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Vomiting In Dogs: Why It Happens & When To Be Concerned

Vomiting In Dogs: Why It Happens & When To Be Concerned

There are many reasons a dog may vomit that range from simple stomach upset to severe health complications. Today, our Capitola vets discuss vomiting in dogs and when it should be cause for concern. 

Reasons Why Dogs Vomit

Vomiting is a common sign of an irritated stomach, inflamed intestines, or gastrointestinal upset in dogs. Although vomiting is not pleasant for the dog or the pet parent, it's your pup’s way of emptying their stomach of indigestible material to prevent it from remaining in their system, or from reaching other areas of their body.

Vomiting vs. Regurgitation

Regurgitation is when your dog appears to "burp" up undigested food, this is a passive process where food is expelled, typically from their esophagus. This often happens because a dog ate or drank too quickly. Vomiting is a dynamic process, with the dog actively using its stomach muscles. The material produced by vomiting will look digested.

Causes of Vomiting in Dogs

There are many reasons why your dog might vomit, and sometimes healthy dogs will fall ill for no apparent reason and then quickly recover. 

Perhaps your pooch dined on too much grass or ate something their stomach simply doesn't agree with. This type of vomiting is often a one-time occurrence that is not accompanied by other symptoms and is generally not a reason for concern. 

That said, potential causes of sudden or severe vomiting can be related to diseases, disorders, or health complications such as:

  • Heatstroke
  • Ingestion of poisons or toxins
  • Bloat
  • Reaction to medication
  • Viral infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Pancreatitis
  • Change in diet

When To Worry About Vomiting in Dogs

In some cases, vomiting can indicate a serious veterinary emergency. If your dog displays any of the following symptoms bring them to the nearest animal emergency clinic right away:

  • Vomiting in conjunction with other symptoms such as lethargy, weight loss, fever, anemia, etc.
  • Suspected ingestion of a foreign body (such as food, objects, children’s toy, etc.)
  • Vomiting a lot at one time
  • Vomiting with nothing coming up
  • Vomiting blood
  • Chronic vomiting
  • Continuous vomiting
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Seizures

Chronic Vomiting

If your dog has been vomiting frequently or it has become a long-term or chronic issue, this is also a cause for concern, especially if you've noticed any additional symptoms such as abdominal pain, lethargy, weakness, or weight loss. 

If your dog is having frequent bouts of vomiting it is always best to have them checked out by a veterinary professional to find the underlying cause that is making them ill. 

Long term, recurrent vomiting can be related to:

  • Cancer
  • Liver or kidney failure
  • Uterine infection
  • Constipation
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Colitis

Inducing Vomiting in Dogs

If you know your pup has ingested something they shouldn't have, you may find yourself searching "how to induce vomiting in dogs" in hopes that you can get your pup to eject whatever it is they ate. However, it should be noted that inducing vomiting at home is not advised except under extreme circumstances. 

Before attempting to induce vomiting at home you should always call your primary or emergency vet or a veterinary poison control center for advice. They will be able to advise if it is necessary to induce vomiting and guide you through the process. 

Though vomiting can safely bring most toxins up, a few will cause more damage by passing through the esophagus a second time. These include bleach, cleaning products, other caustic chemicals, and petroleum-based products.

Deciding whether your pup should be induced at home depends on what and how much your dog has consumed, and how much time has passed - there's a chance that the substance or amount consumed wasn't toxic, or that it has already moved past their stomach and into other parts of their body. In either case, vomiting would not be a helpful solution. 

The only safe at-home substance that can be used to induce vomiting in dogs is 3% hydrogen peroxide. Use a turkey baster or feeding syringe to squirt the suggested dose of 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide per 5 pounds of the dog’s body weight by mouth, with a maximum dose of 3 tablespoons for dogs who weigh more than 45 pounds. Always speak with a vet before attempting this procedure and never attempt to induce vomiting if it has been more than 2 hours since your pup ingested the harmful substance. 

You should also be careful to not let your dog inhale the solution as it can enter the lungs and cause asphyxiation. 

If your dog has a pre-existing health condition or there are other symptoms, inducing vomiting may result in other health risks. If induced vomiting is necessary, having a qualified veterinarian induce vomiting in-clinic is preferable. 

When Not to Induce Vomiting

Vomiting should never be induced in a dog that is:

  • Having a seizure or recently had a seizure
  • Lethargic
  • Unresponsive or unconscious
  • Already vomiting

Hydrogen peroxide should not be used to induce vomiting in cats, as it is too irritating to kitties' stomachs and can cause issues with the esophagus.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog experiences chronic vomiting they could be suffering from an underlying health issue. Contact our Capitola vets to book an appointment for your pup today. 

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