Dogs can throw up (vomit) for many reasons. Often the cause is nothing serious, but some causes of vomiting require urgent veterinary attention.
Dogs might vomit due to something they’ve eaten, infection, inflammation, or other disease.
Call your vet if your dog is vomiting repeatedly for more than 24hours, even if your dog seems well.
If your dog is vomiting alongside not eating or drinking, being quieter than usual or not passing normal stools, you should call your vet
If your dog is trying to vomit but can’t because nothing is coming up – this is an emergency, call your vet immediately
Why do dogs vomit?
Dogs are natural scavengers and they are not fussy about what they eat, so their stomachs are designed to easily vomit up things that they shouldn’t have eaten. Most commonly dogs are sick because they have scavenged something that doesn’t agree with them when out on a walk!
Here are the major causes of vomiting:
Food is too rich or unfamiliar- Rich or unfamiliar food can irritate your dog’s stomach. This can be mild — your dog might be sick and then be fine — or more severe, causing your dog to need veterinary treatment.
Food sensitivities -Your dog might have a particular sensitivity to a certain food. A sensitivity might cause vomiting over a longer period, especially if the thing your dog is sensitive to is something they are fed regularly.
Toxic Foods - Dogs might eat foods that are fine for us, but toxic to them, like chocolate. This can cause vomiting as well as risking dangerous toxic effects.
Foreign objects- Dogs sometimes eat things that are not food and are not broken-down by their stomach (we call them ‘foreign bodies’ which are things like sticks, bones or plastic toys). These can block the gut as they move through the digestive system, causing an obstruction. Food cannot pass the obstruction so is vomited-up instead. This is serious and needs urgent treatment.
Medications- Certain medicines can cause vomiting as a side effect. Often this is nothing serious, but it is best to discuss it with your vet.
Dogs can also start vomiting due to:
Diseases of the liver or kidneys
Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
Inflammatory bowel disease
Bowel cancer and other cancers
Gut infections such as salmonella and parvovirus
Womb infection (pyometra)
Dizziness caused by neurological disease
What To Do if Your Dog Vomits
If your dog is sick once or twice, seems fine otherwise and is still eating and drinking, then there’s no need to worry. However, you should keep an eye on them.
Make sure to call your vet if your dog:
Vomits several times in one day.
Brings up blood in their vomit.
Is less than six months old and vomits more than a couple of times – puppies are more likely than adult dogs to become dehydrated from vomiting.
Has other symptoms as well as the vomiting like being quiet, not wanting to move, or not eating or drinking
Is trying to vomit but nothing is coming-up – this can be a sign of a twisted stomach (also known as Gastric Dilation Volvulus) which is an emergency!
Vomits after taking medication - sometimes it’s a one-off and your dog is safe to continue the medication, but you might need to stop the medication and start an alternative.
Vomits on a regular basis.