One of the most common issues that arise in veterinary medicine is dealing with a vomiting pet. Like people, dogs can range in stomach sensitivity and can encounter bouts of vomiting for a variety of reasons – some passing without notice, others cause for serious concern. When it comes to how to treat a dog that is vomiting, it’s important to know the reasons behind why a dog might upchuck to begin with. Let’s take a closer look.
The core reason why a dog needs to vomit is to dispel toxins from the body. Even though this core reason seems simple at face value, the cause of the toxicity can range from the simple ingestion of spoiled food to a much more complex (and even life-threatening) internal issue. Depending on the issue, there are different ways to deal with the situation.
A common form of throwing up is not actually vomiting at all. Regurgitation is when a bunch of undigested food in the esophagus is expelled before it reaches the stomach. This usually due to food pieces being too large to enter the stomach and thus need to be expelled.
In most cases, you’ll find that your dog will eat this mucous covered ball of food again. This is a sign you may have to provide smaller bits of food next time. So, the main difference between regurgitation and vomiting is that regurgitation helps to readjust food and vomiting gets rid of toxins. Vomiting will typically arise from the stomach and upper intestines and has a peculiar odor, unlike regurgitation that shouldn’t really have an odor and comes from the esophagus.
Vomitus Eruptus – Dog Vomiting
In contrast to regurgitation, if your dog is bracing on all fours, hacking, and throwing up a yellowish-brown slimy substance, you have a case of dog vomit on your hands. Actual vomit consists of yellowish, slimy bile, some food particles, and a foamy substance coming up from the stomach and upper intestine. This can erupt suddenly and leave, or it can persist for some time. The most common causes of bonafide vomiting are:
Ingesting bad food
Allergies or food sensitivity
Adverse reaction to medications
Physical or emotional stress
If your dog vomits once or twice and everything seems to clear up just fine, you probably don’t have anything much to worry about. Your dog may have ingested a strange substance, and it simply needed to be expelled. If the vomiting lasts for more than 24-hours, however, there could be a more pressing issue at hand, and you should contact your vet immediately.
There are a few other kinds of vomiting that may arise as well. If you notice any of the following causes for vomiting, you can take corrective action.
Water vomiting – Sometimes your dog might drink to much water to fast, or have an excessive amount of moisture in their system, causing them to expel the excess fluid. These are typically one-if events and are of no concern. If this occurs constantly, contact your vet.
Bile vomiting – There is a chance that your dog might occasionally throw up a yellow puddle of bile. This is usually because they don’t have enough food in their stomach and the pancreas and spleen get overstimulated causing indigestion, upset stomach, and vomiting. If this happens often, try feeding just a bit of food before bedtime, or mid-point between meals if it frequently happens during the day.
Emotional vomiting – Nerves can cause a dog to throw up just like anxiety in a person. Keeping your dog calm and collected in situations of heightened stress can help alleviate this. Sometimes probiotics can help with this as it can indicate inflammation in the gut.
Undigested food – Sometimes your dog may not be able to digest their food for one reason or another. This can often be remedied through the use of an enzyme supplement.
Motion sickness – some dogs just don’t like riding in the car or other moving vehicles. Some natural care providers suggest using ginger capsules to settle the stomach. Always talk to your vet before trying natural solutions.
As you can see, when it comes to how to treat a dog that is vomiting, it’s really a matter of observation, care, and a readiness to take action. With so many causes for vomiting, if your pet gets over it quick, just clean up the mess and move on as normal. If the issue persists for longer than an hour (in large breeds. And certainly no more than 24 hours in small dogs) there could be an issue the vet needs to take care of. Reach out to us if you think there is a problem that we need to help you take care of. We are always here to assist you and your pet!