Published on April 12th, 2017 | by Debbie Martin1
Vomiting in Dogs – What you should know
When your canine friend retches on the living room rug – you assume that they simply ate something out of the rubbish bin that didn’t agree with them. Most of the time this is the case, but there are some health issues that can cause vomiting in dogs and can be quite serious. Let’s look a little into vomiting in dogs so that we can learn more about the possible risk factors.
Dogs will usually vomit for normal reasons – such as to expel something nasty they ate from their stomach. However, if the vomiting lasts for a long time it can be the sign of a serious condition – such as head trauma, exposure to toxins or gastrointestinal obstruction.
Reasons for Vomiting
Here are some of the reasons why your dog might be being sick:
- They might have eaten some table scraps that are too rich for its stomach, or something disgusting and rotten in the rubbish. Make sure that you keep the lid on your bin secured and that you avoid sharing table scraps with your dog.
- Your dog might be suffering from a food allergy. If this is the situation, your dog will experience chronic vomiting that is often accompanied with weight loss, flatulence and diarrhoea.
- If your dog is taking medications, they might be irritating their stomach lining and prompting them to vomit. If you think this might be the problem you should consult your Vet and stop the medicine promptly.
- Your dog might be suffering from a blockage in their intestinal tract. This can be caused by something that the dog has swallowed, such as a bone or a chew toy. This is a surgical emergency, so if you suspect this is the case you should call your vet right away.
- Vomiting can also be the result of systemic diseases such as kidney failure, pancreatitis, liver disease, prostatis, inner ear infections and cancer.
- Another possibility is that your dog has ingested something toxic, such as a plant, a household solvent or lead.
How Do I Know When it is Serious?
How do you know the difference between a singular episode of vomiting that is no big deal and a serious health issue? In most situations your dog might vomit once or twice and then will be fine. Their energy, appetite and behaviour will return to normal and you can assume that they will be okay. However, if your dog has been vomiting for a prolonged period of time this is something to be concerned about and you should contact your Vet. This is especially true if your dog is very old, very young or otherwise in poor health.
If the vomit looks like coffee grounds or contains blood, this is also a dangerous sign. Your dog might also be suffering from lethargy, diarrhoea and loss of appetite. It is also important to pay attention to whether or not your dog has chronic vomiting that continues on and off for more than two weeks.
If your dog seems like they are trying to vomit but cannot and are acting distressed, restless and agitated – this can be a sign of bloat which is a serious medical emergency. Make sure that you seek veterinary care right away.
Caring for Your Vomiting Dog
If your dog has vomited but is otherwise fine, you can simply treat them at home. First, you should withhold all food and water from the dog for two to four hours after the vomiting episode. If there is no more vomiting during this time you can give your dog a small amount of water. Wait another couple of hours and if they still do not vomit you can give them more water. If this stays down for another two hours, you can try feeding your dog again.
Start to feed the dog something simple and bland that will be easy for them to keep down, such as plain chicken, pasta or rice. Feed them a small amount every few hours and keep a close eye on them. After a while they will be able to eat full portions again. Wait at least 24 hours before getting them back on their regular food.
Bringing Your Dog to the Vet
If you have to bring your dog to the vet for vomiting, make sure that you bring a thorough medical history. Your vet will want to know all of the details, including how long the dog has been vomiting for and how frequently he has been vomiting. Also the vet will want to know what the vomit looks like – does it contain food or is it just clear liquid? Does it contain blood? Has the vomit changed?
Make sure that you also tell your vet about any other signs of illness that your dog might be experiencing, such as lethargy or distress. Also is there anything that your pet could have possibly swallowed – such as a sock or a part of a toy?
Your vet will perform a complete physical examination to gather information, which they will then use to put together a treatment plan. They might need to undergo tests including X-rays, Urinalysis, Bloodwork, Endoscopy and much more. The treatment prescribed by the vet will depend on the situation of the dog and the results of these tests.
If your dog is otherwise alert and normal, they might simply be treated for the vomiting with an injection and sent home. However, if your dog has abdominal pain, a fever, abnormal test results of other serious symptoms they might need to be hospitalized. Get your dog to the vet as soon as possible, so that whatever issue they have can be treated right away.