Friday, August 11, 2017

Dog Vomiting: What Canine Parents Need to Know

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 and 2. their heightened sense of smell reveals the actual food particles in it.

Some vomiting is normal for dogs. Dogs vomit for many reasons including an irritated stomach, eating too fast or too much, or sometimes because of nervousness. A large amount of the time, 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 know a bit about canine vomiting, what to do, and when to haul your butt to the emergency vet.

A dog being examined by a vet.

A dog being examined by a veterinarian. Photography by Shutterstock.

How to Know Your Dog is Going to Vomit

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 expulsion. 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:

  • Wretching – 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.
  • Stiff Stance – your dog may become rigid as he attempts to keep from vomiting.
  • 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 Can Make Your Dog Vomit


  • Chocolate
  • Avocado
  • Any fruit pits
  • Raisins or grapes
  • Mushrooms
  • Potato peelings

Household Products

  • Cleaning products – any cleaning product is dangerous to dogs, though the natural ones are far less toxic.
  • Anti-freeze
  • Auto oil
  • Cocoa mulch
  • Gardening chemicals
  • Some household plants.

Things We Forget About

  • Bones that splinter
  • Toys with removable parts
  • String, rubber bands and even dental floss
  • Sugarless chewing gum

How to Make Your Dog Vomit in an Emergency

Always try to call your vet or emergency clinic before considering inducing vomiting. Induce vomiting ONLY when it’s absolutely necessary and you’ve talked to a professional unless you suspect he’s eaten something dangerous (especially anti-freeze). 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 induce vomiting, 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 vomiting. An overdose can cause heart problems so try to be accurate when measuring. Wait ten 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 to Go 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. 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 — Puppies and Senior Dogs and Vomiting

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 they throw up 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.

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