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Dog Vomiting: What to Know and What to Do When Your Dog Throws Up

Can you tell when your dog is about to vomit? When is dog vomiting a reason to go to a vet? We've compiled a few things to know about dog vomiting.

Dogster HQ  |  Apr 2nd 2019

Is your dog vomiting then trying to gobble it up? This behavior may seem bizarre to us but in the dog world it is par for the course and is considered a delightful course indeed. Dogs probably strive too hard to eat their vomit because …

  1. their mothers regurgitated food for them when they were puppies
  2. their heightened sense of smell reveals the actual food particles in it.

Some vomiting is normal for dogs. Dog vomiting happens for many reasons, including an irritated stomach, eating too fast or too much, or sometimes because of nervousness. A large amount of the time, dog vomiting is not something to worry about but sometimes it can indicate a serious condition. If your dog vomits once or more a week and it is accompanied by diarrhea, lethargy or loss of appetite, check with your vet. The trick is to know a bit about dog vomiting, what to do about dog vomiting and when dog vomiting necessitates a trip to the emergency vet.

How to Know Your Dog is Going to Vomit

A dog vomiting.

What are the signs that your dog is about to vomit? Photography by Kickers / iStock.

This may seem silly but it helps to know the signs of a dog getting ready to vomit so you can have necessary equipment on hand before the dog vomiting happens. A well-prepared dog owner can recognize the signs of dog vomiting, grab her cleaning carrier and paper towels and beat the vomit to the floor. It can also help you prepare in case it is a situation where you’ll need to get help immediately.

Signs your dog is about to vomit:

  1. Retching – that noise that comes from your dog that sounds like he has something stuck in his throat. You will also see his throat straining back and forth.
  2. Stiff Stance – your dog may become rigid as he attempts to keep from vomiting.
  3. Wandering – a dog will often wander aimlessly right before he vomits.

How to Deduce if Your Dog Has Eaten Something Poisonous or an Object

The first thing to do is to check your dog’s vomit. It may make you a bit queasy but, by doing this, you can look for any bits of foreign objects. Keeping an eye on your dog, look for food or products he might have eaten in the immediate area and the area he has just come from. Signs of things eaten include wrappers, crumbs, pieces of an object (such as a plastic bag) and things that used to be there that aren’t now.

List of Some Common Dangerous Things Swallowed That May Cause Dog Vomiting


  1. Chocolate
  2. Avocado
  3. Any fruit pits
  4. Raisins or grapes
  5. Mushrooms
  6. Potato peelings

Household Products

  1. Cleaning products – any cleaning product is dangerous to dogs, though the natural ones are far less toxic.
  2. Antifreeze
  3. Auto oil
  4. Cocoa mulch
  5. Gardening chemicals
  6. Some household plants

Things We Forget About

  1. Bones that splinter
  2. Toys with removable parts
  3. String, rubber bands and even dental floss
  4. Sugarless chewing gum

How to Make Your Dog Vomit in an Emergency

Always try to call your vet or emergency clinic before considering making a dog vomit. Induce vomiting ONLY when it’s absolutely necessary and you’ve talked to a professional unless you suspect he’s eaten something dangerous (especially antifreeze). But do not attempt to induce vomiting if your dog has lost consciousness or swallowed something that can harm his throat on the way back up, such as a sharp piece of bone.

To make a dog vomit, open your dog’s mouth gently and squirt a small amount of an emetic like hydrogen peroxide or ipecac syrup down his throat. It takes around a teaspoon of ipecac syrup per 10 lbs. of body weight to induce dog vomiting. An overdose can cause heart problems so try to be accurate when measuring. Wait 10 minutes and retry. If he doesn’t vomit after the second try, get him to a vet immediately.

What to Do After Your Dog has Vomited

  • Make Certain There is No Obstruction – gently place your hand in his mouth and at the top of his throat. If he is wheezing or has trouble breathing, there could be an obstruction further down so get him to the vet immediately.
  • Give Him Fluids – including electrolytes.
  • Keep Him Warm – a blanket and hugs work well.
  • Reassure Him – make sure he doesn’t think he’s done something wrong.
  • Feed Bland Food – feed your dog a diet of cooked chicken and white rice for a few days.

How to Know When Dog Vomiting Means a Trip to the Emergency Vet

Safe is always best so if you have any reason to be worried, call your vet or the emergency clinic immediately and go there. Also, look for signs of poisoning or obstruction in addition to dog vomiting. These include chills, shaking, breathing difficulty, seizure, drooling or staggering. And when you check your dog’s vomit, if you see any more than a few drops of blood or any amount of yellow bile, take him to the emergency vet ASAP.

Different Ends of the Spectrum — Dog Vomiting in Puppies and Senior Dogs

Puppies and senior dogs vomit more than those in between. Follow these guidelines to look for danger signs but, if after your vet checks him over, don’t worry too much if you notice your dog vomiting almost daily, unless it is accompanied by other signs of illness. They both have less ability to keep food down than adult dogs.

With a bit of preparation you can be a Super-Vomitocious Dog Owner and be certain that your dog will be healthy and safe. Carrying a cloth and some Nature’s Miracle around doesn’t hurt either.

Thumbnail: Photography ©WilleeCole | Thinkstock.

This piece was originally published in 2010.

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