As pet parents, it's important to be aware of our dog's health and any signs of discomfort they may display. One common issue that many dogs experience is vomiting.
While occasional vomiting may not be a cause for immediate concern, persistent or severe vomiting can be a sign of an underlying health issue.
In this post, we will discuss some common causes of vomiting, when vomiting is a sign for concern, and some remedies to help alleviate your pets’ discomfort.
10 Common Causes of Vomiting in Dogs
1. Inappropriate Consumption of Food
One of the most common causes of vomiting in dogs is dietary indiscretion, which refers to ingesting something inappropriate or indigestible. This can include eating garbage, table scraps, plants, or foreign objects. Ingesting something their digestive system cannot handle can lead to vomiting as a way for their body to expel the offending substance.
Too much food (especially too many treats) can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, nausea and vomiting. You can read more on how much to feed your dog in our previous post.
3. Eating Too Quickly
It is not uncommon for dogs to wolf down their food and eating too quickly can certainly cause discomfort and vomiting. Using slow feeders can help your dog slow down their food consumption and avoid bloat, discomfort, and vomiting.
4. A Sudden Change in Diet
Switching over to a new food can be difficult for pups with a sensitive stomach. If you are planning on changing your dog’s diet, we recommend following a 7-day (or longer) transitional period.
5. Gastrointestinal Infections
Viral or bacterial infections in the gastrointestinal tract can also trigger vomiting in dogs. These infections may be accompanied by diarrhea and lethargy, and in some cases can be contagious to other pets in the household.
6. Allergies or Food Sensitivities
Food allergies or sensitivities can cause vomiting in some dogs. A food intolerance or allergy will likely be accompanied by additional symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, and itchy skin. Feeding a limited ingredient, novel protein diet, like our Kangaroo recipe, may help your pup avoid potential allergens. Read our post on Understanding Allergies in Dogs to learn more.
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. This condition often requires immediate veterinary attention. Feeding a low-fat diet may help to prevent pancreatitis flare-ups and the associated symptoms. Our low-fat menu may be appropriate for your pup if they experience pancreatitis.
8. Intestinal Blockage
Ingestion of a foreign object or a large amount of hair can lead to intestinal blockage, which can cause vomiting and severe discomfort in dogs. An intestinal blockage will require veterinary assistance to remove.
In the summer months when temperatures are high, heatstroke can be a serious concern for dogs. Did you know a common symptom of heatstroke is vomiting? You can read more in our guide on Tips and Tricks on Keeping Your Dog Cool in the Summer.
10. Other Medical Concerns
Consistent vomiting can be a sign of a more serious medical concern, such as liver or kidney disease, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and also cancer. Under these circumstances, it is important that your pet gets the medical treatment required.
When to Contact the Vet
While occasional vomiting may not be a cause for immediate concern, certain symptoms should prompt you to seek veterinary care promptly:
1. Persistent or Frequent Vomiting
If your dog vomits multiple times within a short period or if the vomiting continues for more than 24 hours, it's essential to consult a veterinarian.
2. Blood in Vomit
The presence of blood in your dog's vomit may indicate an injury or an underlying health issue that requires immediate attention.
3. Additional Symptoms are Present
If your dog appears weak, lethargic, or disoriented, it could be a sign of a more serious problem or dehydration. If vomiting is accompanied by other symptoms such as diarrhea, depression, weight loss, fever, or abdominal pain, then it is a sign to contact your veterinarian.
4. Refusal to Eat or Drink
Loss of appetite and a decreased interest in water can be indicative of various health issues and should be addressed by a veterinarian.
Remedies for Vomiting
1. Withhold Food Temporarily
If your dog has vomited, it's best to withhold food for a few hours to give their digestive system a chance to rest. Ensure they have access to fresh water to stay hydrated.
2. Gradual Reintroduction of Food
After a period of fasting, you can slowly reintroduce your pets’ food, or try our Tummy Tamer recipe, in small, frequent meals to get your pup to start eating. If the vomiting persists, seek veterinary advice.
3. Limit Exercise
During episodes of vomiting, it may be a good idea to limit your dog's physical activity to prevent any strain on their abdomen.
4. Seek Veterinary Consultation
If your dog's vomiting is severe, persistent, or accompanied by additional concerning symptoms, don't hesitate to contact your veterinarian. They can conduct a thorough examination, diagnose the underlying cause, and recommend appropriate treatment.
Overall, vomiting in dogs can be caused by various factors, ranging from overeating to more serious health conditions. While occasional vomiting may not be cause for immediate concern, it's crucial to monitor your dog closely and seek veterinary care if the vomiting is severe or persistent.
By understanding the common causes of vomiting, recognizing additional symptoms that warrant a vet visit, and following appropriate remedies and treatments, you can help your beloved furry companion feel better and get back to their happy, healthy self.
And remember, your veterinarian is your best ally in ensuring the well-being of your canine friend.
Written by: Hannah Godfrey
BSc.H. | MSc. Animal Nutrition
Case L.P. et al. Canine and Feline Nutrition: A resource for companion animal professionals 3rd ed. May 19, 2010
Hand MS, Thatcher CD, Reimillard RL, Roudebush P, Morris ML, Novotny BJ. editors. Small animal clinical nutrition, 4th edition. Topeka, KS: Mark Morris Institute. 2000.
Webb C. 2018. Vomiting in Dogs. Merck Manual Veterinary Manual. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/digestive-disorders-of-dogs/vomiting-in-dogs#:~:text=Generally%2C%20the%20treatment%20for%20short,the%20blood%20vessels%20(intravenous).