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4 Things to Do If Your Dog Is Vomiting

Updated on July 20, 2017
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a small animal veterinarian. He works mostly with dogs and exotic animals.


If your dog vomits just once, do not worry. Sometimes a dog will just eat fast, at other times a dog might have an upset tummy after eating something strange when “dumpster-diving”. What do you need to do if your dog starts vomiting several times?

1. Take away your dog´s food so that his stomach can rest. There is some controversy about this but a healthy dog can easily go without food for 24 hours. Some say up to 48 hours is fine.

If you feel better about taking him to the vet right away, that is certainly okay. The exam or lab work might reveal an abnormality that can be treated right away.

2. Make sure he is not drinking and filling up on water; if he is drinking he is not fasting. Be sure to close the bathroom door and put the seat down!

If your dog is old, very tiny, or has other health problems, keeping him without water is NOT a good idea. An old dog should be taken to the vet as soon as he starts vomiting.

3. If vomiting stops after a simple fast, he can be put back onto water (you can give him ice cubes to lick and then small amounts of water if he holds them down with no problems) and bland food (white rice with boiled hamburger or chicken breast is a good diet to use when it is time to resume feeding).

If he is holding everything down you should feed him small meals four or five times a day for a few days, then switch back to his regular food slowly.

I do not recommend you give any over-the-counter medications to stop the vomiting. If he needs medication he should be examined before you start.

4. If your dog continues to vomit even on an empty stomach, or starts vomiting again as soon as you begin feeding him, you need to take him to your vet for a physical exam and lab work. Do this as soon as possible since some problems, like bloat, need to be taken care of as soon as possible. If it is not treated the dog will die.

Take some of the dogs vomit (in a small plastic bag) with you if possible and be sure to tell the vet if you have seen any blood or black color in the vomit.

If your dog is vomiting take away his food.
If your dog is vomiting take away his food. | Source
When old dogs start vomiting, they should be examined right away.
When old dogs start vomiting, they should be examined right away. | Source

Why is my dog still vomiting even on an empty stomach?

1. Poisoning: Some poisons will cause vomiting. They need to be treated right away.

2. Bloat: If the dog´s stomach is swollen and filled with gas, it will become extremely painful. The dog will try to vomit but nothing will come out. If your dog is trying to vomit but nothing is coming out get him to his vet.

3. Stomach ulcers or cancer: Your dog might be vomiting up fresh blood (red) or digested blood (black).If you notice “coffee grounds” in your dog´s vomit that is a sign that she is bleeding a lot. You need to find out why.

4. Blocked intestine: Your dog can have a blockage from eating something (like a rubber ball) or might even be blocked by a piece of his own intestine (intussusception). Your vet will have to take x-rays to find this out.

5. Infection: Parvovirus is the most common, but several other types of infection will cause a dog to vomit. If he continues to vomit and you do not get help, he will become even sicker and die.

Sushi is not a normal diet for a dog.
Sushi is not a normal diet for a dog.
Some vomiting dogs will need x-rays.
Some vomiting dogs will need x-rays. | Source

What kinds of problems might show up on the exam?

1. Pancreatitis: Your dog will have a painful belly and will be obese or probably at least have a history of eating fatty garbage. Besides the blood work, your vet will recommend x-rays to check the pancreas.

2. Kidney disease: If your dog took in poison or is old and suffering from kidney failure, he will start vomiting because the toxins in his body are making him sick. Your vet can find this out with a lab test.

3. Liver failure: There will probably be a lot of signs besides vomiting. Your dog´s gums will be pale, and then yellow, her belly might be swollen, and she might even have seizures. If you notice these symptoms, as well as the vomiting, you need to take your dog to the vet for an exam and lab work.

4. Diabetes: Your dog can develop diabetes for several reasons, and one of them is pancreatitis that happens over and over, destroying the pancreas over time. His pancreas is no longer able to produce insulin, he can develop a condition called ketoacidosis, and will start vomiting as a result.

5. Ruptured bladder: Sometimes a dog can have a ruptured bladder after being hit by a car. She would not start vomiting until a few days later, when the toxins were in her bloodstream. Your vet will be able to tell this from the exam, blood work, and x-rays.

6. Pyometra: If you have a female that is not spayed, she will drink a lot of water, will have a discharge from her vagina, and will eventually start vomiting. The vet will notice abnormalities on the exam and the blood work and she will need surgery to save her life.

Fat dogs are more prone to pancreatitis and vomiting may be a serious symptom.
Fat dogs are more prone to pancreatitis and vomiting may be a serious symptom. | Source

What should you do if your dog is vomiting?

See results
When your vomiting dog is depressed, find out what is wrong.
When your vomiting dog is depressed, find out what is wrong. | Source

This article only gives you some things to start thinking about if your dog is vomiting. Yes, it is a lot to think about.

There are a lot of other abnormalities that you might not even notice but your vet will be able to pick up them during a physical exam, so if you are worried about your dog being too old, weak, depressed, or especially if she is vomiting after you stop feeding her, take her in right away.

Vomiting may be nothing to worry about, or it may be a sign of something serious.

Find out.

If your dog is vomiting, a physical exam can help rule out the causes.
If your dog is vomiting, a physical exam can help rule out the causes. | Source


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    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 2 months ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Monica, if this were my do I would not be concerned. Probably just rass. If this continues, however, have the pup looked at.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 2 months ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Lucky, if your do is voimitin blood he needs to be examined by your local vet, yes, it may be serious.

    • profile image

      Monica Ramirez 2 months ago

      My dog is three months, today she threw up green.. it looked like grass or so. This is the first time she ever throws up, she hasnt thrown up since. She is also not eating much. Should i be concerned ?..

    • profile image

      Tina Hartman 3 months ago

      My baby had surgery to remove a tumor 4 weeks ago. Everything checked out fine, however, she was not herself after surgery and began a routine of throwing up foam, once a day and had some diarrhea. Her vet did blood work and an X-ray and all was good! He gave her a shot to stop the vomiting and put her on a steroid. We are down to a half a pill every other day and the throw up has started back again! It is still just foam and not necessarily when she eats! I am worried to death but I don't know what else to do! Suggestions, thoughts?? Please help!

    • profile image

      Stephanie E Bauer 3 months ago

      Have 7 year old poodle that is vomiting bile 2 days ago she had direahea and throw up now stools normal and she throwing up least once a day bile what do you suggest

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 7 months ago from The Beach of Brazil

      JehyemC, if your dog is vomiting that long even with an empty stomach he really needs to be examined by your local veterinarian.

    • profile image

      JehyemC 7 months ago

      My dog is not eating 3 days now and he vomits more than twice a day with an empty stomach. Last week, I introduced him to a new food and I think that was the reason. What should I do? :(

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 13 months ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Clifford--do you mean the mouthful of seaweed? That is my Pitbull.

    • profile image

      Clifford 13 months ago

      What kind of dog is the one that has a lot of seed weed in his mouth?

    • profile image

      Randy Clement 14 months ago

      48 hours ago I treated my dog, a shih-tzu mix, with a weight appropriate dose of pet armor ( fipronil). Now she has started vomiting. what should I do?

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 2 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Hi Allison the most common cause of vomiting this time of year is pancreatitis, which is a life threatening problem, but it is really hard to help him without an exam. Dogs are in a lot of pain, which would explain the whining, so you really should get him to your vet as soon as possible.

      In the meantime, I would take him off of his regular kibble and feed him a very mild food, like rice and hamburger (no spices!) about 4 or 5 times a day, very small meals. You do not mention how big he is, but maybe 1/2 cup is a lot for a dog that size, and small meals are easier on his system. Good luck with him and let me know if I can be of any help.

    • profile image

      Allison 2 years ago

      My dog vomited a little brown foam last week and we ddidn't know why. He only has wellness dry kibble for small dog and some treats in between. We wondered if he ate something strange but the next day he resumed normal activity.

      This week he whines more (he usually doesn't whine unless for bathroom need). When we take him out to play he stops whining. But today he vomited a white foam and didn't want to eat or drink even treats. He was less active than normal although he ate 1/2 cup of dog food at night since I guess he was so hungry. I'm worried and can't take him the vet until 2 days later. Do you have any advice?

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Hello Thelma glad I could help. Take care of Angus! I remember that he is one of those expensive dog breeds, but even those that are not deserve all of our care.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      Thank you DrMark for writing this hub. My dog Angus vomited sometimes and I just caressed his tummy and asked myself what he had eaten. I did not give him food then until the next morning when I thought he was ok. I have given him water though he did not drink it. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and useful;-)

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Yes, I think witholding food is the best first step. It never hurts, and is great for those of us (canine and human) carrying around a few extra pounds. ((I guess it could hurt a 3 pound Yorkie, but wouldn´t hurt most dogs.))

      I just checked the "quiz". Looks like everyone is awake this morning. Glory be to Starbucks.

    • Bob Bamberg profile image

      Bob Bamberg 4 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      Another interesting article, Doc. It prompts a question...if the vomiting episode appears to be just the result of, say, eating grass or being given a piece of chourico or something that just doesn't agree with him, do you still recommend withholding food? Your quizzes are killers, though...I hope you grade on a curve :) Voted up, interesting and useful.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks Kelly, I just read your story of Anakin and Brian and shared it on several sites. I really enjoyed reading about and seeing that unusual pair!

    • KellyG05030 profile image

      Kelly 4 years ago from New England

      Another excellent article, Dr. Mark! Thanks for the info!

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Audrey.

      wetnosedogs, before those bowls were invented we used to suggest people put big rocks in their dog´s bowl--she would have to push them around with her nose when the food was "hiding" so she would be forced to eat slower. Jenny wouldn´t like you for it, of course.

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

      my dogs are doing good but that bowl you have displayed yells Jenny's name! She just gulps down her food. And while dogs could go a day or two without food, oh my dogs, especially Jenny wouldn't want to prove it. LOL.

      Great hub. I didn't realize food should be taken away. Makes sense though.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      Very useful article! Thank you!