Why Is My Dog Vomiting?

Updated on September 23, 2016
A vomiting dog often seeks grass to help them vomit.
A vomiting dog often seeks grass to help them vomit. | Source

Why Is My Dog Vomiting?

Is your dog vomiting? If so, you may be wondering what is causing him to be sick. Unfortunately, there are several causes for this and it is very difficult to auto-diagnose a dog without running a variety of extensive tests by your veterinarian. Did you know that vomiting is one of the most common causes dogs see a vet? Having worked for a veterinarian hospital, indeed, I have seen my fair share of vomiting dogs!

Often, in the case of mild vomiting without any other troublesome signs, it was simply much easier to simply treat the issue rather than running a multitude of expensive tests. Vets, therefore, often recommended fasting and a mild diet and asked for the owner to observe the dog carefully for the following days. Often, the vet also prescribed some medications to calm down the inflamed stomach. All that was often done, test-wise was checking the dog's vitals, body temperature, hydration levels and over all condition, and running a fecal test.

More often than not, the dogs recovered nicely. If the dog, however, was not getting better or presented other worrisome symptoms, a battery of tests were run to see what was going on. If your dog is vomiting, more often than not, it may be just an irritated stomach, but because there also some serious life-threatening disorders which cause vomiting as well, you should never take a vomiting dog for granted.

A first step to determine what may be causing dog vomiting is to check your dog's behavior before vomiting and inspecting the vomit. Both tasks, are not really pleasant, but they can give you an idea of what is going on and can help your vet in his diagnosis. It is important to distinguish real vomiting from regurgitation. The two are like comparing apples to oranges.

Your dog is generally vomiting if:

  • He appears to be anxious before vomiting
  • He is drooling, which is a sign of nausea
  • He is licking his lips and swallowing frequently
  • He tries to eat grass or carpet
  • He has strong stomach contractions
  • He starts to retch
  • He expels liquid or semi-liquid digested material or yellow/brown bile
  • He may continue to retch or dry heave for a bit. He may also appear to be sick and may lose his appetite for some time.

Your dog is generally regurgitating if:

  • He appears rather calm
  • He regurgitates with little or no warning signs
  • He regurgitates quite passively, there are no stomach contractions and no retching takes place
  • He regurgitates food which is not digested and often appears slimy and still whole. Because the food has not yet reached the stomach, but has only been in the esophagus, it is often of a tubular shape.
  • He feels fine right after regurgitating and resumes normal activities.

Causes of Vomiting in Dogs

Now that you have ascertained that you are truly dealing with a vomiting dog, you may be wondering what could be causing dog vomiting in the first place. As mentioned, there are various possibilities. The following questions may help sort through the plethora of dog vomiting causes, both serious and less serious. Obviously, this list should not be used as a substitute for veterinary advice, it is just a guide! See your vet if your dog is vomiting and see the disclaimer at the bottom of the page.

  • Is your dog prone to being motion sick? If your dog vomits on car rides consider this as a possibility!
  • Did your dog raid through the trash and did he find some bones or anything he could have swallowed such as corn cobs, plastic bottle caps or tampons? If your dog has a Hoover reputation, there are chances for an intestinal blockage which may cause vomiting and requires a prompt vet visit.
  • Did you feed your dog fatty meals such as bacon, fat meat or the oil drippings from the pan? Fatty foods may cause a bout of pancreatitis with vomiting. Your dog will need to see the vet as this can get troublesome.
  • Is your dog stressed/excited/hyper? Did you feed him when he was worried, too excited? Did he eat too fast? Stress and other strong emotions may cause digestive problems in dogs.
  • Did your dog have a fecal test run this year? If not, your dog may have worms. In puppies, are potbelly may be indicative of roundworms. Worms are not the only pesky parasites to cause vomiting though, protozoans such as coccidia and giardia may cause vomiting too! Bring a stool sample to your vet!
  • Did you feed a new food recently? Many dog owners forget to switch a dog over to a new food over the course of 7 days. Most bags of food suggest this in their labeling.
  • Does your dog have a sensitive stomach? Some dogs develop allergies and food intolerance and may need to be fed a sensitive stomach diet or a hypo-allergenic prescription diet.
  • Have you been giving your dog any medications? Some meds cause vomiting as a side effect. Read the labeling carefully and consult with the vet.
  • Is your dog a young puppy? Young puppies may develop parvo, a potentially life threatening condition. Puppies dehydrate quickly and need to see a vet so to rule out this dangerous disease.
  • Is your dog suffering from a systemic disease? Liver and kidney problems and even diabetes or cancer may cause vomiting; another good reason to see your vet!
  • Has your dog been left alone for most of the day? Could he have eaten something poisonous or toxic? If in doubt, see the vet!
  • Is your dog restless and repeatedly retching without bringing anything up? If so, see your vet immediately, as this can be a sign of bloat, a medical emergency!

These are just a few of the many causes of vomiting.

When to Be Concerned and See the Vet

Generally, just an isolated event of vomiting should not be terribly worrisome. It happens at times. Dogs have a strong vomiting center which comes from their nature of being scavengers. Keeping an eye on the dog for the rest of the day may be all that is needed. Yet, there are times when you may want to see your vet. Generally, you should be concerned and see the vet the same day or immediately, should your dog:

  • The vomiting was not an isolated event; rather, your dog keeps vomiting
  • Your dog's vomiting is persistent severe, projectile and does not stop.
  • Your dog is unable to keep food or water down
  • Vomit contains bright red blood (fresh blood)
  • Vomit contains material that looks like coffee grounds (digested blood)
  • Your dog is lethargic, doesn't want to play, sleeps for most of the day, has lost his appetite and is not himself.
  • You have a small puppy or a toy breed dog. Smaller dogs tend to dehydrate fairly quickly and get low blood sugar and puppies are prone to parvo. Rub some pancake syrup on your dog's gums and see the vet!
  • Your dog's stomach appears bloated and your dog attempts to vomit
  • The vomiting is accompanied by diarrhea

If your dog's vomiting is self-limited and you recently changed his food or he has been subjected to a dietary indiscretion, you can try some vet-approved dog upset stomach home remedies. However, if you are in doubt on what may be causing the vomiting, take the better safe than sorry approach and have your vomiting dog see the vet the same day!

Disclaimer: if you have a vomiting dog, please see your vet. This guide on dog vomiting is for reference only and should not be used as a substitute for veterinary advice. There are many causes of vomiting in dogs and some can be serious and life threatening. By reading this article on dog vomiting you accept this disclaimer.

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Adrienne Janet Farricelli

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • alexadry profile image
        Author

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 14 months ago from USA

        Andrew, good luck with the later meals, some dogs with bilious vomiting syndrome also feel better with anti-acids your vet can prescribe.

      • profile image

        Andrew 14 months ago

        I have a 6 months old kelpie who regularly vomits about 4 am .

        Had all the vet checks (blood test, x-rays) at a cost of 700 Australian dollars all tests seem to be ok.

        She was being fed a good quality dog biscuits and barf.

        Changed her diet to raw food (meaty bones) and all the rest.

        Also on the biscuit diet she would have a frenzy bout of eating grass,and a lot of the time she brought up just grass and bile.

        So anyway what I'm going to try is giving her some food later as suggested. As she gets her last meal about 5.30 pm.

      • Jenna Pope profile image

        Jenna Pope 5 years ago from Southern California

        This is a very good, complete article. I am bookmarking it for future reference. Voted up.

      • Ruby H Rose profile image

        Maree Michael Martin 5 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

        Very helpful hub! Helps me not to worry about my beloved dog.

      • wetnosedogs profile image

        wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama

        Great information here. Thankfully my dogs are o.k., but this is something to read for a reference if ever needed.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)