Dog Vomiting – Causes, Types, Diagnosis & Treatment

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Vomiting in dogs can be distressing for both pets and owners. It occurs when dogs forcefully eject the contents of their stomach or upper intestine, often with abdominal contractions and signs of nausea. There are many causes for dog vomiting, ranging from eating too quickly, consuming too much grass, and more serious issues like ingesting toxins or infections.

If you find yourself asking, "Why did my dog throw up?" it's essential to note the frequency, color, and timing of the vomit. This can help your vet identify the cause and determine the best treatment.

Common causes of dog vomiting

Vomiting in dogs can be caused by various factors. Here are some common reasons why dogs generally vomit:

  • Ingestion of irritating substances, such as garbage, chocolate, or foreign objects
  • Toxins or poisons like harmful chemicals or plants
  • Inflammation of the pancreas caused by pancreatitis
  • Kidney or liver failure
  • Sudden change in diet
  • Worms and other intestinal parasites
  • Viral or bacterial infection like parvovirus or salmonella
  • Adverse effects of prescribed drugs
  • Gastric dilation and volvulus
  • Overheating or heatstroke from being in a hot environment

Dog parents play a critical role in helping vets narrow down the cause. For example, if your dog vomits after being outside in the hot sun, heatstroke could be the culprit. Evidence of rummaging through garbage could point to ingestion of toxins or foreign objects.

Types of dog vomit and their significance

There are three types of dog vomit, and you can easily identify what type it is by simply looking at it. Check out the table for more information:

Granular VomitChunky VomitLiquid Vomit
Most of the time food-relatedMost of the time food-relatedNot food-related
Semi-liquidContains food chunksMaybe foamy or sticky
Granules look like ground coffeeUndigested foodMaybe yellow or transparent
Sometimes can be bloodyHappens immediately after eating foodOften confused with kennel cough

Colors of dog vomit

A dog’s vomit’s color determines a lot of things and also narrows down the causes of vomiting. Given below are the different types of vomit color that may help you identify what is wrong with your dog:

  • Yellow vomit

    On an empty stomach, you will see your dog throwing up yellow vomit. It looks yellow because of the bile in it. It is caused because of acid reflux or any other substance that may cause nausea to your dog.

  • Foamy, white vomit

    If you notice your dog throwing up white foam, it is due to a build-up of stomach acid. The foam appears because the vomit splashes around in the stomach before coming out.

  • Liquid clear vomit

    Your dog’s vomit appears liquid clear when there are stomach secretions or water pooling in the tummy. This often happens when your dog drinks water when it is already feeling nauseous.

  • Mucous vomit

    Your dog’s vomit looks slimy when it is drooling, and it accumulates in its stomach due to some irritant. Hence, your dog gets out of its system through vomiting that carries mucous.

  • Bloody vomit

    Your dog’s bloody vomit is a sign of serious concern and may indicate internal bleeding. It is always advisable to rush to the doctor immediately at this stage.

  • Brown vomit

    Your dog may eject brown vomit when it may be eating too fast. The color of the vomit appears so because the food that is thrown out may not be fully digested. Your dog’s vomit may also look brown after it may have accidentally ingested poop. This is called coprophagia.

  • Green vomit

    Your dog may belch green vomit if it ends up ingesting grass. It may also be because of the contraction of the gall bladder before your dog vomits.

Diagnosis and treatment

Understanding why your dog is throwing up can sometimes be straightforward, especially if you notice that your dog does not eat. However, in other cases, determining the cause may require your vet to conduct diagnostic tests. The treatment for dog vomiting is tailored to the specific diagnosis, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

To determine why your dog is throwing up, the vet will perform an examination and may recommend tests, such as blood tests, fecal tests, ultrasound, X-rays, biopsy, or endoscopy. In some cases, exploratory surgery may be needed.

Once the cause is identified, the vet will recommend treatment, which may include antibiotics for infections, antiemetics to control vomiting, or fluid therapy to prevent dehydration. Surgery might be necessary for severe cases.

Natural remedies for dog vomiting

Here are some safe natural remedies of dog vomiting you can also resort to in order to provide relief to your dog:

  • Electrolyte powder:

    It is important to provide an alternate source of energy when your dog is vomiting. This is when electrolytes come in handy. You can add one teaspoon of Glucose Monohydrate to your dog’s water.

  • Fasting:

    Fasting provides rest to your dog’s stomach and intestines and gives it time to recover from the vomiting.

  • Ginger:

    Ginger has carminative property, meaning it helps prevent the formation of the gas in the gastronomical tract or facilitates the passing of the gas.

  • Ice chips:

    Dehydration is a common symptom post vomiting in dogs. You can plop a few ice chips in your dog’s mouth. This will replace the need for water and also the cold feeling can help your dog in feeling better.

  • Plain rice:

    If the fasting suits your dog, then it is time to let some food into its system. Nothing is as soothing as plain rice for a dog’s upset stomach. You can feed your nauseated dog plain rice a few times a day in little quantities.

  • Baby food:

    Baby food is another option to feed your dog that is recovering from an upset stomach. The composition of this food is light and will help your dog recover faster.

  • Chicken broth:

    Chicken broth is high in nutritional value and also helps with dehydration.

Vomiting in puppies

Vomiting in puppies is a serious concern and should always be treated as an emergency. After six weeks, puppies lose their maternal immunity and are at a higher risk for diseases like parvovirus and parasites. If your puppy is vomiting, consult your vet immediately.

When to take your dog to the vet

It's crucial to detect symptoms early. If your dog is throwing up more than once in a day without a break, or if the vomiting persists for more than 24 hours, consult your vet. A vet visit is especially crucial if your dog is very young, old, or ill and if there is frequent vomiting of mucus.

Dog vomiting can range from a minor issue to a serious health concern, and understanding the underlying causes is crucial for effective treatment. Whether it's due to dietary indiscretion, infections, or more severe conditions like organ failure, timely veterinary intervention is essential. By recognizing the different types of vomit and knowing when to consult your vet, you can better manage your dog's health. For puppies, vomiting should always be treated as an emergency due to their vulnerable immune systems.

Home remedies like electrolyte solutions, ginger, and bland diets can offer temporary relief, but they are not substitutes for professional care. Always follow your vet's recommendations to ensure your furry friend's swift recovery and long-term well-being. Remember, being proactive and informed can make all the difference in your dog's health journey.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Dog Vomiting

Vomiting is one of the most common health concerns in dogs. But if you notice your dog vomiting more than once a day, then it is a cause of concern. Best to book an appointment with the vet immediately if the vomiting persists.

It is advisable to give your dog electrolyte solution to help with dehydration. However, it is advisable to consult with your vet to determine what medicine and dosage to administer. 

Dog vomit color depends on the type of infection or the toxin the dog has ingested. Yellow, green, foamy white, mucous, brown, red and liquid clear are some of the common dog vomit colors. (Please refer back to the ‘Color of Dog Vomit’ section for detailed information) 

You can give your dog electrolyte water to help restore hydration post vomiting. However, to manage your dog’s upset stomach, it is best to consult with your vet for your dog’s immediate diet. 

Natural remedies for dog vomiting include electrolyte powder to prevent dehydration, fasting to rest the stomach, ginger for its anti-gas properties, ice chips for hydration, and plain rice to soothe the stomach. You can also feed baby food and homemade chicken broth.