It can be concerning if your dog suddenly begins to vomit. Our Animal Emergency Clinic vets share some of the reasons for vomiting in dogs and what to do when it happens.
Why is my dog vomiting?
If your dog is dealing with inflamed intestines, irritated stomach, or gastrointestinal upset then you might witness them begin to vomit.
It can be a cause for concern if you notice your dog begin to vomit but it is necessary if your dog has ingested items or substances that it should have in order to protect its body from harm. Vomiting is a natural response by your dog's body to remove unwanted materials it is also a reaction to many illnesses.
What is causing my dog’s vomiting?
Even if your dog is in perfect health it could suddenly become ill and begin vomiting. There are many reasons why this could happen.
Many dogs have a bad habit of eating too quickly, eating large quantities of grass or they could have eaten something their stomach disagreed with. You will need to monitor your dog for any accompanying symptoms to know if the vomiting may be caused by an illness.
Acute vomiting could be caused by a disease, disorder, or health complication including:
- Ingestion of poisons, toxins, or food (garbage, chocolate, anti-freeze)
- Reaction to medication
- Bacterial or viral infection
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Change in diet
When is vomiting in dogs cause for concern?
If you witness any of these signs while your dog is vomiting it is an emergency and you should call the Animal Emergency Clinic vets immediately:
- Vomiting a lot at one time
- Vomiting with nothing coming up
- Vomiting blood
- Chronic vomiting
- Continuous vomiting
- Vomiting in conjunction with other symptoms such as lethargy, weight loss, fever, anemia, etc.
- Bloody diarrhea
- Suspected ingestion of a foreign body (such as food, objects, children’s toy, etc.)
There is a rare chance that vomiting could become a chronic or long-term condition for your dog. If this is the case and you’ve noticed symptoms including abdominal pain, depression, dehydration, blood, poor appetite, fever, weakness, weight loss or other unusual behaviors it is possible that this could be caused by conditions such as:
- Liver or kidney failure
- Uterine infection
- Intestinal obstruction
If you are noticing signs of distress from your pup and they have been vomiting, it is best to be proactive and contact your vet to have your dog assessed.
What should I do if my dog won’t stop vomiting?
The first thing you should do is call your vet and explain the situation, They might ask about the things your dog was doing or if they ate anything just before they began to vomit. They will want to determine if they might have eaten something that they shouldn't have.
Your vet will need all information you have about what you've seen your dog do in order to diagnose a treat your pup effectively.
A Note on Inducing Vomiting in Dogs
Toxins can cause serious damage and gastrointestinal upset and so you may be informed that the ideal thing to do is induce vomiting. The goal is to eliminate the toxin from the body before it’s absorbed. If vomiting occurs before the intestines absorb the toxin, toxicity can be prevented. There is a risk with any caustic substances burning the esophagus while passing through a second time while inducing vomiting.
Unless in extreme circumstances, inducing vomiting at home is not recommended by any vet. Inducing vomiting should always be done by a licensed veterinarian and you should call your vet and speak with them before ever attempting this solution.
Typically whatever substance your dog has ingested won't be toxic so the chance inducing vomiting at home would be necessary is low.
Also, if 3% hydrogen peroxide (the only safe home substance that can be used to induce vomiting in dogs) is incorrectly administered, it can enter the lungs and cause significant problems such as pneumonia.
If it's needed, having a qualified veterinarian induce vomiting in-clinic is recommended, especially with dogs who have underlying health conditions or other symptoms.
When Not to Induce Vomiting
Under no circumstances should you induce vomiting in a dog that is:
- Having a seizure or recently had a seizure
- Unresponsive or unconscious
- Already vomiting
Additionally, hydrogen peroxide should never be used as a way of inducing vomiting in cats. If you have a cat in distress place contact your Animal Emergency Clinic vet right away.
What do veterinarians do to induce vomiting?
At Animal Emergency Clinic, we thoroughly examine and diagnose in order to determine the appropriate action to take. If inducing vomiting is the best treatment option then special medication with minimal side effects is used (as opposed to hydrogen peroxide). If your dog does experience any side effects, we are equipped to administer proper care and medication.
What should I do if I suspect my dog has ingested a toxin?
Immediately contact your veterinarian or Poison Control is the best thing you can do after your pet ingests a toxin. This way, our Animal Emergency Clinic vets can provide advice about what next steps to take and whether inducing vomiting at home is ideal in your dog's situation.
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.