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Dog Throwing Up? Reasons Your Dog Is Vomiting & How To Help

Anyone who has a dog has likely experienced them throwing up at least once or twice in their lifetimes. When your dog vomits, it can be scary and worrisome. To put it simply, it can cause a great deal of stress for owners and pets alike.

Nevertheless, before you panic, you should be aware that it’s a relatively common occurrence, unfortunately. The reasons why your dog is throwing up can be quite varied. Therefore, you should take some time to look into what exactly is leading your dog to vomit.

There are many common causes that cause nausea in pets, so if you're worried about their safety, it's important to talk to a vet. Not only will this provide you with a lot of peace of mind, but it can also help you figure out what exactly is causing your pet’s episodes of sickness. From there, you can begin to take steps that can help them get better and thrive. 

But what about if your local vet doesn’t have any availability, or it’s a weekend, and your dog can’t be seen? With veterinary telehealth, you don’t have to wait for the next available vet visit or for Monday to roll around. With Pawp, you can get access to veterinarian help anytime, anywhere. Signing up for a Pawp membership can change the way you approach veterinary care.

Continue reading to learn more possible reasons behind your dog's vomiting episode. The first critical difference to discuss is that between a dog throwing up and regurgitating. This article will discuss some reasons why your dog might be vomiting. Then, it'll cover remedies to help treat a dog suffering from gastric distress.

Seeing your dog feel unwell is a worrisome situation. But you don’t have to handle it on your own, especially with the help of veterinary telemedicine. Read on and to learn more about what situations are often tied to cases of vomiting in dogs.

Is your dog vomiting or regurgitating?

The first step to treating vomiting is to recognize when your pet is actually vomiting versus merely regurgitating up their food. According to Dr. Krista Williams and Dr. Ernest Ward of VCA Hospital, regurgitation is more of a passive process that occurs quickly and often right after eating or drinking.

Vomiting, however, is often more distressing for your dog; they may pace and lick their lips before actively using their abdominal muscles to bring up the contents of their stomach.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to tell the difference. Take the time to observe the way that your dog is behaving, though, and you will notice that these two experiences are certainly not the same. 

Regurgitation occurs when food is ejected from the esophagus, whereas dog vomiting occurs when food is ejected from the stomach. An easy way to tell when your dog is regurgitating is if the food looks relatively similar to how it did as your dog ate it; it hasn't gone through the digestive tract, leaving it identifiable and largely intact. 

Regurgitating has different instigators than vomiting, and being able to differentiate between the two will allow you to more accurately describe your dog's symptoms to a vet.

If you’re still unsure about what is occurring with your pet, you can certainly mention this to your vet. They might be able to take other symptoms into account and then help you give a diagnosis of exactly what is going on with your dog.

Read More: Why Your Dog's Stomach Is Upset & How To Prevent It

Is your dog throwing up?

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Why is your dog throwing up?

Once it’s clear your dog is throwing up, the next step is to consider the context of your dog’s life as well as the contents of your dog's vomit in order to help your vet narrow down the cause of the vomiting.

Was the throwing up a one-time thing, for example, where your pet vomits once and seems fine otherwise? Or is it an ongoing thing where your dog can’t even keep down a small amount of water? What kind of vomit your dog has is also an important thing to note (refer to this infographic from PetMD that describes the different kinds of possible vomit) and share with your vet. Bile, for example, looks quite different from regurgitated kibble. If you are speaking with a veterinarian through telehealth, it will be easy to share photographs of your dog’s vomit. 

When your dog isn’t feeling well, there could be a lot of thoughts racing through your mind. While it’s difficult, it is essential that you remain calm while trying to figure out what the culprit for your dog’s vomiting is. Dogs can pick up on (and even mirror) anxiety, and therefore, to avoid making the situation worse, you should appear unphased by what is happening. Instead, control your breathing and work on calming your pet in the way they like best.

But what happens if you don’t have any idea why your dog could be throwing up? Don’t worry and ask for help. This is definitely a time where calling the vet in is the best idea. The vet will be able to provide you with some valuable insight as to what is going on.

Reasons your dog could be vomiting

Now that you have some basic information, your vet can help narrow down what may be causing your dog to throw up. It’s important to note, however, that many things can cause vomiting in your dog. And while many of these are very treatable and relatively harmless (again, if treated), some may be a symptom of a more serious ailment.

There are several reasons why reaching out to your vet is the right thing to do. For one, they’ll be able to give you a more robust overview of what is causing the vomiting. In addition, they have an understanding of your pet’s history and, therefore, could notice if this is a recurring problem. If it is, the path of treatment might be different than it would be otherwise. 

In addition, your vet is an expert on all things related to your dog. Therefore, they’ll be able to help you as soon as possible—whether the reason your pet is vomiting is something minor or something more severe. That being said, these are some of the major causes of vomiting in dogs.

A change in diet

Some dogs, like humans, have sensitive stomachs; any sudden diet change (including changing their dog food suddenly instead of gradually) can cause them to vomit. Dogs can also vomit from food allergies or simply because they ate too fast.

When you talk to your vet, be sure to mention if you recently changed your pet’s diet--or if you gave them something different than you normally would like, table scraps. Another possible reason is a change in medication. This can be key to understanding why your dog is vomiting.

Eating something toxic

Dogs can also vomit if they’ve eaten something that is toxic to their system. Has your dog accidentally consumed any garbage lately? Eaten a foreign object that you didn’t think was edible, like the squeaker from a toy?

This is important to take note of and to call your doctor immediately, especially in the case of a possible obstruction/intestinal blockage. How fast you reach out to the vet is important, as it’s always better to act sooner than later when involving possible toxins or poisons.

Read More: 12 Human Foods That Are Toxic To Dogs

Motion sickness

Not all dogs love cars. rides. Some dogs are prone to throwing up, even in a short and easy car ride. Your dog may have a case of motion sickness. This is nothing major to worry about, but if it happens repeatedly, you should reach out to your vet to get their insight on ways you can reduce the chances of this occurring again.

Gastritis

If your dog is vomiting regularly (i.e., greater than once every one to two weeks), they may have a chronic condition called gastritis. This ailment is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as diarrhea, black or tarry stools, and flecks of blood in their vomit.

These symptoms are often caused by an inflammation of the stomach lining and can be brought on by a variety of causes. A vet appointment is warranted here, and your pup’s doctor will likely run a series of tests (like blood tests, ultrasounds, or x-rays) to determine the underlying cause.

Is your pet eating right?

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Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is another serious condition that will require treatment by your vet. In this case, your dog has an inflammation of the pancreas. In addition to vomiting, other symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and pain in the abdomen. Head to the vet immediately if your dog has these symptoms.

Bloat

Bloat often occurs after a dog has eaten too quickly and is a major medical emergency that requires an immediate visit to the vet ER. In addition to vomiting, other symptoms of bloat include restlessness, an enlargement of the dog’s abdomen, and salvation. If your dog doesn’t receive treatment immediately (as in an hour or two), the condition can become fatal. Again, it’s better to seek professional help sooner than later.

Dog vomiting treatments

Talk to a vet

If throwing up is also accompanied by other symptoms described above, it’s time to call the doctor immediately, as it may be a sign of one of the more serious conditions where vomiting is a symptom.

That being said, it is very anxiety-inducing when your dog doesn’t feel well. Therefore, even if your dog’s symptoms do not seem to be severe, you can’t go wrong by reaching out to the vet and hearing what they have to say. 

Some symptoms that may suggest severe illness include lethargy, pale gums, or a loss of appetite.

Read More: Pawp's Digital Pet Clinic Lets You Text A Vet

Rule out more serious causes

Even if your dog just seems to have a minor upset stomach, however, a vet appointment is still likely warranted. While there might not be a cause for concern, make sure to check in with your dog’s healthcare provider. 

If your vet rules out the more serious conditions, they will likely offer a non-specific treatment for vomiting, which involves not giving your dog food for 24-48 hours and water for 24 hours (assuming your dog’s fluid levels are okay). You should never decide to do this on your own, however. You should only take such steps if your vet advises that they are necessary.

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Feed bland food

If the vomiting stops during that time, your vet will likely have you give your pet a bland diet like steamed chicken and white rice in small amounts for a few days until gradually introducing their normal diet again. 

It is incredibly important to fight dehydration. Encourage your dog to quench their thirst.

Give them tender love and care

So if your dog becomes sick, be sure to empathize with them and give them the love, care, and treatment that they need. Chances are, they’ll feel better soon and go back to playing and snuggling. If your dog is feeling under the weather, they might want to rest. Let them dictate what they need from you—and how you can best support them.

What if my local vet isn’t open or doesn’t have availability?

Ultimately, if your pet is not feeling well, the best thing that you can do is get a vet to check them out. That being said, sometimes it is simply impossible for your dog to see their local vet. This could occur if the vomiting happens over the weekend or overnight, the vet isn’t open for a holiday, or even if there is no availability. 

If you want to get your dog seen by a vet, you may run out of options. This is where Pawp veterinary services come into play. When you join Pawp as a member, you get unlimited, 24/7 access to vets. Think of Pawp as telehealth for pets — you and your animal see the vet virtually, and they can give you insight as to what's happening with your dog. 

You’ll also be happy to learn that there’s no wait time, no appointment necessary, and you’ll be chatting with experienced vets. Every Pawp vet has over five years of experience, and most have more than 10.

Pet emergencies can be incredibly stressful, and immediate reassurance is invaluable. When you join Pawp, you’re getting access to the best vets in the business anytime. Whether your dog is vomiting, not eating, or anything in between, the Pawp vets can help you find an answer: anytime, anywhere. 

Sources: 

Dogs Mirror The Stress From Their Humans, Study Finds | NPR

 Causes of vomiting in dogs and usefulness of clinical investigations | PubMed

Gastritis in Dogs | VCA Animal Hospital

Vomiting in Dogs | VCA Animal Hospital

Regurgitation in Dogs | Pet MD

Car Sickness in Dogs: Causes & Tips for Preventing Motion Sickness | American Kennel Club

Bloat (or GDV) in Dogs | American Kennel Club

Assessing Dog's Gums - Dog Gum Color is Important | The Spruce Pets

Vomiting pets | Washington State University

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