Vomiting In Dogs
If there is one thing is this world that grosses me out the most, its vomit. Whether it’s a baby’s, a ca’s’, a dog’s, or my own…I cannot stand it! And I’m sure most of you can’t either. I even know people who have a phobia of throw up and when they are around it they have a full on panic attack. As pet owners sometimes we have to suck it up a and clean up after our dogs when they aren’t feeling well. I know no one wants to do it, but we took that responsibility when we made the decision to own a dog.
If you have been around dog’s for any amount of time it may seem that they vomit much more than we do. This is a true. Due to dogs’ defense mechanism against his scavenger nature, they have a very well developed vomiting center in their brains. This allows them to throw up easier and more often than most other animals. Vomiting acts as a good determiner. When a dog sees something he will eat it to determine if it is edible or not. If it is not his body will let him know and get rid of it the same way it came in. Vomiting can also be a sign of disease. Issues with vomiting range from not serious to life threatening. Lets learn some facts about Fido as he vomits.
Vomit of Regurgitation?
A dog can throw up in two different ways: vomiting or regurgitating. Regurgitation happens when the food does not actually reach the stomach. Food will stay in the esophagus because it will not go down or it is blocked, it will accumulate here until it overloads. It will then come up and out of the mouth appearing tubular and undigested. I have never seen this happen but the though a tubular block of undigested food coming out of my dog’s mouth is a horrible mental image. On the other hand if the food actually makes it to the stomach it must be forcefully expelled. If that definition “forcefully expelled” doesn’t make you cringe, then you have a strong stomach. As for me, I had trouble just typing it out twice. Just like you know that feeling when you are about to throw up, your dog will also show some signs. He may become anxious, seeking attention or reassurance. Or he will drool and swallow excessively.
Why Do Dogs Vomit?
Just like us if we eat something bad our stomach will get rid of it. If a dog eats something indigestible his stomach will deny it. You know the old rule “ on’t swim until 30 minutes after you eat so your food can digest” that no one ever obeyed as a kid? There are self-inflicting things a dog can do to cause vomiting. Some other causes of throwing up are overeating, eating too fast, too much exercise immediately after eating, motion sickness, stress, or a case of worms. All of the issues are simply an upset stomach and are not serious or life threatening unless the situation is out of control.
Vomiting, as in humans, is also a sign of serious illnesses. Here is a list of some health issues in dogs that cause vomiting: kidney or liver failure, enterocolitis, parvovirus, distemper, pancreatitis cancer, peritonitis, diabetes, acute gastritis, intestinal obstruction, food allergies, poisoning, or other illnesses.
You will sometimes see your dog throw up a foamy, yellowish substance. This could mean your dog is over excited from playing too much and may need a time out with a bowl of water and a handful of food to calm him down. But if it persists it could mean a stomach like acute gastritis. Other issues such as pancreatitis, peritonitis, or an intestinal obstruction could be the cause of this type of vomit as well.
If you ever see your dog going through all of the motions of vomiting but not actually releasing any substances it could be the sign of a fatal issue. Bloat, or gastric dialation and volvulus (GDV), is the condition in which a dog’s stomach twists inside of him. This is painful and a serious condition that must be consulted by your vet.
Signs of Vomiting in Dogs
If your dog is quite healthy and throws up occasionally, I wouldn’t worry too much about it considering it is a normal phenomenon in the life of a dog. Check for these signs of serious problems and if they are prevalent, take your furry friend to the vet immediately.
– Vomiting multiple times in a day
– Continuing to vomit the following day
– Projectile vomiting
– Vomit with bright red blood or partially digested blood (it will look like coffee grounds)
– Vomiting even after not eating for hours
– Bloating in the abdominal area
Older dogs, puppies, or dogs with other health issues can be more affected my vomiting. These dogs need to be kept under close watch when the issue arises and taken to the vet if it continues.
Diagnosing the problem
Diagnosing the problem can sometimes be very difficult. There are many different variables in a dogs’ life and multiple things that can cause problems. In order to help your vet figure out the puzzle pay close attention to the variables. How often does he throw up? Does he have a change of appetite? Is there any pattern to his problem? Has he lost weight? Is it after eating? Just pay close attention to your dog and take note of all you can to help out the vet. Your vet may have to do diagnostic tests to find the cause of the problem. Some of these include blood work, x-rays, or exploratory surgery.
Treating Vomiting In Dogs
When you throw up you want to cure the problem as fast as possible. You want to help your pet do the same thing, because I promise you he isn’t enjoying barfing all day long. If you have a healthy dog and he throws up once, just withhold him of food and water for the rest of the day to up to 12 hours to allow his stomach to rest. Then give him a couple ice cubes and a small amount of water to see if his stomach can handle it. If he is okay with the water, offer him a small amount of bland food. Boiled chicken breast or rice will do the trick. Keep offering small amounts every couple of hours to see if he can hold the food down. If so, slowly get him back on his regular diet. If he throws up again take him to the vet. Follow his recommendations for what is best for you dog, as he knows how to better treat vomiting in dogs. They may include a diet change, antibiotics, and/or antiemetics. Helping your dog feel better is the ultimate goal and he will definitely thank you for it.