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Vomiting in Dogs

Vomiting in dogs is often a symptom of gastrointestinal upset, though there are many potential causes. Today, our Flat Rock vets share essential tips about what to do to keep your dog safe and help them feel better. 

Why is my dog vomiting?

Inflamed intestines, an irritated stomach or gastrointestinal upset can often cause dogs to vomit. Almost every pup parent knows that vomiting in dogs is unpleasant to witness and can be distressing.

But, also keep in mind that this is your pooch’s way of emptying their stomach of indigestible material to remove it from their system. This prevents it from reaching other areas of the body.

What is causing my dog’s vomiting?

Numerous things can cause a dog to vomit. Even healthy dogs sometimes fall ill for no apparent reason, but quickly recover.

Your pooch may have eaten something his stomach disagreed with or ate too much grass. It’s also possible that he ate too quickly. This kind of vomiting may be a one-time occurrence and not be accompanied by other symptoms, so you may have nothing to worry about.

If the vomiting is acute (sudden or severe), a health complication, disorder or disease may be the cause. These can include:

  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Bloat
  • Pancreatitis
  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Heatstroke
  • Ingestion of food, toxins or poisons (chocolate, anti-freeze, garbage)
  • Reaction to medication
  • Change in diet

When is vomiting in dogs cause for concern?

If you see any of these signs, vomiting may be cause for concern and could be a serious veterinary emergency:

  • Seizures
  • Vomiting a lot at one time
  • Vomiting blood
  • Continuous vomiting
  • Chronic vomiting
  • Vomiting with nothing coming up
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting along with other symptoms such as anemia, weight loss, fever, lethargy, etc.

Chronic Vomiting

Has your dog been vomiting frequently, or has this become a long-term or chronic issue? If so, this is cause for concern, especially if other symptoms including weakness, poor appetite, dehydration, abdominal pain, depression, fever, blood, weight loss or other unusual behaviors have appeared.

These may be caused by:

  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Cancer
  • Kidney or liver failure
  • Constipation
  • Colitis
  • Uterine infection

As a cautious dog owner, it’s always best to put caution and safety first when it comes to your dog’s health. The best way to find out whether your dog’s vomiting is normal or not is to contact your vet.

What should I do if my dog won’t stop vomiting?

Your vet will need your help to find the cause of the vomiting based on his or her medical history and recent activities. For example, if your dog has been curiously exploring the kids’ rooms or you’ve caught him sniffing the refrigerator, it’s possible he could have gotten into something he shouldn’t have.

You spend every day with your dog, so you will likely be your vet’s best source of information when it comes to diagnosing the issue. Your vet can then test, diagnose and treat the condition.

A Note on Inducing Vomiting in Dogs

Many a panicked owner has likely Googled "how to induce vomiting in dogs". Toxins cause gastrointestinal upset, but do serious damage when they are absorbed into the bloodstream as they get into the tissues. With decontamination, 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.

However, dog owners should know that inducing vomiting at home is not advised except under extreme circumstances. In addition, this should always be done under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian. Before taking this action, call your primary veterinarian or a veterinary poison control center for advice.

Whether vomiting 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, so inducing vomiting wouldn't be necessary.

Though vomiting can safely bring most toxins up, a few will cause more damage by passing through the esophagus a second time by moving through the GI tract. These include bleach, cleaning products and other caustic chemicals and petroleum-based products.

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.

In addition, if your dog has a pre-existing health condition or there are other symptoms, this can result in health risks. If it's needed, 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
  • Lethargic
  • Unresponsive or unconscious
  • Already vomiting

Additionally, 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.

What do veterinarians do to induce vomiting?

At Western Carolina Regional Animal Hospital & Veterinary Emergency Hospital, we carefully examine your pet to determine if inducing vomiting is safe. If it's determined that this action should be taken, 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 contacting your veterinarian or Poison Control is the best thing you can do after your pet ingests a toxin. This way, our Flat Rock vets can immediately provide advice about whether you should bring your pet in, or if they think you can or should induce vomiting at home.

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.

Are you concerned about your dog's vomiting? Contact our Flat Rock vets at Western Carolina Regional Animal Hospital & Veterinary Emergency Hospital right away to schedule an appointment for testing.

Vomiting in Dogs, Flat Rock Vet

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