When your dog throws up, your first reaction is to want to stop the vomiting as soon as possible. However, you need to know what's causing your dog to vomit before you can determine what to do about it. Though many times throwing up is a sign that something is wrong, that's not true in every case. There are ways to treat your pooch's upset tummy at home, but sometimes the vomiting is caused by a serious issue that calls for an emergency trip to the vet.
Not So Serious Vomiting
Dogs sometimes throw up simply to cleanse their stomachs. They'll do it once and feel fine afterward. Dogs who have puppies may vomit more frequently but, if they're regurgitating food for their pups, it's not something to worry about. A change in diet can cause vomiting, or your dog might even throw up if he drinks excessive water or eats too soon after playing hard. In these cases, keep an eye on him to see that the vomiting is an isolated incident.
Reasons to Call the Vet
If your dog throws up more than once in a few hours, it could be caused by a bacterial infection, intestinal parasites, a viral infection or even more serious illness such as kidney or liver failure, pancreatitis or poisoning. You may be able to tell that your hypoglycemic dog is having a diabetic emergency if he vomits.
Sometimes dogs swallow something they can't digest. That causes an obstruction that, in turn, causes vomiting. Obstructions in the digestive tract can be serious and sometimes require surgery. If illness or another serious issue is the reason your dog is vomiting, you'll want to call the vet without delay.
What Not to Do
When your dog experiences repeated vomiting, don't try to diagnose the cause yourself. Get your pooch to the vet as soon as possible. Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your dog. While it's important that your dog take in fluids to stay hydrated, don't give him a human electrolyte drink in place of water. Many of them contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Ingesting it can cause more vomiting and even severe liver damage and possibly death.
Things You Can Do
When a dog throws up once, it's a wise to withhold food for a few hours to ensure that his tummy settles before anything else goes into it. Let him drink water, though, so that he doesn't become dehydrated. Once he stops vomiting, feed him a bland diet instead of his regular food for at least a day. Boil a chicken breast, shred it and mix it with cooked rice or feed him banana baby food or applesauce for babies.
Feed your dog small portions of the mild food every three to four hours for a day. If he doesn't throw up during the first 24 hours, you can increase the portion size over the next day and get him back on his regular food by the third day.
There are a few over the counter medications that will calm your pooch's tummy and help stop vomiting, according to "Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats." Some of these include Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate and Pepcid AC.
Dosage of over the counter medicines can vary depending on your dog's size. Consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any stomach medication. The vet should determine what is making your dog vomit before she gives the go-ahead for treatment, including giving your dog human medication.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- DogChannel.com: Dog Vomiting is Often a Sign of Intestinal Obstruction
- DogChannel.com: Dog Licking Behaviors
- Canine Journal: Tips to Cure Your Dog's Upset Stomach
- Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats; Editors of Prevention Health Books
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Vomiting
- Veterinary Partner: Xylitol Toxicosis
- Healthy Pets: 4 Signs of an Impending Diabetic Pet Emergency