A common symptom of gastrointestinal upset in dogs is vomiting. Today, our Powder Springs vets list the common causes of vomiting in dogs and explain how you can treat it.
Why Dogs Vomit
When dogs vomit it is often a sign of an irritated stomach, inflamed intestines, or gastrointestinal upset.
Almost all dog owners know how unpleasant or distressing it can be to see your dog vomit. However, it is key to remember that this is your pup’s way of emptying their stomach of indigestible material to prevent it from staying in their system, or from reaching other areas of their body.
Causes of Vomiting In Dogs
There are a handful of things that can make a dog vomit, which isn't uncommon. There are situations where even healthy dogs fall ill for no visible cause and recover quickly.
It’s possible that your pooch may have eaten too quickly, eaten too much grass, or consumed something that disagreed with their stomach. This kind of vomiting could be a one-time occurrence that isn't accompanied by other symptoms. So, you might have nothing to be concerned about.
However, acute vomiting (sudden or severe) could be caused by a disease, disorder, or health complication such as:
- Change in diet
- Reaction to medication
- Ingestion of poisons, toxins, or food (garbage, chocolate, anti-freeze)
- Bacterial or viral infection
- Liver failure
- Kidney failure
When To Worry About Your Dog's Vomiting
You may have reason to be worried if your dog's vomiting is accompanied by other symptoms such as the ones below, and can be a veterinary emergency:
- Vomiting a lot at one time
- Vomiting with nothing coming up
- Vomiting blood
- Chronic vomiting
- Continuous vomiting
- Vomiting in conjunction with other symptoms such as lethargy, weight loss, fever, anemia, etc.
- Bloody diarrhea
- Suspected ingestion of a foreign body (such as food, objects, children’s toy, etc.)
Causes of Chronic Vomiting In Dogs
If you notice that your dog has been vomiting frequently or it has turned into a long-term or chronic problem, this is cause for concern, especially if you’ve noticed symptoms including diarrhea, abdominal pain, depression, dehydration, blood, lack of appetite, fever, weakness, weight loss, or other unusual behaviors.
These can be caused by:
- Uterine infection
- Liver or kidney failure
- Intestinal obstruction
As a dog owner, it’s always best to prioritize safety and caution when it comes to the health of your pooch. The best way to find out whether your dog’s vomiting is normal or not is to contact your vet.
When Your Dog Won’t Stop Vomiting
Your vet will need your help to find the source of your dog's vomiting, based on your pet's medical history and recent activities. For example, if your dog has been curiously exploring the kids’ rooms or you’ve caught them sniffing the refrigerator, it’s possible they may have gotten into something they shouldn’t have.
You spend every day with your dog, so you can be your vet’s best source of information when it comes to diagnosing the issue. Your vet can then test, diagnose and treat the condition.
What To Know About Inducing Vomiting in Dogs
In a panic, many dog owners have typed "how to induce vomiting in dogs" into an online search engine. Toxins cause gastrointestinal upset and can do serious damage when they are absorbed into the bloodstream and make their way into the tissues. With decontamination, the goal is to eliminate the toxin from the body before it has the chance to be absorbed. If vomiting occurs before the intestines absorb the toxin, toxicity can be prevented.
Although, dog owners should know that inducing vomiting yourself at home is not advised, except under extreme circumstances. This should always be done under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian. Before inducing vomiting, call your primary care veterinarian or a veterinary poison control center for advice.
Whether vomiting should be induced at home depends on what and how much your dog has consumed, as well as how much time has passed - there's a chance that the substance or amount consumed wasn't toxic, so inducing vomiting wouldn't be required.
While vomiting might be able to bring up most toxins safely, some will cause more damage when they pass 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 including pneumonia.
In addition to this, if your dog has a pre-existing health condition or there are other symptoms, this can result in health risks. If it's required, it's best to have a qualified veterinarian induce vomiting in their office.
When Not to Induce Vomiting
Vomiting should never be induced in a dog that is:
- Already vomiting
- Having a seizure or recently had a seizure
- Unresponsive or unconscious
Additionally, it's also important to note that 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.
How Veterinarians Induce Vomiting
At Powder Springs Animal Clinic, we will carefully examine your dog to determine if it is safe to induce vomiting. If it's determined that this action should be taken, special medication with minimal side effects is used (as opposed to hydrogen peroxide). If your dog does experience any side effects, we are equipped to administer proper care and medication.
What To Do If You Think Your Dog Has Ingested A Toxin
The best thing you can do after your pet ingests a toxin is immediately contact your veterinarian or poison control. This way, our Powder Springs 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.