Rover doesn’t have the most refined taste, so it’s probably not a surprise when he stuck his nose in the trashcan and scarfed up all the nasty treats he could find. Now you’re dealing with a sick dog, vomiting and probably whimpering after his poor choice of a snack.
Why Your Dog Is Throwing Up
Of course you’ll be concerned when you see your dog throwing up, but vomiting is a natural reaction to something that shouldn’t be in your pooch’s system. It’s normal when dogs throw up after swallowing garbage, table scraps, or prey—or a hair ball, rock, sock, or string. However, there are cases where a dog throws up because it’s a symptoms of poisoning, parasites, food allergies, kidney or thyroid malfunction, or a disease such as distemper, parvovirus, diabetes, or cancer.
Your Dog and Vomiting: When to Worry
If you see your dog or puppy vomiting more than two or three times in 24 hours, has suddenly lost weight, or is lethargic or dehydrated, call the vet ASAP. Report any details that may be helpful. Has the dog’s diet or appetite changed? Could he have gulped down a child’s toy? Was he poisoned by cleaning products accidentally left out? Does he have a fever? Even take a moment to sniff his breath; a urinelike smell could indicate kidney failure or diabetes. Any information you can give the vet will help diagnose and treat a sick dog.
If your dog vomits no more than three times in a 24-hour period, shows no other signs of illness, or has a condition that the vet has already ID’ed and given you the green light to treat, it’s safe to use appropriate home remedies to help your pup feel in the pink again.
Saw the Dog Vomit? Fast after Food
If your pet has vomited a couple of times but still appears alert, without other symptoms, you still should not give him food or water for 24 hours. Withholding nourishment may seem cruel, especially if he’s busting out the begging, but it’s not. It gives your dog’s tummy a chance to rest and return to normal. Still not convinced? Giving your pooch water could make him queasy again, and he might vomit even more fluid, which could lead to dehydration.
When His Belly Calms, Ice Is Nice
After 12 hours of fasting, if your dog seems quiet and comfortable and has stopped vomiting, offer him an ice cube to lick or crunch on. This will help reintroduce fluids to his body without putting too much in his stomach.
Test the Waters by Taking a Sip
If your dog hasn’t thrown up after 24 hours without food, offer him a small amount of water. If he laps it up without vomiting, offer him another small drink an hour or so later. Although he does need fluids, too much water may make him queasy, starting the vomiting process all over again.
Ensure the Dog’s Vomiting Stops: Be Bland
If your pup stops vomiting during the 24-hour fast, it’s okay to start feeding him again. But don’t immediately fill his bowl with the usual grub. Instead, introduce bland foods. Mix together equal parts cooked white rice and cottage cheese, feeding him about one-quarter to one-half cup at regular mealtimes for two or three days. Then start working his normal food back into the routine, continuing the rice-cheese mixture for most meals but replacing one rice-cheese meal with a small helping of his usual food. Continue this pattern for three days. If he’s still holding down food after that, go ahead and give him his regular food again.
Dog Keeps Vomiting? Make the Call
If your dog’s throwing up again once you resume feedings or didn’t stop after the 24-hour fast, call the vet.
Vomiting Dogs Need a Pinch
Regular observation of your dog’s behaviors is crucial, particularly when he’s exhibiting signs of sickness such as vomiting. Vomiting can quickly lead to dehydration in dogs, especially those at the extremes of age – very young or very old – or smaller breeds, due to their limited body reserves.
To ascertain if your dog is dehydrated, you can perform a simple ‘skin elasticity’ test. Gently pinch and pull up a fold of your dog’s skin and then release it. Normally, the skin should snap back quickly into place. If it takes longer and appears to ‘tent’ or retain a folded shape, this may be a sign of significant fluid loss and dehydration.
However, simply offering your dog water may not be sufficient to rectify severe dehydration, as they might not drink enough, or the continuous vomiting might prevent proper absorption. In such cases, it is imperative to seek veterinary care immediately.
Your vet will be equipped to accurately diagnose the severity of your dog’s condition and administer appropriate treatment, which could include intravenous fluids. This method allows for the rapid and efficient replenishment of lost fluids and electrolytes, ensuring your dog’s hydration status is restored, and his health is safeguarded.
Additionally, your vet can also investigate the underlying cause of the vomiting and provide the necessary treatment, if needed. This comprehensive approach helps not only in addressing the immediate symptoms but also in preventing potential recurrent episodes.
Why Dogs Vomit: Yard Looks Yummy
Some dogs develop a habit of chomping on grass and purging it. This isn’t an indication of medical problems, but it isn’t pleasant for either you or your pooch. So if your furry friend has a taste for the green stuff, try to discourage the habit. When you walk your dog, keep moving. Throw your puppy a Frisbee. In other words, distract your pal from the backyard munchies any way you can while he’s outdoors.
Stomach Soother: The Early Bird Special
If your dog keeps throwing up routinely overnight, he may have acid reflux—a condition in which digestive juices back up out of the stomach and into the esophagus. Nothing is medically wrong with him, but the results are messy, inconvenient, and upsetting to both of you. Try feeding him dinner an hour or so earlier in the evening than you usually do—say, at 5:00 p.m. instead of at 6:00. That way, he’ll be able to rid his system of waste before he goes to sleep. And if your dog vomits anyway, at least you’ll be prepared to clean up before you both catch some zzz’s.
Three Meals Are Better Than Two
The frequency and size of your dog’s meals can have a significant impact on the severity of acid reflux symptoms. If adjusting the timing of meals isn’t proving effective in managing your dog’s acid reflux, consider switching to a different feeding strategy.
Feeding your dog smaller meals more frequently, such as three times a day instead of two, can be beneficial. This method ensures that the quantity of food in her stomach at any given time is less, thereby reducing the likelihood of her vomiting due to acid reflux.
However, it’s crucial to note that this doesn’t mean reducing the total amount of food your dog receives each day. It simply involves splitting the same daily portion into three smaller servings rather than two larger ones.
This adjustment can lessen the pressure on your dog’s stomach and esophageal sphincter – the valve-like muscle preventing stomach contents from entering back into the esophagus. When there is less food, there’s less pressure, which could minimize the chance of reflux.
This approach can also maintain a steady level of nutrients being provided to your dog throughout the day, which might help improve her overall digestive health.
Remember to make this transition gradually, to allow your dog’s digestive system to adjust to the new feeding regimen. As always, any dietary changes should be discussed with your veterinarian to ensure they’re suitable for your pet’s specific needs and health status.
Will He Swallow This?
Dogs with acid reflux sometimes benefit from a preventive measure, such as Tagamet pills, an over-the-counter medication available at pharmacies. Ask your vet whether this might help your dog and, if so, how much to give her.