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If your dog is puking, you are probably very concerned and want to know what to do next. Read the full blog post to understand the causes and preventive measures of the same.
Vomiting is not uncommon in dogs. Some of the reasons behind dog’s vomiting is nothing to worry about. However, if the vomiting is a sign of a serious health problem, you may need immediate veterinary care. Some dogs may vomit from time to time depending on the situation, however, if your dog is big repeatedly vomiting, it deserves your attention.
Your dog’s vomiting can have a look of a clear liquid or it maybe of white, yellow, or brown color. It may or may not be frothy. Read on to find out the potential reasons behind vomiting in dogs and how to prevent the same
In this guide, you will be acquainted with the different kinds of dog vomiting, what are the causes behind them and when should you call your vet.
First, you need to understand, whether your dog is vomiting or regurgitating
The primary thing to keep in mind here is that dogs vomiting and regurgitation art to different things. Vomiting is more of an active process while regurgitation can be considered as a passive process. Vomiting is more concerning than regurgitation. The causes and treatments of both these symptoms are different. Thus, it is very important to understand the difference between the two
Dogs vomit when they throw up all the content from the upper intestine and their stomach. These contents are forcefully ejected out of the system. They can either be accompanied with yellow bile or undigested dog food. The smell is almost always sour.
Vomiting might occur after or before eating. It is usually preceded by symptoms like licking their lips, drooling, and swallowing excessively (signs of nausea).
Some dogs may also tend to eat grass to induce vomiting. Grass can protect the esophagus by covering up sharp objects like bone shards when the vomiting occurs. It’s always a good idea to prevent your dog from eating a ton of grass as grass eaten in a large amount can make the matters worse.
Your dog might also try to eat his or her vomit. This is a dog instinct that is very unappealing to humans but is not a problem for dogs
Try to limit your dog’s water consumption after an instance of vomiting. As vomiting causes dehydration, your dog might ingest a lot of water immediately after vomiting which may induce further vomiting.
Regurgitation is food is thrown out from the esophagus and not from the intestine. In regurgitation, the food is thrown out before it reaches the stomach. The primary difference between regurgitation and vomiting is that regurgitation never involves abdominal heaving. Regurgitation also tends to happen shortly after eating and is induced by either eating too much or eating too fast.
If your dog is under stress or overly excited, this can also lead to regurgitation.
What does your dog’s vomiting look like?
Once you have made sure that your dog is vomiting and not just regurgitating, it is time to identify the vomit by its appearance. The color and looks of the vomit can determine the cause of vomiting in your dog.
White foamy vomit
If your dog vomited a clear liquid that is white and foamy, it can be due to the buildup of stomach acids. The foamy appearance may be due to the vomit coming into contact with air or being sloshed around in the stomach before it is thrown out.
Clear liquid vomit
If the vomit looks like it is a clear liquid, it may have been caused by water pooling in the stomach or stomach secretions. This most often happens when the dog drinks while he or she is feeling nauseous and is unable to keep the water down.
Slimy mucus-like vomit
If your dog vomit looks slimy with mucus and your dog has been drooling, the drool tends to pool in your dog’s stomach in response to some major irritation. Your dog should feel relieved once they vomit up the mucus.
Yellow vomit mostly occurs when your dog has not eaten anything the whole day. The color is yellow because of the bile secretions. This kind of vomit occurs either in the middle of the night or during the early morning hours. The reason behind this vomit can either be acid reflux, acid buildup, or other conditions that cause nausea in an empty stomach.
Bloody (pink or red) vomit:
If there is blood in your dog’s vomit, the situation must be taken very seriously and you should consult your vet immediately. Bleeding can occur due to the presence of a tumor, an ulcer, lack of clotting factor, or eating rat poison. The presence of blood always causes nausea in dogs. If the vomit has a pink tinge and the color does not progress to becoming red, if the vomiting is not profuse or prolonged, then it might not be an urgent situation.
On the other hand, if the vomit has fresh blood or blood clots in it, this might be an indication of bleeding in the upper small intestine or the stomach. Bleeding must never be ignored. Always take this seriously and immediately contact your veterinarian
Brown vomit is most often regurgitated food that never made it to the stomach and just got thrown out of the esophagus. It can also be an indication that the dog ate too quickly, swallow a lot of air, or didn’t you the food.
In the case of brown vomit, it is best to inspect it to determine the nature of the contents. Blood may also appear brown at times if there is no profuse bleeding. Puppies or dogs who engage in coprophagia also tend to do brown vomit.
Green vomit is most often caused due to eating grass. This can also be due to a contraction in the gallbladder before vomiting if your dog is on an empty stomach resulting in the release of the bile in the stomach.
Grass in vomit
The grass is a very common ingredient in dogs vomit. Dogs tend to eat grass when they have digestive issues. Eating grass causes vomit and the grass also gets released in the vomit. If your dog is eating grass regularly, it can be indicative of a bigger problem. The grass may also contain pesticides and parasites which might not be great for your dog’s health. Check out this blog post to know more about why dogs eat grass.
Reasons behind dogs throwing up
There are many reasons as to why dogs vomit. A few breeds and specific ages make dogs more prone to vomiting behavior. There might also be internal or external causes including the severity, color, or duration of the vomit which can influence how to respond to the vomiting. All these things must be kept in mind when you go to your veterinarian.
Here is a list of possible causes that might cause your dog to suffer through acute (one time) or chronic (recurrent tendency, happens repeatedly over time):
- brain tumor
- diabetes mellitus
- an abrupt change in diet
- Addison’s disease
- drinking contaminated water
- eating poop (coprophagia)
- eating too fast
- food allergies or intolerance
- eating grass
- exercising after eating
- gastritis or an upset stomach from eating spoiled food or garbage
- gastrointestinal ulcers
- gastroenteritis i.e. inflammation of the intestinal tract and stomach
- drug side effects or head trauma
- inflammatory bowel disease
- bacterial or fungal or viral infections
- intestinal obstruction by ingestion of a foreign body
- Parasitic infestation in the intestine
- kidney disease
- middle ear problem
- liver disease
- motion sickness
- side effects of the medication
Remedies to stop your dog from vomiting at home
if your dog is having a mild episode of vomiting, there are a few home remedies that you can try to stop the vomiting. However, before using any of these treatment methods, be sure to discuss them with your veterinarian.
This is not a proper treatment in the case of dogs. The primary concern in the case of Pepto-Bismol is that it possesses salicylic acid which is a primary ingredient of aspirin. This drug must be used with caution especially if your dog takes anti-inflammatory medicine or steroids as the combination of these two medicines can cause gastrointestinal tract bleeding.
Famotidine or Pepcid AC:
These two are safer options compared to Pepto-Bismol. These can be used to reduce acid reflux and acid production. These can often help to settle your dog’s stomach.
Treatment of dog vomiting at the vet’s office
In the vet’s office, to reduce or stop vomiting, the primary treatment used is injection. This is the safest and most reliable way to get the medicine quickly into the dog’s system and to prevent him or her from vomiting again. In case a pill is used to stop the vomit, there is a high chance that the pill will be thrown out when your dog vomits again.
Medications used to stop nausea and vomiting
Cerenia (maropitant citrate) is the drug of choice to reduce and stop vomiting in dogs at a vet clinic. It generally acts on the trigger zone in the dog brain disrupting nausea and acts on receptors in the stomach to help settle the stomach. Your vet will most likely start with Cerenia and follow up with anti-vomiting pills every 24 hours for a few days to ensure that the vomiting has been resolved.
Metoclopramide (Reglan) is less widely used compared to megaesophagus but is still used for motility issues in dogs.
Ondansetron (Zofran) is also used as an anti-vomiting pill in hospitals.
Your vet might also recommend a bland diet for your dog for a few days to aid in digestion.
How to prevent vomiting in dogs?
By observing a few precautionary measures, you can keep your dog safe and prevent an unnecessary visit to the vet’s office due to vomiting.
Always avoid changing your dog’s diet suddenly. If there is a need to change your dog’s diet, do it gradually. Sudden dietary changes have always been observed to cause intestinal upset in dogs.
NEVER give your dog toys that can be chewed up and swallowed. The pieces of such toys can get accumulated in the intestinal tract and lead to obstruction. You are the best judge of your dog’s tendencies and temperament. So if your dog is a heavy chewer or plays very aggressively with his or her toys, then you should opt for homemade dog toys for your dog.
Never give your dog bones to chew on. Bones have been routinely implicated in case of vomiting episodes.
Avoid giving your dogs scraps from the table. Some common human foods have been observed to be downright dangerous to your dogs like garlic, onions, xylitol, chocolate, reasons, grapes, chives etc. Depending on the breed and the background, some dogs may show more sensitivity to these human foods than others. So it is best to avoid giving your dog any scrap from the table.
Do not let your dog access garbage cans. If you’re on a walk, make sure your dog is on a leash and is unable to access road cited trash cans. The gastroenteritis which is caused by consuming cabbage items from the garbage cans is referred to as a garbage gut by veterinarians. The scavenging behavior of dogs also increases the risk of toxin exposure and foreign body digestion.
If your dog is over-inquisitive, you need to carefully watch his or her behavior on the walks. You might even want to try out a muzzle if your dog tends to put everything foreign in his or her mouth.
Did you have to ever go through a vomiting episode? If yes, what did you do in such a condition? What was the treatment plan offered by your vet? Please share your stories with us in the comment section. If you want me to feature one of the stories on my blog posts, contact me on one of my social media channels.