There are many reasons a dog may vomit that range from simple stomach upset to severe health complications. Today, our Douglasville vets discuss vomiting in dogs and when it should be cause for concern.
Reasons Why Dogs Vomit
Dogs who vomit frequently have an upset stomach, inflamed intestines, or other gastrointestinal issues. Vomiting is your dog's way of clearing their stomach of indigestible material to stop it from staying in their system or from reaching other parts of their body, even though it is unpleasant for the dog and the pet parent.
Vomiting vs. Regurgitation
Regurgitation occurs when food is passively expelled from your dog's esophagus, giving the impression that they are "burping" up undigested food. Often, this occurs as a result of a dog eating or drinking too quickly. The dog's stomach muscles are actively used during the dynamic process of vomiting. Vomiting will cause material to appear 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.
It's possible that your dog overate on grass or that they just didn't agree with what they ate. Typically not a cause for concern, this kind of vomiting is frequently an isolated incident that does not come with any other symptoms.
That said, potential causes of sudden or severe vomiting can be related to diseases, disorders, or health complications such as:
- Ingestion of poisons or toxins
- Reaction to medication
- Viral infection
- Bacterial infection
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- 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
If your dog has been vomiting frequently or if it has become a long-term or chronic problem, you should be concerned, especially if you've noticed any other 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:
- Liver or kidney failure
- Uterine infection
- Intestinal obstruction
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 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide per 5 pounds of dog body weight by mouth, with a maximum dose of 3 tablespoons for dogs weighing more than 45 pounds. Always consult a veterinarian 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
- 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.