"My dog keeps throwing up" is one of the most common issues dog owners face. While it's usually nothing serious, watchful dog owners need to know how to tell the difference between an upset stomach and something that requires a veterinarian. Below are 4 common reasons why dogs throw up, what to do for each one, and what signs say you should call a vet.
Why Is My Dog Throwing Up?
Cause: Ate Something Bad
Dogs are scavengers by nature. That’s why your dog is ready to chomp down on stuff you don’t even want to step in.
Cure: Keep an eye on your dog. His digestive system uses vomiting as a way to get rid of stuff he shouldn’t have eaten. If your dog is throwing up repeatedly, call your vet.
Cause: Eating Too Fast
Even good food can cause a bad reaction if it’s eaten too fast.
Cure: Force your dog to slow down. Feed him a little at a time by hand, put objects in his bowl he has to eat around, or use a Dog Bowl For Fast Eaters.
Cause: Eating From The Salad Bar
Dogs often eat grass and throw up. It’s not known if they vomit because they shouldn’t eat grass or if they eat grass to soothe an already-upset stomach. Take a moment to read more about - Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
Cure: Watch your dog. If it’s an ongoing problem, consult your veterinarian.
Cause: Car Sickness
Just like people, some dogs are prone to car sickness. Puppies are more likely than adults to experience it.
Cure: There are many things you can do to keep your dog’s stomach from churning in the car. Read these 7 Cures For Canine Car Sickness.
Cause: Reaction to Medication
Some medications can cause a sick feeling in the stomach. Anesthesia commonly takes a day or two to work itself out of the system and causes stomach distress to the dog in recovery.
Cure: Offer your dog foods that are soothing and simple to digest. Ask your veterinarian about any foods they carry that are designed for upset stomachs or dogs recovering from surgery.
Cause: Bad Food
This is different from eating something bad, as mentioned above. This is when they eat something they should, like their regular dog food, but their body rejects it or responds poorly. In recent years, a large number of foods and treats have been recalled for issues like salmonella contamination. Almost all of these recalls included vomiting as a symptom associated with the recall.
Cure: Give your dog something soothing for his stomach; search online to see if your dog's food has been the subject of a recall; and call the manufacturer if the food looks unusual, smells funny, or othewise seems off.
Cause: New Food
Some dogs have particularly sensitive stomachs and have trouble adjusting if their diet changes too quickly.
Cure: Adjust your dog's diet slowly. This means planning ahead and introducing the new food while you still have some of the old food left. The first week, mix a little of the new food in with the old, little enough that your dog is eating mostly his old food. The next week, mix a little more of the new food and a little less of the old food. Continue to adjust the proportions weekly until your dog is completely on the new food. Some experts have specific proportions that they recommend, but each dog is unique. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, start slow and follow his body's needs.
When Should I Call My Vet?
If none of the issues above are the cause, it could be a serious medical issue. Vomiting is a symptom of parasites, bloat, liver issues, heat stroke, cancer, and parvo, to name a few. This is why vomiting should not be ignored.
Call your vet immediately if your dog:
• Appears to be in pain
• Has a swollen abdomen
• Has diarrhea in addition to vomiting
• Has blood in the vomit or diarrhea
• Has a fever
• May have eaten something spoiled, poisonous, or otherwise harmful
• Is lethargic, sluggish, or not acting normally
Believe me, these signs are nothing to ignore. Earlier this year, I called my vet to say “My dog keeps throwing up, has no energy, and her stomach is swollen.” The diagnosis? Liver cirrhosis. The symptoms showed up suddenly and needed immediate attention.
If your dog is stomach sick and you’re worried, take action. It may be nothing, but it may be something. Watch your dog carefully and always consult a veterinarian if you are concerned.
Don't think a vet call is necessary? Use this pet symptom checker to learn more about what your dog may be going through:
Bookmark this page to keep this checker handy for the next time your dog gets sick.
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Photo credit: himmelhoch