If your dog is vomiting it could be a sign of gastrointestinal upset. There are many possible causes of vomiting in dogs, and today our Egg Harbor Township vets share important information about this condition and what you should do.
Why Is My Dog Vomiting?
It is common for dogs to vomit if they have gastrointestinal upset, an irritated stomach, or inflamed intestines.
Most people who own dogs know that it's unpleasant and distressing to watch their pups vomit. But, you need to keep in mind that this is how your pooch empties their stomach from an indigestible item to keep it from staying in their system, or from reaching other areas of their body.
Causes of Vomiting in Dogs
There are various uncommon reasons why dogs can vomit. Occasionally, healthy dogs can suddenly vomit and become ill for no obvious reason and quickly recover.
Your pooch may have eaten too fast, consumed too much grass, or eaten something that didn't agree with their stomach. This kind of vomiting could be a one-time event and not have other accompanying symptoms. So, you might not have a reason to be worried.
On the other hand, acute vomiting (sudden or severe) could potentially be caused by a disorder, disease, or health complication such as:
- Change in diet
- Bacterial or viral infection
- Reaction to medication
- Ingestion of poisons, toxins, or food (garbage, chocolate, anti-freeze)
- Liver failure
- Kidney failure
When to Worry About Your Dog's Vomiting
If you see your dog exhibiting any of these signs their vomiting might be a serious veterinary emergency:
- Continuous vomiting
- Vomiting blood
- Vomiting a lot at one time
- Chronic vomiting
- Vomiting with nothing coming up
- Bloody diarrhea
- Suspected ingestion of a foreign body (such as food, objects, children’s toy, etc.)
- Vomiting in conjunction with other symptoms such as lethargy, weight loss, fever, anemia, etc.
Chronic Vomiting in Dogs
If you find your dog has been vomiting frequently or it has become a long-term or chronic issue, this is cause for concern, especially if you’ve noticed symptoms including abdominal pain, depression, dehydration, blood, poor appetite, fever, weakness, weight loss or other unusual behaviors.
These can be caused by:
- Liver or kidney failure
- Intestinal obstruction
- Uterine infection
As a parent of a lovable dog, it’s always best to be cautious and make safety a priority, when it comes to the health of your pooch. The best way to find out if your pup’s vomiting is normal or not is to call your vet.
What to Do If Your Dog Won't Stop Vomiting
Your vet will need your help to find the cause of the vomiting based on their medical history and recent activities. For example, if your dog has been curiously exploring the kids’ rooms or you’ve caught them sniffing the refrigerator, it’s possible your pup could have gotten into something they shouldn’t have.
You spend every day with your dog, so you will likely be your vet’s best source of information when it comes to diagnosing the issue. Your vet can then test, diagnose and treat the condition.
A Note on Inducing Vomiting in Dogs
Lots of panicked dog owners have most likely typed "how to induce vomiting in dogs" into their favorite search engine. Toxins cause gastrointestinal upset and can cause 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.
Although, dog owners should understand that we do not recommend inducing vomiting at home, except under extreme situations. And, this should always be done under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian. Call your primary care veterinarian or a veterinary poison control center for advice, prior to taking this action.
Whether vomiting should be induced at home depends on what and how much your dog has consumed, and how much time has passed - there is the possibility that the substance or amount consumed was not toxic, so you might not need to induce vomiting.
While 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.
If your pooch has a pre-existing health condition or they are displaying additional symptoms, this could be a health risk. If required, it's preferable to have a qualified veterinarian induce vomiting in-clinic.
When Not to Induce Vomiting
You shouldn't induce vomiting in a dog if they are:
- Already vomiting
- Unresponsive or unconscious
- Having a seizure or recently had a seizure
Additionally, hydrogen peroxide should not be used to induce vomiting in cats, as it is too irritating to kitties' stomachs and can cause issues with the esophagus.
How Veterinarians Induce Vomiting in Dogs
At Newkirk Family Veterinarians, we will carefully examine your pooch to determine if it's safe to induce vomiting. If your vet determines that this action should be taken, they will use a special medication that has minimal side effects (as opposed to hydrogen peroxide). If your pooch does have side effects, our team is equipped to administer proper care and medication.
What to Do If Your Dog Ingests a Toxin
The best thing you can do is immediately contact your veterinarian or Poison Control after your pet ingests a toxin. This way, our Egg Harbor Township vets can immediately provide advice about whether you should bring your pet in, or if they think you can or should 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.