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Vomiting in Dogs

There are plenty reasons why your dog may vomit, and also for wanting to induce vomiting. Today, our Farmington Hills vets provide information on vomiting in dogs including causes, what you can do, and when you should be concerned.

Why Dogs Vomit

Vomiting is a common sign of an irritated stomach and inflamed intestines, or gastrointestinal exasperation in dogs. Vomiting in dogs can be something that just happens, so occasional vomiting in an otherwise healthy pup may not point to anything out of the ordinary.

As almost every dog owner understands when your dog vomits it is an unpleasant thing to witness and can be distressing. However, it is your pet’s way of emptying their stomach of indigestible material to prevent it from remaining in their system, so it isn't always a terrible thing.

Your dog vomiting may occur for several reasons. It could be that your dog ate too much food, too quickly, or too much grass.

Sometimes the cause could be more serious. Your dog could have swallowed something toxic, or it may be a sign of a serious illness, which could require a visit to see your vet.

Causes of Vomiting in Dogs

Several things can cause a dog to vomit, and like humans, even healthy dogs will fall ill for no apparent reason and recover quickly at times.

It’s possible your pooch could have eaten too quickly, dined on too much grass, or eaten something their stomach simply doesn't agree with. This type of vomiting may be a one-time occurrence and not be accompanied by any other symptoms. So, vomiting in dogs isn't always a reason for concern.

That said, potential causes of acute vomiting (sudden or severe) can be related to diseases, disorders, or health complications such as:

  • Heatstroke
  • Ingestion of poisons, toxins, or food
  • Reaction to medication
  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Pancreatitis
  • Change in Diet
  • Bloating
  • Intestinal obstruction

    When to Worry About Vomiting in Dogs

    Vomiting may be cause for concern and constitute a serious veterinary emergency if you see any of these signs:

    • Vomiting in conjunction with other symptoms such as lethargy, weight loss, fever, anemia, etc.
    • Suspected ingestion of a foreign body (such as food, objects, children’s toy, etc.)
    • Vomiting with nothing coming up
    • Chronic vomiting
    • Bloody diarrhea
    • Seizures
    • Vomiting a lot at one time
    • Vomiting blood
    • Continuous vomiting

    Chronic Vomiting

    If your dog has been vomiting frequently or it has become a long-term or chronic issue, this is cause for concern, especially if you’ve noticed symptoms including abdominal pain, depression, dehydration, blood, poor appetite, fever, weakness, weight loss, or other unusual behaviors.

    Long-term, recurrent vomiting can be caused by:

    • Cancer
    • Liver or kidney failure
    • Uterine infection
    • Constipation
    • Intestinal obstruction
    • Colitis

    As a protective pet owner, it’s always best to prioritize safety and caution when it comes to your dog's health and wellness. The best way to learn whether your dog’s vomiting is normal or not is to contact your vet.

    What to Do if Your Dog Won't Stop Vomiting

    Contact a vet immediately. There are tons of variables that could lead to your dog vomiting, so they should be examined by a professional as soon as possible. 

    Your veterinarian will likely need your help to find the cause of the vomiting based on your pup's medical history and recent activities. For example, if your dog had recently been sniffing around the fridge or the garbage, he may have gotten into and eaten something bad.

    How to Induce Vomiting in Dogs

    Panicked owners often find themselves searching "how to induce vomiting in dogs". Toxins cause gastrointestinal upset, but can also do serious damage when they are absorbed into the bloodstream as they get into the tissues. With decontamination, the goal is to eliminate the toxin from the body before it’s absorbed. If vomiting can be induced before the intestines absorb the toxin, toxicity may be prevented.

    That said, dog owners should know that inducing vomiting at home is not advised except under extreme and necessary circumstances!

    In addition, this should always be done under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian. Before taking this action, call your primary veterinarian or a veterinary poison control center for advice.

    Deciding whether your pooch should be induced at home depends on what and how much your dog has consumed, and how much time has passed - there's a chance that the substance or amount consumed wasn't toxic, so inducing vomiting wouldn't be necessary.

    Though vomiting can safely bring most toxins up, a few will cause more damage by passing through the esophagus a second time by moving through the GI tract. These include bleach, cleaning products, other caustic chemicals, and petroleum-based products.

    Also, if 3% hydrogen peroxide (the only safe home substance that can be used to induce vomiting in dogs) is incorrectly administered, it can enter the lungs and cause significant problems such as pneumonia.

    If your dog has a pre-existing health condition or there are other symptoms, inducing vomiting may result in other health risks. If induced vomiting is necessary, having a qualified veterinarian induce vomiting in-clinic is preferable.

    When Not to Induce Vomiting

    You should never induce vomiting in a dog that is:

    • Having a seizure or recently had a seizure
    • Lethargic
    • Unresponsive or unconscious
    • Already vomiting

    Note: Hydrogen peroxide should not be used to induce vomiting in cats, as it is too irritating to kitties' stomachs and can cause issues with the esophagus.

    What to Do if You Suspect Your Dog Has Ingested a Toxin

    Immediately contacting your veterinarian and your local poison control center is the best thing you can do after your pet ingests a toxin. This way, our Farmington Hills emergency vets can immediately provide advice about whether you should bring your pet in, or if they think you can or should induce vomiting at home.

    Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

    If your dog is vomiting and requires urgent care contact us right away! If you think that your dog has swallowed something dangerous, seek emergency vet care straight away.

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