Dog Vomiting: When Should You Be Concerned?

Dogs are notorious for eating things not considered edible by human standards. Dog vomiting may be caused by poor canine judgment and may not be much cause for concern. However, vomiting can also be a symptom of serious or even life-threatening conditions that require emergency medical attention and should be diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian.

Poor Canine Food Choice or Serious Concern?

Prompt attention from a veterinarian should be sought if your dog vomits multiple times in one day or for more than one day in a row. In addition, you should seek veterinary attention if your dog shows the following symptoms accompanied by vomiting:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Change in frequency of urination
  • Change in thirst
  • Blood in vomit or stool
  • Unusual or severe lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Collapse
  • Pale or white gums
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss

Conditions Characterized by Dog Vomiting

Usually, a dog who vomits once but proceeds to have normal bowel movements and eating habits will recover without incident. Dogs can also experience vomiting due to an upset stomach, a viral infection, or motion sickness. Similar to humans, dog vomiting due to motion sickness or an upset stomach is not always a major cause for concern. However, it is strongly recommended that chronic vomiting or vomiting accompanied by additional symptoms is evaluated by your family veterinarian in order to rule out potentially life-threatening underlying causes.

Chronic vomiting in dogs may be a symptom of a variety of conditions, including:

  • Infectious diseases
  • Dietary allergiesInflammatory bowel disease
  • Metabolic disease (such as kidney or liver failure)
  • Cancer

Acute and sudden vomiting in dogs may also be a symptom of a variety of conditions, including:

  • Parasites in the intestines
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Parvovirus
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Bloat
  • Ingestion of a toxic substance

Treatment for Dog Vomiting

Treatment largely depends on the underlying cause of why a dog is vomiting. Veterinarians will often conduct a number of fairly simple diagnostic tests such as blood work, fecal analysis and x-rays to pinpoint an accurate diagnosis. In some cases, an abdominal ultrasound may be recommended to evaluate internal organs more extensively.

Common treatments for dog vomiting caused by gastroenteritis, include giving the dog special food cooked at home such as rice and chicken (the food may also be purchased in a can) or anti-nausea medication. More serious conditions often require more intensive therapy. It is very important that you follow your doctor’s instructions and are candid with your family veterinarian.

What Dog Owners Should Do When in Doubt

It is often difficult to clearly identify if a dog vomited and exhibited lethargy due to gorging on dog food after running around too much, or if a dog vomited due to a potentially serious illness. When in doubt, consult your family veterinarian.

Promptly finding the right treatment plan for your sick dog can help get rid of symptoms faster. In many cases, such as vomiting due to consumption of a toxic substance, early treatment could save your dog’s life.

How to Help Your Sick Dog

BluePearl Veterinary Partners has emergency pet hospitals open 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We are available if your pet has an emergency when your family veterinarian’s office is closed. We also have specialists available by appointment if your veterinarian feels that a referral is necessary.