Home Remedies for Vomiting Dogs
When Should You Consider Home Remedies for a Dog That Is Vomiting?
If your dog is vomiting, the first thing you should do is assess whether this is really something you can take care of at home. There are many causes for vomiting in dogs; some you can treat yourself, but some can be quite serious, requiring a trip to the vet.
If your dog vomited once or twice, but is bright and alert, and you strongly believe the vomiting is due to overeating or an abrupt diet change, then you may try some remedies at home.
However, if your dog is repeatedly vomiting and acting lethargic, and there are other accompanying symptoms such as blood in the dog’s stool, seek your vet's advice immediately.
Conditions That Require Veterinary Attention
Parvo is a potentially deadly disease in puppies, so if your pup has not been vaccinated, or has not yet finished his vaccine series, consider this possibiility. Parvo causes vomiting, bloody diarrhea (often with a foul odor), lethargy, and loss of appetite.
Pancreatis, or inflammation of the pancreas, may occur after eating a fatty meal. Dogs suffering from pancreatitis need to be fasted but also require vet attention.
Gastro-enteris is another worrisome condition in dogs. Affected dogs may have vomiting, bloody diarrhea, loss of appetite, and lethargy. At times, the underlying cause may not be found.
Intestinal blockage can occur if your dog has ingested a bone or a foreign object, such as a sock, a rock, or corn on the cob. Symptoms include vomiting.
Bloat is a sudden distension of the stomach. If your dog tries to vomit, but is unable to, you may suspect bloat, especially if your dog is deep-chested, his abdomen appears swollen, and he appears in distress. While the dog is unable to vomit, he may bring up thick saliva, as seen in the video below.
Poisoning from eating something potentially toxic can certainly cause vomiting.
Kidney or liver disease can cause vomiting.
Behavior of a Dog With Bloat: Emergency Treatment Needed
Less Serious Causes of Vomiting
Then again, dogs may be vomiting because of less serious conditions: parasites, stress, motion sickness, and as mentioned earlier, abrupt diet changes and dietary indiscretions. However, if any worrisome or out-of-the-ordinary symptoms arise along with the vomiting, do not hesitate to have your dog seen by a vet promptly. More likely than not it’s just a minor issue, but sometimes catching a minor issue will keep it from evolving into a more serious and costly issue.
Apparent "Vomiting" That Isn't Due to the Above Causes
- Owners may confuse an infection known as bordetella or kennel cough with vomiting due to the above causes. Dogs with bortedella cough, gag, and bring up mucus or foamy fluids.
- If your dog vomits yellow fluid during the night, it may be caused not by digestive upset, but from being on an empty stomach for too long. The solution to this kind of vomiting is not fasting, but the opposite: feeding a bedtime or early morning snack.
Veterinarian Discusses Causes of Vomiting
How to Help Your Dog Get Through Vomiting Spells
When I worked at an animal hospital, I learned about some home remedies that often give relief to vomiting dogs. While mostly effective, these home remedies may not work for all dogs, and in some instances medical attention is required to solve the problem.
Here are some basic principles for home treatment of vomiting dogs:
- Fast the dog. This will give his gastro-intestinal tract some rest and time to recover. With food out of the way, there should be less vomiting. If the dog vomits yellow bile, it simply means the dog is vomiting on an empty stomach. Usually, a 24-hour fast is necessary for adult dogs while puppies should not be fasted for more than 12 hours.
- Give a bland diet. After the fasting period, when the vomiting should have ceased, take away his normal food and replace with boiled chicken and rice or boiled hamburger and rice. If you use chicken, make sure it is skinless and boneless; if you use burger, make sure the fat is drained off. Either way, rice should make up the bulk of the meal—the meat is just there to make it enticing for the dog. Keep giving this diet until the dog seems to get better. Then, over the next few days, gradually re-introduce his regular food.
- Provide ice chips. If your dog cannot keep water down, take the water away and try to re-offer it later. If you are concerned about dehydration, offer ice chips, which are less likely to trigger more vomiting.
- Invest in electrolytes. If your dog is able to keep liquids down, provide some unflavored Pedialyte or Gatorade to help replenish lost electrolytes. If not, you can freeze one or the other and offer it frozen so that he can lick off a little, but not enough to trigger vomiting.
- Do a hydration check. Try to lift a pinch of skin on the dog's shoulder blade or back into a little tent shape. If the "tent" collapses promptly, the dog is well hydrated. If the "tent" stays up for a few seconds, or longer, the dog needs immediate vet attention, including fluids given under the skin or intravenously. To learn more about dehydration, read this article on upset stomach in dogs.
- Check the gums. Have him seen immediately if his gums turn pale, whitish, grayish, or purple. Normal gums should be a healthy bubble-gum pink. Press your finger on his gum; the finger mark should turn whitish and then pink again. Again, if the gum takes a few seconds to turn back to pink, the dog needs to be seen as soon as possible.
- Magic pink bismuth. Ask your vet if you can try to give over-the-counter Pepto Bismol. If he agrees that it might help, he will give you dosing instructions. As with any medication, there may be side effects. Pepto contains aspirin, so do not give if your dog has an allergy to aspirin. Ask your vet first!
- See a vet. Have the dog seen by a vet if he becomes lethargic; the vomiting continues or returns despite diet change; or other symptoms develop, such as diarrhea, lack of appetite, or fever. The dog may have parasites, gastro-enteritis, pancreatitis, a foreign body that he ingested, parvo, or many other serious conditions that need prompt vet attention.
Disclaimer: This article is not to be used as a diagnostic tool, nor as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your dog is sick, please report to your veterinarian promptly for a hands-on examination.