In canines, vomiting is a symptom in which there is forceful & involuntary expulsion of the contents of the stomach and the upper small intestine through the mouth. The effects of vomiting can range from mild to severe depending upon its cause.
There are several reasons that may cause vomiting in dogs. Changes in diet, new medications, or a dog getting into the trash or swallowing a foreign object are all common causes of vomiting. Usually, none of the above will cause problems in the long-term. However, if the vomiting persists, then with no further delay rush to the veterinarian.
Different Types Of Dog Vomit
It is important to understand the types of dog vomit as knowing the type (based on consistency) can also help in understanding the underlying cause of vomiting:
Granular Dog Vomit
Granular vomit is often related to food or something your dog has ingested. The granules look like the coffee grounds but the consistency is somewhat similar to that of liquid. Sometimes you may also see blood and partially digested food in the vomit.
Chunky vomit is also often food-related with visible food pieces that are not digested yet. The undigested food is an indication that the food has not been in the stomach for very long. It happens soon after eating and most commonly it occurs of dogs ate quickly or ran after eating.
Liquid Dog Vomit
Liquid vomit is different from vomit that includes partially digested food. The liquid dog vomit can be foamy or slimy in texture. If the vomit appears to be yellow or clear in color then it is a sign of a completely different medical issue that has no connection to the food being consumed.
The liquid vomit can often be a sign of a serious issue is contrary to the semi-solid vomit. Whereas, chunky or granular vomiting is often related to something that has been ingested.
Types Of Vomiting Based On Severity
Vomiting in dogs is also differentiated in two major types based on severity; Acute and Chronic. The cause and treatment also vary for both types.
Acute vomiting is severe vomiting that starts suddenly, gets worse quickly and lasts for a shorter period of time. It is also easier to control as compared to chronic vomiting but there should be no delay in consulting the veterinarian when you notice your dog vomiting. If the acute vomiting is not cured then it can cause chronic vomiting.
Chronic vomiting persists longer than a few days and can be episodic or intermittent in nature, contrary to the acute vomiting that lasts for a very short period of time. It is not a disease in itself and a large number of diseases can cause chronic vomiting. Because of this, getting to the root of vomiting requires a lot of diagnosing on your veterinarian’s part.
Dog Vomiting Vs. Regurgitation
Regurgitation is frequently confused with dog vomiting but has an entirely different cause and treatment. Dog vomiting is the forceful ejection of the stomach and upper intestinal contents. It can contain yellow bile or partially digested food. It usually has an unpleasant sour smell and involves heaving.
Regurgitation, on the other hand, mild ejection of undigested food, mucus, or fluid from the esophagus into the mouth. Unlike vomiting, it does not abdominal heaving. Moreover, regurgitation tends to happen right after eating. The action of regurgitation is sudden and happens without warning, so it may take you a while to notice it if you do not watch your dog while he eats.
What Causes Vomiting In Dogs?
If your dog keeps throwing up, then it becomes important for you to know the cause and reason behind it. Here in this list, we have mentioned the potential causes of vomiting in dogs.
The cause of vomiting in dogs is not very straightforward as there are many reasons for the causes of vomiting. Whether it is the ingestion of foreign things they’re not supposed to eat or whether it is inflammation in their intestinal tract to more severe things.
The most common causes are stomach issues:
- Eating garbage or spoiled food
- Ingesting toxic plant or grass
- Eating too fast
- Exercising or running after eating
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Gastric dilatation and volvulus (Bloat)
- Blockage in the stomach or intestine
- Having motion sickness
Vomit resulting due to a serious health issue:
- Kidney, liver, or pancreatic disease
- Middle ear problem
- Brain tumor
- Extreme fear or anxiety
Determining The Cause By Color Of Vomit
If your dog is throwing up, the color of the vomit might help you determine what’s causing it if it’s not simply relative to the color of something he just ate:
There most probable cause of black vomit is due to eating soil while digging around in the dirt or while playing in the ground.
There are four possible causes of black vomit:
- The white-colored saliva is also a sign of regurgitated or expectorated saliva; which means it is not a vomit
- Ingested grass or other foreign objects
- Upset stomach
- Bilious Vomiting Syndrome: Due to BVS bile in the stomach cause it cause irritation and ultimately vomit
- Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus or bloat: If the dog is vomiting white foam or trying to vomit but can’t then the probable cause is GDV. GDV is potentially life-threatening but a rare condition in which the stomach twists and dilates itself
There are four possible causes of red vomit:
- Ingested toxin (resembles coffee grounds with a very dark shade of red)
- Stomach ulcer (resembles coffee grounds with a very dark shade of red)
- Hematemesis, or short term vomiting with blood, which can happen due to irritation of the lining of the stomach or esophagus
- Gastritis or inflammation of the stomach
There are two possible causes of green vomit:
- Ingested plant material like grass (It’s not clear that eating grass causes vomiting, but when the grass is present inside vomit, the chlorophyll inside can stain it shades of green)
- Bile may reflux up into the stomach and cause vomiting; If the dog vomits due to any other reason the vomit may appear tinged green due to presence of bile
The yellow color is also a sign of the presence of bile in the vomit in a lower concentration. However, at higher concentrations, the vomit may appear green
There are two possible causes of the dark brown color of dog vomit:
- Ingested foreign material including dog’s own or another dog’s feces
- A block in the intestine or material refluxing from the intestinal tract into the stomach
Diagnosis For Dog Vomiting
As vomiting in itself is not a disease and merely a condition which can be caused due to many reasons, so there are several steps involved in order to diagnose the cause. For diagnosing the cause, your vet may ask you about the dog’s recent dietary change, access to toxins, garbage, and poison, and about any other symptom in your dog.
When To Go To The Vet
We, as humans, mostly don’t go to the doctor over an isolated bout of vomiting. Similarly for canines, if your dog vomits once and then resumes back to its normal activity then there is no need to go the vet. In this case, chances are that it happened because of minor accidents like ingesting any foreign particle that is not meant to be.
Immediately go to the veterinarian if your dog vomits more than once a day or if the vomiting persists for more than a day. Also, you need to go to the vet if you observe these symptoms in your dog:
- Dog throwing up blood; if blood appears in the vomit then it is because of some serious issue
- Blood in stool
- If dehydration is caused because of vomiting or if the dog is vomiting all of its water intakes
- Dog appears weak or lethargic after vomiting
- If you get to know somehow that dog has ingested any poisonous or toxic material
- Foreign body in the stomach
- Dog is trying to vomit but not able to throw up anything
- Change in thirst
- Loses appetite after vomiting
- Change in frequency of urination
- Your dog has a temperature
- Your canine is experiencing a seizure
- Abdominal pain
You should also consider going to the veterinarian if your canine is suffering from the following disease(s):
- Disease of the inner ear
- Addison’s disease
- Stomach ulcer Parasites
- Liver or kidney failure
Treatment For Dog Vomiting
Treatment for vomiting in dogs largely depends on the underlying cause of why a dog is vomiting. For vomiting caused by inflammation of the stomach or intestines common treatments include feeding a bland diet. In addition to that, you can also give anti-nauseatic medications to your pooch.
Severe conditions or chronic vomiting require more intensive therapy such as injectable medication, fluids, and hospitalization. In rare cases, surgery may also be required. It is always recommended to follow veterinarians’ instructions to prevent any mishaps.
Home Remedies For Dog Vomiting
While we often think of dogs as pets who can gobble up our leftovers with no problem, they do have sensitive stomachs. Targeting the cause of your dog’s vomiting can be tricky as it can range from eating too much or too fast to some other serious problem.
Whatever the cause may be, the home remedies will certainly help your canines and give them relief from the slight symptoms of dog vomiting. However, consider the home remedies only if the conditions are very mild and if the conditions seem to be worsening the immediately pay a visit to the veterinarian.
Keep them hydrated
If your dog is vomiting, you need to make sure he is not becoming dehydrated. Small dogs and puppies tend to become dehydrated more quickly than larger ones. See your vet immediately if your dog doesn’t pass these hydration tests! Check for skin elasticity-Gently lift the skin on the back or between shoulder blades in a tent using two fingers. If the skin snaps back quickly into position, good. If it delays, or worse, stays lifted, then the dog needs fluids from the vet.
Dehydration can cause nausea and dizziness and nausea may lead to vomiting. This makes the condition even worse, as vomiting makes canines lose even more water.
- Check the gums: Run your finger over your dog’s gums and check for sliminess. Dry or tacky gums are a warning sign of dehydration.
- Check the dog’s gum capillary refill time: Press on your dog’s gums with your finger-tip until the area becomes white, then remove your finger and count how long it takes for the gum’s surface to return to its normal pink color. Generally, normal refill time is less than two seconds.
Dogs need water to stay hydrated but often, gulping lots of water at once may cause further upset, leading to more vomit. To prevent your dog from consuming water too quickly, you can offer him ice chips instead—at least until he feels better.
Fast your dog
Pack away any food he may have out and don’t feed him anything (including treats!) for at least 12-24 hours. Puppies and small dogs should not fast for more than 12 hours—usually, the whole night will suffice. If you own a small dog or young puppy, and you want to fast him 12 hours, rubbing a little bit of pancake syrup on his gums may help keep his energy level up and prevent his glucose levels from dropping.
After 12-24 hours fast, feed a bland diet
The boiled chicken should have bones and skin removed. Do not add any oils, fats or spices to the bland diet! Offer the bland diet in three or four small meals throughout the day for a few days until your dog is feeling better! After that, re-introduce your dog’s regular diet by gradually mixing it into the bland diet a little bit at a time.
Now that dehydration has been checked for, fasting was implemented, and a bland diet has been offered, monitor your dog to make sure he has no more vomiting episodes and his stools are better formed. Hopefully, your pup will be soon back to his normal self!
Natural Remedies For Dog Vomiting
You can consult a holistic veterinarian if you want to try natural remedies. Natural remedies if given in a proper amount can be beneficial but it can be detrimental to give your dog the wrong amount:
Each probiotic contain one or different types of bacteria or yeast that are beneficial in many ways. Generally, dairy products are not advised for most of the dogs due to lactose intolerance as it may cause an upset stomach.
Electrolytes will not stop your pup from vomiting but it’ll help them to improve their condition and suffice the necessity of water in their body. The best way to electrolyte and keep your pup hydrated is by feeding the coconut water.
Enzymes are required for the digestion of food in animals. There are some enzymes that are naturally produced, while some enzymes need to be supplied with their diet. So consider feeding your pup with the food items that have natural digestive enzymes to help him tackle the upset stomach or diarrhea that might have caused vomiting.
The most common herb that is found in every household to prevent nausea and vomiting is ginger. The antiemetic properties of ginger come from the presence of 5-HT3 antagonists gingerols, shogaols, and galanolactone. It also provides relief or prevention of gastric dilatation and volvulus.
Many herbs that have antispasmodic properties also ease the after-effects of nausea and vomiting. Few of the other herbs to calm down the stomach of your pup are chamomile, catnip, slippery elm bark, fennel, peppermint.
If your pooch is feeling nauseatic due to motion sickness then you can put lavender oil on a cotton ball and leave it in the area where your pet is present so that you can breathe the scent. However, do not put it at any place where it could be easily accessible to your dog as ingesting it might not be good from him.
Another natural remedy, for canines suffering from nausea or vomiting due to motion sickness by traveling in a car, The Indian cockles are very effective in treating as well as preventing dog vomiting if you give this prior to starting the trip.
Tips To Prevent Vomiting In Dogs
We all know that vomiting can be a bad experience for dogs, so what if we could avoid it? Here we have mentioned some precautions that you can take to prevent vomiting in dogs:
- Kerosene, gasoline, Mothballs, etc are very toxic, so always keep these toxic materials away from your pooch as ingesting them may cause vomiting in dogs. Also, avoid feeding foods like avocados, chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes, and alcohol with high toxicity value.
- Discard broken chew toys otherwise, your pooch may end up ingesting the broken parts that may cause vomiting.
- Always serve fresh and the best dog foods of high-quality to avoid any digestion related issues in dogs that might cause vomiting in them.
- Watch out your dog while eating and if he has a habit of eating too fast then stop him from doing that. You can also use a slow feeder for the same.
- If you have prior experience of your dog vomiting after or while traveling in the car then your dog has motion sickness. In this case, you should not feed your pooch immediately before taking him on a tour.
- Don’t let your dogs scavenge. Gastroenteritis caused by consuming scavenged items which is often referred to as garbage gut increases the risk of foreign body ingestion and toxic exposure.
- Avoid sudden change in your dog’s diet, if you happen to change your dog’s diet then do it on a gradual approach.
- Don’t feed any food to which your dog is allergic to. Also, as canines grow older they develop intolerance towards lactose, so avoiding feeding them the dairy products can also prevent vomiting causing due to that reason.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is vomiting different from regurgitation and expectoration?
Causes of regurgitation and expectoration are often quite different than the causes of vomiting. Regurgitated material may be coated in saliva and mucus; expectoration usually brings up foam or mucus. If you think your dog is experiencing either, a checkup can help determine what’s behind it.
Why is my dog throwing up yellow?
The yellow color in the liquid dog vomit is due to the bile present in the stomach due to the reflux from the intestine. Usually, yellow color in vomit is a sign of a completely different medical issue that has no connection to food being consumed. Also, the yellow vomit occurs after a few hours of having a meal and does not contain any parts of digested or undigested food.
Should I feed my dog after he vomits?
Eating any food right after vomiting should be avoided for both, humans as well as canines. So it is best to avoid feeding your pup for a few hours (6 hours at least) and observe him. While you withhold food, don’t withhold water, you can also use ice chips to keep your pup hydrated and prevent your dog from consuming water too quickly.
However, if your pup acts completely normal after vomiting one time, then you can resume normal feeding routine within 6 to 12 hours.
What to give a dog for an upset stomach and vomiting?
The best thing that you can do with your pup, with an upset stomach or of he is vomiting, is treating him like a baby. Feed him with homemade bland diets like boiled potatoes, rice, and well-cooked skinless & boneless chicken. If the condition seems to be severe, then it is recommended to keep your pup on fast initially for a few hours, but make sure that you keep him hydrated.
In severe conditions, the veterinarian may suggest a change in diet, fluid therapy, antibiotics, antiemetics(to control vomiting), other medications with injectable medications, or even hospitalization.
The Final Note
Due to the fact that there are so many reasons why dog vomiting is caused, there’s a variety of treatments including home remedies or the ones that your veterinarian may administer. In most cases, vomiting is caused by ingesting the wrong food that is not easy to digest and may cause inflammation of the stomach. The best treatment for this includes keeping your pup hydrated and feeding a bland diet after a few hours.
If the condition does not seem to be normal or if your pup seems to be vomiting frequently, then it is best advised to consult a veterinarian before the condition worsens. Your veterinarian, in addition to the bland diet, may prescribe a gastrointestinal diet with antiemetics or other medications. If your dog is dehydrated, then the vet may administer intravenous fluids. If the conditions are extremely serious they may need surgery and hospitalization.