A sick dog with an ice pack on his head.
A sick dog with an ice pack on his head. Photography ©WilleeCole | Thinkstock.

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.
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There are very few dog owners who haven’t had to scrub dog vomit from the carpet at least once. But, from devouring a chunk of their favorite chew toy to serious gastrointestinal conditions, vomiting is a symptom with a long list of potential causes — so how do pet owners know when throwing up is no big deal and when it could be something serious?

“If your dog vomits once, but is otherwise behaving normally, there’s probably nothing to worry about,” explains Dr. David Dilmore, a veterinarian with Banfield Pet Hospital. What can be cause for concern, however, is when your dog’s vomiting is prolonged or accompanied by other symptoms. “It’s important to monitor your pet for behavior changes, repeat vomiting, or other signs of illness,” he adds.

 

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

What causes dogs to vomit?

According to Dr. Stephen Katz, veterinarian and founder of the Bronx Veterinary Center in New York, one of the first things a veterinarian might consider when determining the cause of vomiting is the age of your pet. “If the dog is younger than five years old, then chances are they ate something that made them sick … but as dogs age, they can develop more serious conditions involving their organs, such as the liver, pancreas or intestines, that can also cause a symptom like vomiting.”

Dilmore adds it’s important for pet owners to remember that vomiting itself may not be a disease. It can, however, be a sign of another condition your dog may be experiencing. “A single episode of vomiting can be related to various things, including but not limited to eating too much, eating too fast, eating something unfamiliar or getting into garbage,” he explains.

However, pet owners should seek immediate veterinary care if their dog is vomiting repeatedly or vomiting while experiencing symptoms such as diarrhea, lethargy, lack of appetite, pain or general discomfort, or disorientation. “These symptoms can be a sign of infection, pancreatitis, liver or kidney disease, an intestinal foreign body, and various diseases specific to the intestines themselves, including inflammatory disease, parasitism, and even cancer,” Dilmore warns.

While vomiting can sometimes be cause for concern, according to Dr. Gary Richter, veterinarian and author of The Ultimate Pet Health Guide, it’s most commonly caused by a dog accidentally swallowing something that isn’t food, like a sock, or getting into the garbage to sample last night’s leftovers. “There are a million reasons dogs start vomiting, but it’s most commonly because they ate something they shouldn’t have,” he explains. “However, it can also be caused by a host of other conditions ranging anywhere from infection to some sort of organ disease to cancer — it really runs the gamut.”

Preventing vomiting in your dog

As there are so many different causes for vomiting, there are ways you can prevent it. According to Dilmore, there are a few ways you can help prevent your dog from throwing up, include watching them while they eat to ensure they don’t gobble up their food too quickly. Pet owners should also avoid giving dogs “human” food that could upset their stomach — especially without consulting your veterinarian.

“You’ll also want to make sure to take fresh, cool water and a bowl with you on walks, hikes and to the dog park. Streams, lakes, and shared bowls can contain diseases like Giardia and Leptospirosis that can harm your pet,” he adds.

Diagnosis and treatment

The treatment for vomiting in dogs will vary widely depending on the underlying cause. Dr. Richter notes that sometimes it will be a matter of letting your dog’s stomach rest by offering bland food like chicken and rice, or even withholding food for a day (only do this after consulting with your veterinarian) and offering plenty of water instead. Some medications can also be appropriate, depending on the cause of vomiting. Katz notes that antibiotics may also be given when it’s related to a bacterial problem. Depending on the severity of the vomiting, your dog could require treatment for dehydration.

A dog at a vet check with his human. Photography ©shironosov | Getty Images.

“Your veterinarian may also choose to run a blood test to check your pet’s organ function, because issues like hypertension or renal failure can be the extreme cases of what could be causing your dog to vomit,” he adds. Another serious reason your dog could be vomiting is if they consumed something that’s now blocking their intestines, causing them not to be able hold down food or water. “A dog ingesting a foreign body can happen at any age, and that’s something that could require surgery,” Katz says.

Either way, consult your pet’s veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment when your dog has been vomiting, particularly if you’re considering OTC medications or at-home treatments. “Each case is different, so be sure to reach out to your veterinarian to decide if your dog needs a certain type of medication,” Dilmore concludes. “Some over-the-counter human medications can be harmful to pets if not used appropriately and under the guidance of a veterinarian.”

Thumbnail: Photography ©WilleeCole | Thinkstock.

Read Next: Why is My Dog Throwing Up White Foam?

 

52 thoughts on “Dog Vomiting: What to Know and What to Do When Your Dog Throws Up”

  1. MY 9 yr. AireDale Terrier seems to drink a lot of water,wether its after he eats or he hasent eat .Iv only had this guy for a couple mounths. would this be a normal thing hes doing? should I be concerned about this thank you..

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  10. I like that you mention that you should look into taking your pet to the vet if they continue vomiting since it could be a sign of another condition. My husband and I have been worried about our dog for a while because he throws up frequently. I think we should look into finding an emergency pet care facility for help.

  11. A piece of seasoned chicken fell off the kitchen counter and the dog ate it, it was miss dashes lemon pepper and it has onions, garlic, lemon pepper, turmeric, coriander and black pepper. it was lightly seasoned, my dog was vomiting repeatively after he ate it and vomited white foam each time but now he has stopped vomiting and he is laying next to me and fell asleep. What should i do, I really hope he is okay but he was moving around fine but then he fell asleep.

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  15. I have a black lab pup. She’s 7 months old. She throws up about once a week. Typically only once or twice in a night per week and then she’s fine. Her bowel movements are fine and she doesn’t really eat too fast anymore. Should we set up an appointment with the vet?

  16. One of my neighbor’s dog is about eight years old, and yesterday, my son saw him vomiting continuously. It says here that it could be caused by several conditions, like the liver or pancreas. We will let him know to take him to a vet for better results.

  17. When you think nothing is wrong with your pet but suddenly he was vomiting almost every time you feed him. That is what I have noticed with my dog, he was vomiting every time he’s eating and that made me wonder. Dog vomiting is a common thing in puppies that’s what I have read. Now to avoid dog vomiting, I am teaching him to eat slowly or else he’ll dog vomiting around our house and that’s not a good thing too. I also found out that there’s more to vomiting! Here are the list guys about vomiting and other serious stuff about dog vomiting: https://ultimatepetnutrition.com/dog-vomit/

  18. Hey DOGSTER you have a nice article but do know that DOG’s throw up because they eat CHOCOLATE/COCO which is HARMFUL AND COULD KILL them ? for more detailed info visit https://www.thedogbreed.online/2019/07/why-do-dogs-keep-vomiting-up.html
    Happy DOGGING

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  20. It helped a lot when you mentioned how vomiting could be a sign that your dog may be experiencing another condition with vomiting symptoms. My dog has been throwing up for the last 3 days and might need medical help soon. I’ll see if I can find a veterinarian that can help my dog feel better.

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  23. My chihuahua has been making a cough/hacking noise for a good while now. 2 days ago (Saturday) he spent the night throwing up, since then he’s thrown up 2 more times (once on Sunday) and (once on Monday). However, he acts completely fine. He eats, drinks and plays around like nothing is wrong. Should I go ahead and make an appointment?

  24. I have a 12 year old Staffordshire terrier, he started vomiting yesterday yellowish bile with food. Now just bile. He will not drink water or eat. How long is it a dog can vomit & not eat or drink before taking to a vet? I don’t have money as I am disabled.

    1. Hi Pam,

      Here are some articles on affording vet services that might help as well as some articles that might provide additional insight. We really suggest getting your dog to the vet ASAP.
      https://www.dogster.com/dog-health-care/affordable-vet-care-for-your-dog
      https://www.dogster.com/dog-health-care/affordable-pet-care-for-dog-parents
      https://www.dogster.com/dog-health-care/need-help-with-vet-bills-ideas-that-anyone-can-do
      https://www.dogster.com/dog-health-care/why-is-my-dog-vomiting-yellow
      https://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/does-your-dog-throw-up-bile

  25. My sister’s dog is vomiting at the moment, and your article is helpful in giving us first aid tips, As you’ve said give him fluids and keep him warm. We are now preparing things for us to take him to a nearby veterinary clinic.c

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  29. This offers some valuable advice, but one thing I’d recommend also mentioning is parvo. Especially for younger pups, vomiting could be a sign the’ve been exposed to this virus and time is of the essence if that’s the case.

  30. I’m glad you pointed out that we should only induce vomiting in our dog if we’ve consulted with a vet first, since it should only be done when absolutely necessary. My dog has thrown up a few times today, and I’m worried he may have eaten something harmful when I wasn’t looking. I’ll take your advice and call a vet right away.

  31. Thanks for helping me understand that most of the vomiting can be normal to dogs, but it must be checked still since there can be an underlying issue as well. I will follow your advice and look for a vet tomorrow. Our dog just puked a yellowish liquid this evening that is why I am really worried since it is different from what I saw before.

  32. I believe my puppy ( 10 weeks old, I’ve had her for 2.5 weeks) may be vomiting because she is a Lab, eating FAST, like a Lab…then playing hard! Tonight she had a 1.5 hour break between eating and playing… had diarrhea when I took her out (thank GOD we were OUT), then played, then vomited. 🙁 . Vet appt. will be next week.

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  35. Hi my Chihuahua bumped her head realy hard yesterday but she was fine and now this morning she’s throwing up white foam and yellow foam what could it be

    1. Hi there Elizabeth,

      Thanks for reaching out! We suggest taking your dog to the vet ASAP. We hope your dog feels better!

  36. I’m glad that you talked about how calling your vet or the emergency clinic will be your best vet if you see any drops of blood in your pet’s vomit. My wife has been worried sick about our 8-year old huskie’s vomiting. She won’t stop throwing up, and we’re sure that we didn’t give her anything that could have caused it. There aren’t any traces of blood yet, but we’ll be sure to phone in on our local veterinary clinic immediately.

    1. Hi Kit,

      Hope your dog feels better. Here’s some insight on finding an emergency vet and what to do if your dog is throwing up blood:
      https://www.dogster.com/dog-health-care/when-should-you-call-an-emergency-vet-and-how-do-you-find-one
      https://www.dogster.com/dog-health-care/dog-vomiting-blood-what-to-do

  37. I have to mention also if your dog vomits what looks like coffee grounds, this is an emergency, get to a vet asap, as they are bleeding internally. I found out too late for my dog.

  38. Pingback: 10 Reasons Your Dog Might Be Throwing Up

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