Dogs get into all kinds of things. Your dog may find your leather shoes to be a completely appropriate snack. However, his stomach may not. In this case, the stomach will expel the offending material. This will end up with your pup throwing up pieces of your new loafers.
Sometimes, your dog may also vomit after eating too fast. The occasional, isolated bout of vomiting is usually benign. Most of the time there is nothing to worry about. However, if the vomiting persists for more than a few days, or if you notice that your dog is intermittently vomiting more often, contact your vet.
If there are any other concerning symptoms accompanying your dog’s vomiting, do not hesitate to take him directly in for an examination.
What Are Some Causes?
Just as in humans, the reasons for vomiting range from eating something icky, all the way to cancer. The most common reason dogs vomit is because they’ve eaten too much food too fast. This will occur a few minutes after eating and will be not occur again. If your dog has trouble pacing himself at meal times, there are specially-designed food bows that are raised in the center which force your dog to take his time. He can’t just “dig in”. He will have to maneuver around the protruding center in order to get his food.
Another common reason dogs vomit is because they have eaten something they shouldn’t have – an insect, spoiled food, or your shoes, for example. These bouts of vomiting are usually an isolated incident and are nothing to worry about. If you notice that what he has eaten is actually toxic to him, like cleaning agents, chocolate, cigarettes, or other hazardous materials, call your vet immediately. Your vet will be able to assess the situation and advise you what to do next.
Frequent vomiting should not be disregarded. While occasional, isolated vomiting may be normal for dogs, frequent vomiting is not. It’s a sign that there may be some underlying issues that need to be addressed by your veterinarian. Some of the causes of chronic vomiting include:
- Food allergy
- Heartworm infection
- Foreign bodies
- Diaphragmatic hernia
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Intestinal obstruction
- Neurological disorders
- Gastric or intestinal tumors
Aside from possibly being a symptom of a serious underlying issue, chronic vomiting can cause its own problems, such as dehydration. Dehydration is very serious and could lead to death if it remains unrecognized and untreated. If your dog has been vomiting frequently, even if he seems fine otherwise, don’t hesitate to have your vet take a look at him.
For a bout of acute vomiting in which your dog seems to be okay otherwise:
- Try to not give your dog any food for about 12 hours. Give him some ice cubes to lick, or offer him two or three tablespoons of water every half hour. This will allow his irritated tummy to calm down.
- After about 12 hours, try to reintroduce clean, fresh water and see how he does.
- If he does well, reintroduce bland food between 12 and 24 hours after he initially vomited. Two or three tablespoons of plain brown rice and boiled chicken is best.
- If the food agrees with him and he does not vomit, offer him another tablespoon or two of the bland food every hour to two hours.
- If his vomiting stops completely, he can go back to regular food and feeding schedule the next day.
For a bout of severe vomiting that doesn’t seem like the usual, benign type of vomiting, take away all food that available to your dog. Attempt to check him for shock. If he has pale skin or gums, or if he is acting unusual, call your vet. Also, check him for dehydration. If you notice any indication that he may be dehydrated, immediately call your vet.
For dogs with chronic vomiting, your vet will conduct a number of tests to figure out why. The first thing your vet will do is determine whether your dog is actually vomiting or just regurgitating. This means figuring out whether it is a stomach problem or not.
Regurgitation is when matter comes back up without reaching the stomach. A hernia is a possible cause of chronic regurgitation. Other tests your vet may conduct can include a thorough physical examination, and a fecal test to check for intestinal parasites.
Based on the results of the tests coupled with any information you can provide about your dog’s vomiting, your vet will come to a conclusion and diagnose the cause of the vomiting. Depending on the diagnosis, some of the treatments your vet may prescribe include:
- Changing your dog’s food
- Cimetidine, or an antiemetic to control nausea and the vomiting
- Antibiotics if a bacterial ulcer or infection is found
- Corticosteroids if inflammatory bowel disease is present
- Surgery if a tumor is the cause of the vomiting
Prevention and Tips
The best thing you can do for your dog is to be observant. If he vomits one time, and he seems fine otherwise, then it is most likely nothing to worry about. He most likely got into something she shouldn’t have, or ate something his body didn’t approve of. In this case, it’s normal and healthy for the body to rid itself of it.
If his vomiting continues for several days, make sure he gets to a veterinarian. Be prepared to let your vet know how long the vomiting has been going on, what the contents of the vomit look like, how close to eating the vomiting happens, and if there are any other concerning symptoms. Relay your pup’s circumstances to your vet as best as you can. This will greatly help your vet come to a diagnosis and figure out how to best treat your dog. Some key things to look out for are:
- The frequency of vomiting
- Diarrhea or any changes in stool
- A change in appetite and/or water intake
- Signs of dehydration
- Blood in the vomit
- Weight loss