiting helps.
Your dog might get sick and then continue on with the day as if nothing has happened. Those instances are usually nothing to worry about. If your dog throws up and has no other symptoms, your dog is likely fine. If they have the energy to play and want to eat and drink after, these are generally encouraging signs.
Vomiting vs. Regurgitation
Sometimes, your dog might actually be regurgitating something rather than vomiting. Knowing the difference might not seem that important, but it might save you some anxiety to be able to distinguish between the two.
Regurgitation happens when undigested foods and fluids are expelled from the body in a more passive way. They aren’t forcibly expelled, but rather your dog is trying to get something out that they might be choking on.
Signs that your dog is regurgitating something rather than vomiting are coughing and difficulty breathing. A regurgitated item might still be similar in shape to the esophagus.
Types of Vomiting
So you might consider “normal” as one type of vomiting, but there are a few different variations of vomiting that could occur. To determine what your dog is experiencing, keeping track of all their symptoms can help with this.
In order to diagnose your dog’s problems, you will need to speak with a veterinarian. This way, you can learn about different treatment methods that could relieve your pet of their pain.
Acute vomiting is a serious symptom of a few different diseases and other complications. It happens when your dog has sudden or severe bouts of vomiting. Usually, you, as the human, have to work out the details to investigate the cause behind the acute vomiting.
You might have to consider if your dog got into something they shouldn’t have or if they have been out in the heat for too long and are suffering heat stroke and other situations. Be aware of what your dog is doing, and if you leave them alone, you should make sure nothing dangerous to them is left accessible.
Some causes of acute vomiting are:
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Ingestion of irritating substances
- Intestinal parasites
- Heat stroke
- Medication reaction
- Bacterial infection
- Viral infection
Chronic vomiting alludes to when a dog has bouts of vomiting that occur for an extended period of time. It might be several days, weeks, or even months when your dog is vomiting regularly. Your dog might throw up every once and a while due to too much water or grass ingestion.
If your dog is throwing up with these other symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately:
- Abdominal pain
- Blood is present
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Change in behavior
Some different conditions or diseases that can be the underlying cause of chronic vomiting are:
- Internal obstruction
- Kidney/liver failure
- Intestinal inflammation
Vomiting in Puppies
When a puppy vomits, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. For puppies, their immune system is not as strong as when they are with their mothers.
During the early weeks, they are more susceptible to getting parvovirus or other parasites. If they haven’t gotten their vaccinations yet, they are even more at risk. Don’t wait around for your puppy to feel better, talk to their vet immediately and take action.
How To Diagnose Vomiting
If you are looking to diagnose the cause of your dog’s vomiting, there will be several steps your vet will take to figure it out. First, they might ask you about your dog’s access to the garbage or toxins. They will want to know about your dog’s eating habits and if there have been any changes to their diet recently.
Then your dog will have to undergo a physical exam, and their veterinarian might recommend blood work or further testing. This will help to eliminate diseases and test for others the vet might suspect. It might take some time to get the results back, but in the meantime, your vet can begin developing a treatment plan to help them.
How To Treat Vomiting in Dogs
Every dog is different, and so is the cause of vomiting. Not every dog is going to respond to the same treatment methods, so once the cause is determined, their veterinarian will begin to tailor a plan directly to your pet. This will allow your dog to receive treatment that is specified to their needs and can give you the best results.
If your dog is dehydrated from vomiting so much, they might be placed on fluids. If your dog is nauseous, they might be prescribed anti-nausea medication. Other medications might be of help, as well as changing your dog’s diet.
When To Call a Vet
To review, not every instance of vomiting warrants a trip to the vet. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore it every time.
You should consider contacting your veterinarian if your dog has any of the following symptoms:
- They are vomiting continuously
- Vomiting a lot at once
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting blood
- Bloody diarrhea
Remember, you know your pet best, and if you are worried, there is likely a reason for it! Trust your gut, and your dog will thank you later (likely in lots of kisses).
Feel Better Soon!
Worrying about our dogs is something we, as pet parents, do all the time. No matter how much time we spend on making sure they are happy and healthy, we can’t help but wonder if something else is going on under the surface. It’s not like we can just ask them how they are feeling and get a swift response!
When you need answers fast, AskVet is there to help you. If your dog has vomited and you aren’t sure what to do next, you can hop on a chat with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ who can provide you with advice. There is always someone available on AskVet, no matter what day or time it is.
When you sign up today, you can access all of the perks for just $9.99/month. Not only can you ask us all your burning questions, but you can schedule a session with a CPLC™ who can create a plan to help you with your pet’s needs.
Life with a dog is not always a walk in the park, but with expert advice, you can get back to walking through your park soon enough.