Dog Vomiting
Common Causes and Management

Most dogs vomit at least once in their lives, and there are a number of reasons.

Not all of them are a cause for concern. Vomiting usually indicates that there is
some irritation or inflammation in the stomach or upper small intestine but it can
also be associated with diseases in other organs.

Let's look at some common causes and how to manage them.

Speedy Eaters
Dogs that seem to inhale their food often throw it up again shortly afterwards. The food hasn't been digested and still looks very much like what you served up to him in his bowl. Don't be surprised if he turns around and eats it again. If this happens often, buy a bowl that will slow down his eating. These bowls have rubber bumps in the bottom so your dog has to eat his kibble from between them. Reducing the competition at meal times can also help so if you have two dogs or more, separate them when they're eating.

Garbage Guts
Some dogs seem to relish eating things that aren't good for them. Rotten leftovers or plastic toys or even items of clothing can disappear into your dog's mouth with disastrous consequences. If he has eaten something rotten, then he may develop a bacterial infection of his stomach and intestines. This can cause vomiting, but usually responds well to treatment. Should he eat something that gets stuck in his intestines, the symptoms are similar but the vomiting will persist, he'll become very lethargic and his tummy will be painful. He will need abdominal surgery to extract the foreign body.

Viral Infections
Probably the best known viral infection that causes vomiting in dogs is parvovirus. It affects the lining of the small intestine, and as well as vomiting, it causes dehydration and bloody diarrhea. Vaccination will hep protect your dog from this serious disease. Other viruses such as coronavirus will also cause vomiting but these usually aren't as serious.

Disease in Other Organs
Conditions such as kidney and liver failure can cause vomiting, because of the build up of toxins in your dog's blood. There are often other obvious symptoms such as increased thirst and urination. If the underlying disease is managed well, then the vomiting usually stops.

What to do if Your Dog is Vomiting
It's hard to know what to do when your dog starts vomiting. On the one hand, if it's just a mild tummy upset, taking him to the vet may not be necessary. Don't give him anything to eat for 24 hours but make sure he has small drinks of water. After that, you can offer him small frequent bland meals.

If his vomiting is constant or he has other symptoms, for example diarrhea or depression, then he will need to see the vet. He may need blood tests or x-rays to get to the bottom of his problem, and his treatment can include antibiotics, anti-vomiting medication and intravenous fluids to counteract dehydration.

Unfortunately it's not always possible to tell if your dog's mild vomiting will resolve by itself or whether it will progress into something more serious. If you're in any doubt at all about what to do, err on the side of caution and make an appointment with your vet.