Vomiting is a commons sign of gastrointestinal distress in dogs. This condition can be caused by a number of disorders, diseases, or other health complications. Here, our Johns Creek vets will walk you though what you should know and what you should do when your dog vomits.
Why is my dog vomiting?
Vomiting is a very common indicator that you dog has an irritated stomach, gastrointestinal upset, or inflamed intestines.
As nearly every dog owner can attest, it is unpleasant and can be distressing to witness your dog vomiting. It is important to remember, though, that it is your pet's way of emptying their stomach of materials they can't digest to prevent it from staying in their system or reaching other parts of their body.
What is causing my dog’s vomiting?
Vomiting in your dog can have a number of different causes. Sometimes, even a perfectly healthy dog will fall ill with vomiting for no obvious reason and bounce back quickly after.
Your furry companion may have simply eaten too quickly, gobbled up too much grass or eaten something that isn't sitting well with them. This type of vomiting is a one-time occurrence and won't be accompanied by other symptoms. In these cases, you likely have nothing to worry about!
Possible causes of sudden or severe (also known as acute) vomiting could be a health complication, disorder, or disease, however, including:
- Ingestion of poisons, toxins or food (garbage, chocolate, anti-freeze)
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Change in diet
- Heat stroke
- Reaction to medication
- Bacterial or viral infection
When is vomiting in dogs cause for concern?
Vomiting may be cause for some concern and constitute a serious veterinary emergency if you see any of these signs:
- Vomiting blood
- Chronic vomiting
- Bloody diarrhea
- Continuous vomiting
- Vomiting in conjunction with other symptoms such as lethargy, weight loss, fever, anemia, etc.
- Vomiting a lot at one time
- Vomiting with nothing coming up
- Suspected ingestion of a foreign body (such as food, objects, children’s toy, etc.)
If your dog has been vomiting frequently or it has become a ling-term issue for them, this is a cause for concern. This is especially true if you've noticed symptoms like depression, dehydration, poor appetite, fever, weight loss, abdominal pain or other unusual behaviors,
These symptoms can be caused by:
- Liver or kidney failure
- Intestinal obstruction
- Uterine infection
As a conscientious pup parent, it's always your best bet to prioritize your pet's safety when it comes to their long-term health. The best way to determine whether or not your dog's vomiting is normal is to contact your vet and schedule an appointment.
What should I do if my dog won’t stop vomiting?
Your veterinarian will need you help in identifying the cause of your dog's vomiting based on their recent activities and their medical history. If your dog has been exploring a play room or poking their nose into the refrigerator, it's possible they've just gotten into something they probably shouldn't have
You spend the most time with your dog, so you will be your vet's number one tool for diagnosing the issue. After this, your vet will be able to test, diagnose and treat whatever condition may be causing your dog's gastrointestinal distress.
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, always 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 and possible, having a qualified veterinarian induce vomiting in-clinic is always preferable.
When Not to Induce Vomiting
Vomiting should never be induced in a dog that is:
- Having a seizure or recently had a seizure
- Already vomiting
- Unresponsive or unconscious
Hydrogen peroxide should never be used to induce vomiting in cats. It is too irritating to cats' stomachs and can cause issues in their esophagus.
What do veterinarians do to induce vomiting?
At Johns Creek Veterinary Clinic, our vets will careful examine your dog to sort out whether or not inducing vomiting will be safe for your pet. If they decide this is the best course of action, they will provide special medication with minimal side effects (unlike the at-home method of using hydrogen peroxide). If your dog does experience side effects, we are more than equipped to give them the care and medication they need.
What should I do if I suspect my dog has ingested a toxin?
If your suspect your dog can ingested a toxin, you must immediately contact your veterinarian or local Poison Control. If you do this, our vets will be able to provide advice about whether you should bring your pet in or if they think you can or should try to 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.