Diarrhea and vomiting are both signs that the body needs to eliminate waste that are hurting the body. Owners should be informed about the most common symptoms of dog´s diseases and vomiting is one of them. Identifying the causes and knowing what to do can (potentially) save your dog’s life.
Causes of vomiting
Among the minor causes there´s: eating a lot and quickly, exercising just after eating, or eating wrong foods (like chocolate or grass).
Sporadic vomiting is usually normal in a dog´s life and shouldn´t be cause for concern, as long as it isn´t accompanied by blood. Sometimes it has to do with the components of food, which many dogs don´t tolerate because of the preservatives and additives, worsening with diarrhea and skin allergies.
Other more serious causes include:
- Ingestion of a foreign body that can stick in the stomach (especially in older dogs).
- Kidney or liver conditions.
- Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
- Intestinal problems such as colitis.
- Infections such as parvovirus or distemper.
- Gastric ulcer, intoxication or poisoning.
If these vomiting are repeated frequently and other symptoms appear, such as diarrhea, breathing problems and swelling in the stomach, urgent attention and medical surveillance will be required. While the veterinarian evaluates him, he will remove the dog´s food for 24 hours, and only when the vomiting is under control and the cause is known, the dog will be allowed to drink water in small amounts several times a day (or moisturizing serum).
Tests used by the vet for diagnosis include blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds and endoscopies. If vomiting is caused by an infestation of worms (usually in puppies), it will be important to un-parasitize him.
What should I do if my dog vomits due to poisoning?
- Call the vet and receive his instructions on what to do while you arrive to the clinic; he´ll tell you if you should induce more vomiting or not, and if so, he will explain which product to use and how to use it. Keeping the calm is essential in order to understand the vet’s instructions.
- Take out your first aid kit.
Image: Riley Huntley.
- If inducing vomiting is recommended, you can give him 3% hydrogen peroxide (IMPORTANT: get the exact instructions on how to do this by the vet. The exact dose of hydrogen peroxide varies according to the weight of the dog and other factors).
- A sample of the vomit must be taken for analysis (or a sample of the product that was consumed by the dog).
Although the first few minutes are important, some veterinarians prefer the dog be taken immediately to the clinic to avoid wasting time with procedures applied by people without experience, possibly aggravating the situation.
My dog tries to vomit but gets nothing out
Gastric swelling is a painful accumulation of gas that occurs in the stomach and distends it, sometimes causing a stomach twist that interrupts blood supply. Breeds that are most prone to this type of condition are broad chest dogs like German Shepherd, Akita, Bullmastiff or Great Dane. If you have one of these breeds, you Always have emergency numbers of your veterinarian.
Great Dane breed
Action: Treat it as an emergency and immediately call your veterinarian. If he doesn´t intervene quickly, gastric torsion can be fatal.
When should I worry about the vomits?
When the dog shows any of these symptoms:
- Vomits several times a day and continues the next day.
- Vomits blood.
- The day of the vomit, he also shows lethargy and/or abdominal strain.
- Vomiting continues despite not having eaten food during the day.
Note: if you are interested in more information about dog vomiting, you can receive a notification when I publish the e-book in which I have been working during the past year, which includes information on accidents and vomiting prevention in dogs. Sign up for our email newsletter in order to get notified.
How to treat vomit stains
Vomit stains should be treated immediately, as the acid contained in the vomit, in combination with artificial coloring on dog´s food, tends to cause discoloration on carpets and cushions. Remove solid particles with a spoon, then soak the area with soda or cold water and let it stand for 1 minute, drying it afterwards with a towel. Repeat 2 or 3 times. If the area continues to be discolored, use a biological stain remover, designed for removing animal stains.