The primary-gastrointestinal and extra-gastrointestinal are the two main categories of causes of vomiting, according to Alex Schechter, DVM, founder of Pure Paws Veterinary Care. Extra-gastrointestinal causes include metabolic, endocrine, and systemic disease (kidney/liver failure), as well as pancreatitis. Primary GI causes include dietary indiscretion, infectious elements (parasites/bacterial/viral), ingestion of foreign material, inflammatory bowel disease, acid reflux, and other conditions.
The color of your dog’s vomit can give you some idea of what’s going on within their body and whether there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
According to integrative veterinarian Carol Osborne, DVM, of the Chagrin Falls Pet Clinic in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, “vomit can be any color, from clear to yellow to red to brown.”
Additionally, it can be a mirror of whatever the dog ate, like something colored with food. If it’s a vivid green or teal hue, it can be poisonous mouse or rat poison, in which case you should take your dog to the veterinarian straight once.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that any of the aforementioned disorders can result in vomit being any color, so don’t use color as your only indicator of what the underlying condition may be.
Vomit that is yellow or green or has a frothy appearance typically contains bile, a chemical made by the liver that aids with digestion. A buildup of stomach acid may be the cause of your dog’s foamy vomit. If they go too long without eating, or if they vomit frequently or on an empty stomach, dogs may occasionally vomit bile.
Bilious vomiting syndrome, a more uncommon condition, may be the cause of morning bile vomiting (BVS). Feeding your dog more regularly or later at night may help to alleviate this problem, but you should see your veterinarian for a diagnosis.
If your dog ate grass, leaves, or other plant material that upsets the stomach, green vomit may also result. Although it’s a widely held belief that dogs chew grass to make themselves sick and cause vomiting, there isn’t conclusive evidence to support this theory. A 2008 study indicated that although 79% of dogs were claimed to have eaten grass, just 9% were reported to appear ill before, and only 22% were reported to vomit afterward. Eating grass can cause vomiting. Even so, whether or not your dog is chewing on grass, it is always advisable to take them to the doctor if they show signs of lethargy, diarrhea, or weight loss. Additionally, if your dog consumes unidentified plant material and begins to vomit, call your veterinarian straight away because some plants are hazardous to dogs.
Vomit that is bright red signals that your dog is throwing up blood (called hematemesis). This may be a symptom of digestive disorders, stomach inflammation (gastroenteritis), a severe injury, or poison consumption. Vomit that is dark red, dark brown, black, or looks like coffee grounds may also indicate that your dog is vomiting blood, but the color of the vomit indicates that the blood has been digested or at least half digested. It is always necessary to see a veterinarian if your dog is making this type of dark vomit as it may indicate intestinal blockage, stomach ulcers, or another dangerous problem (note that vomiting any color can be a sign of blockage, or a serious condition).
If a dog eats something that is brown in color, such as chocolate (which is dangerous to dogs; if you believe your dog has eaten chocolate, get emergency veterinarian attention), some dogs will vomit a dark brown substance. It’s possible that your dog engaged in coprophagia if the vomit has a distinct smell. While this is not immediately concerning, it should be discouraged because coprophagia can expose humans to deadly parasites and bacteria via dog licks.
“According to Dr. Schechter, gastrointestinal parasites are one of the most frequent secondary causes of vomiting and diarrhea in the New York Dog population. ” The transmission of many of these parasites occurs through fecal-oral contamination. This means that your pet is significantly more likely to contract one of these parasites if they consume human waste or scent dung on the ground.
How frequently has your dog puked? Typically, one or two vomiting episodes are less worrying than many occurrences that don’t seem to stop. Every dog vomits occasionally. In most situations, Dr. Osborne explains, it is not concerning if they just throw up once. It’s important to speak with your veterinarian if your pet vomits frequently (more than once or twice in a 24-hour period). Withhold food and drink from adult dogs (not pups) for at least four to six hours after the last bout of vomiting to give the dog’s stomach time to settle.
Regurgitation vs vomit
Vomiting can resemble regurgitation, but the two are not the same.” According to Dr. Osborne, regurgitation is the unintentional reflux of food before it enters the stomach. “When someone regurgitates, the food looks the same as it did when it was swallowed. It happens naturally and occasionally surprises both the dog and the owner. The dog feels queasy with the vomit. Many dogs will display nervous expressions.
Though less frequent than vomiting, regurgitation is not always less dangerous. If your dog throws up their food only once, there’s probably no cause for concern. But repeated regurgitation is abnormal and may point to a significant medical condition. ” According to Dr. Osborne, regurgitation typically results from a problem with the esophagus, the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. “Especially in younger dogs, congenital esophageal issues like megaesophagus—caused by aberrant nerve function to the esophagus—are likely the most frequent cause of regurgitation. Other conditions that might cause regurgitation include hypothyroidism, myasthenia gravis, tumors that may be blocking the esophagus, hiatal hernias, and esophageal constriction. Consult your veterinarian about regurgitation episodes to identify the underlying cause.
What to do if your dog is vomiting
Vomiting may only be a minor problem. Simple stomach discomfort that goes away fast or a true emergency. But how can you assess how seriously your dog is throwing up?
First, go to the vet without fail if the vomiting is continuous. A sign of an emergency can also be any substantial amount of blood in the vomit. Vomit that is consistently brilliant red, black, dark red, or dark brown, as well as vomit that resembles coffee grounds, is an emergency even though a small streak of red blood may be the result of simple stomach irritation (frequently brought on by the vomiting itself). If it’s the middle of the night or on the weekend, head straight to your veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital. Your dog may be bleeding internally and requires quick attention.
Vomiting is another symptom of a food allergy. Watch out for any extra symptoms like skin irritation and itching because allergy-related vomiting can happen hours or days after eating. Many types of commercial dog food have a broad list of fillers and food additives in them that can give dogs a variety of symptoms, such as skin allergies, vomiting, and diarrhea. Fresh food, which includes fewer, higher-quality ingredients, allowing you to keep a closer eye on exactly what your dog is eating and may be an option if you suspect a food allergy. After moving to a fresh diet, many pet owners note a significant improvement in their dog’s digestive health.
Be sure to look into any associated behavior when it comes to vomiting. In between episodes of vomiting, does your dog appear to be performing normally or exhibiting other symptoms (such as appetite loss, sadness, lethargy, diarrhea, or constipation)? The dog has to see the vet if the vomiting is coupled with other symptoms of disease.
Even though your dog seems to bounce back fast from these episodes, frequent vomiting in dogs is a clue that something is amiss.
Dr. Osborne advises taking action if the dog has been throwing up a few times each week for some time.
Vomiting might not be a cause for concern, but it’s crucial to remain vigilant and watch for warning signs at all times. If you put off taking your dog to the vet, a little condition may worsen and become a bigger health concern.
reviewed by Burrwood Veterinary’s founding physician, Alex Schechter, DVM. Prior to that, he established Pure Paws Veterinary Care.
How frequently does a dog typically urinate?
Depending on the intensity and underlying cause of the problem, a dog’s vomiting may require a variety of treatments. The type of treatment your dog receives may also depend on its general health.
the right time to take your dog to the vet It’s crucial to catch the symptoms early, so keep a close eye on your dog. You should visit a veterinarian if your dog throws up more than once a day, continuously, or for more than 24 hours. It’s possible that a dog occasionally passing mucus is nothing to worry about. However, you should take your dog to the doctor if they frequently urinate mucous. If your dog is really young, very elderly, or suffers from other conditions, you should also take them to the vet if they vomit.
Fortunately, many of these ailments are curable. To assist the veterinarian in making the right diagnosis, be sure to clearly explain everything.
How your dog’s condition will be assessed by the veterinarian. Your dog will be examined at first by the vet. Then, utilizing what you’ve taught them and what they discovered throughout the test, they might choose to do some tests like these:
- a blood test
- stool tests
Your veterinarian might occasionally need to perform exploratory surgery. The vet can advise the most effective course of action if they are aware of what is ailing your dog.
how a veterinarian will handle a dog’s vomiting. If an infection is the cause of the vomiting, your veterinarian may recommend antibiotics. Antiemetics, which are used to control vomiting, may be included in other drugs. The dog may need hydration therapy in other circumstances. In serious circumstances, surgery may be advised.
Treatment may be as easy as changing one’s diet if the veterinarian filters out any underlying problems. Your veterinarian might suggest that you give your dog some home-cooked food, such as skinless chicken, boiled potatoes, and rice. These may be suitable for a dog with an upset stomach in the short term, but they do not provide a balanced diet for long-term care. Give your dog the same attention you would a sick kid. Feeding your dog raw food can expose them to bacteria like salmonella.
Is it typical for dogs to vomit once every week?
Some dogs, like some people, have sensitive stomachs or will even vomit when they are hungry. There is often no cause for concern as long as the dog is eating, drinking, acting normally, displaying no other symptoms of illness, and not vomiting more frequently.
But to be certain, arrange a visit with your veterinarian. Have them conduct a thorough physical examination, and be sure to provide them with information on your dog’s nutrition, other behaviors and symptoms, how frequently and how much your dog vomits, and how it appears.
Is occasional vomiting in dogs normal?
Vomiting is a clinical symptom that can be associated with a wide range of illnesses or issues; it is not a diagnostic in and of itself. Dogs frequently vomit, so it’s possible that occasional vomiting in a healthy dog doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong.
How do I recognize vomiting?
Vomiting may start with a stage of nausea, during which the dog may show signs of restlessness or anxiety. The dog might lick its lips, spit, and swallow several times. Vomiting itself involves hard abdominal muscular spasms that cause the evacuation of liquid, foam, or food. Vomiting requires a lot of work, which could upset the dog.
It’s critical to distinguish between vomiting and regurgitation, which is typically linked to issues with the esophagus and is a more passive process. The following characteristics can be used to distinguish vomiting from regurgitation:
- Usually, vomiting requires effort and abdominal contractions
- Usually, regurgitation happens swiftly and without abdominal contractions.
- Right after eating or drinking, regurgitation frequently happens.
How serious is vomiting in dogs?
Depending on what caused the vomiting, yes. Within 24 hours, many cases of acute vomiting resolve on their own, without the need for treatment (and without identifying the underlying reason). In order to assess whether the dog has a more serious illness or whether the vomiting has led to any metabolic changes, medical attention should be sought if the vomiting does not stop within a day or two. If vomiting is accompanied by one or more symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, appetite loss, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or dehydration, or if the vomit is bloody, it’s critical to determine the underlying cause and administer appropriate care.
What are some of the causes of vomiting?
Vomiting may be brought on by a slight intestinal upset, intestinal parasites, or dietary errors such as consuming food that has gone bad, such as some insects or table trash. Vomiting, however, can also be a symptom of more severe conditions, including allergies, bacterial or viral infections, inflammatory conditions like pancreatitis, intestinal obstruction from foreign bodies (something eaten that gets stuck in the intestines), organ dysfunction like liver or kidney failure, or cancer.
“Vomiting can create major consequences even when the source is a mild intestinal discomfort.”
If therapy is not started quickly enough to prevent severe dehydration and nutrient loss, vomiting, even when brought on by a mild digestive disturbance, can result in catastrophic complications, including death.
What types of tests are performed to find the cause of vomiting?
The problem might not be serious if your dog does not appear to be systemically ill (that is, if your dog is not lethargic or has not lost their energy). A minimum of three tests will be run in this situation to rule out particular parasites or diseases.
Your veterinarian will conduct a battery of tests in an effort to pinpoint the precise cause of the sickness if vomiting is accompanied by a number of other clinical indications. The following diagnostic tests may be performed:
- tests on blood and urine
- With or without barium or another contrast agent that can be seen on X-rays, radiography
- endoscopically guided stomach and intestinal tract biopsies
- abdominal exploration surgery
For a more thorough overview of the additional tests your veterinarian might run, refer to the handout “Testing for Vomiting.” Once the diagnosis has been made, a more targeted course of treatment may involve specialized drugs, dietary changes, or surgery.
How is vomiting treated?
The diagnosis will determine the precise course of treatment for any underlying medical conditions.
Your veterinarian could suggest that you refrain from giving your pet any food for a period of time between 6 and 48 hours if the reason is believed to be dietary misconduct. After that, you could be instructed to give your dog bland, readily digestible food. Your veterinarian may advise feeding cooked chicken and boiled rice in little, frequent amounts, or they may prescribe a specific prescription diet. It’s crucial that your dog skips any additional meals during this time. Dehydration can be avoided by having access to free water. The portion size can be gradually raised and the regular diet can be gradually introduced over the course of several days if the dog is making good progress while on this diet.
Minor cases of vomiting can also be treated with antiemetic medications like maropitant citrate (marketed under the name Cerenia), anti-motility medications like metoclopramide (marketed under the name Reglan), or anti-inflammatory medications like metronidazole (brand name Flagyl). Sucralfate, also known by the brand names Sulcrate and Carafate, is a prescription medication that soothes the stomach and intestines.
This method enables the body’s natural repair processes to solve the issue. Within two to four days, you should start to feel better. Your veterinarian may adjust the medication or run additional tests if your dog’s condition does not improve within 48 hours of treatment. It’s crucial to stay in touch with your vet office so that the condition of your pet can be appropriately treated.