Puppies are just like babies in that they sometimes get sick. No pet owner likes to clean up vomit, but it is a normal response for puppies. All dogs do when they feel sick or may have eaten something they shouldn’t have.
There are many reasons why puppies vomit, so as a pet owner make sure you are always paying attention to how your pup feels and looks.
If you have ever wondered why your puppy vomits or how you can help him or her when they do, then keep reading because I have compiled everything I know to help you out.
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What Is Puppy Vomiting?
Puppy vomiting occurs in the same way it does in humans. Vomiting is when a dog uncontrollably throws up the contents in his or her stomach and it comes out of the mouth.
Did you know that dogs throw up quite regularly and it is normal for this type of animal?
So while you should not be overly worried when it happens, do keep track of how often your puppy does it.
What Are The Effects of Vomiting?
When a dog vomits for long enough, it can become dehydrated or lethargic. Other effects are muscle weakness, trembling, inflammation of the esophagus, and nutritional imbalances. Moreover, your puppy will also be feeling quite stressed out after vomiting, especially if it is their first time.
A dog should always have access to fresh drinking water so it can replenish itself after vomiting.
Always provide your puppy with lots of cuddles after throwing up so they can calm down and feel reassured that they will be ok.
Ways Of Identifying: When Your Dog Is Going To Throw Up
There are some tell-tale signs of when your puppy is going to be sick. If you notice your puppy gagging, licking their lips constantly, or repeatedly swallowing, then these are indicators that they might be close to vomiting.
The best thing to do as a dog owner is to be aware of these signs so you can perhaps move your puppy to a location, such as outdoors to vomit.
When your puppy vomits, they will likely do so because of something they ingested that did not sit right in their stomach.
Typically, a dog will throw up one or two times and be fine. Other times, if they are ill, then they may vomit a few times a day; this is when you should go to a vet.
This is similar to what people experience when undigested food travels up into the esophageal tract and into the mouth.
It is unpleasant and does not feel comfortable, but it is a common occurrence in puppies when they eat too fast, run after eating, or it can even be genetic. Regurgitation is nothing to worry about unless it becomes a frequent thing.
If your puppy begins gagging, first try to identify what could be causing him or her to do so.
Check their mouth and see if a piece of food or bone is stuck in their throat, and if there is not, then it could be a symptom of kennel cough or a reflex before vomiting.
The Distinction of Liquid Vomit
Liquid vomit in dogs is usually yellow or clear and is usually not a result of food. In fact, liquid vomit that is yellow is actually quite a serious matter that should be discussed with a veterinarian immediately.
The yellow coloring of vomit is bile, which can be related to liver issues or stomach irritation. Other times, liquid vomit can be foamy which is also of concern as well.
Vomiting vs. Regurgitation
While they both may look like the same thing, there are some distinct features between the two. Vomiting is when food from the stomach is expelled up through the throat and involves deep stomach convulsions.
Dogs vomit because they are ill or something they ate did not agree with them. Regurgitation is where undigested food comes up from the esophagus and occurs when the dog has eaten too fast or run around quickly after eating.
Vomiting is much more stressful for the puppy than regurgitating is.
Granular vs. Chunky Vomiting
While inspecting your puppy’s vomit is a rather disgusting thing to do, I believe it is an important way to tell if they are sick or not. Granular vomit and chunky vomit are of course both related to ingested food, but their texture or consistency differs.
Granular vomit is usually food that has sat in the stomach for some time before vomiting, while chunky vomit has not sat in the stomach for very long.
So now that you know the difference, you can assume that granular vomit is connected to the dog not feeling well, and chunky vomit is connected to the dog eating too fast and then running around.
Why Do Dogs Vomit?
There are many reasons why dogs vomit, some being serious while others are not. Here is a list of reasons why your puppy may be vomiting.
- Ate too fast
- Intestinal parasites (worms)
- Food intolerance
- Ingested something he or she should not have
- Infection of the gastrointestinal tract
- Viral infections
There are so many reasons as to why your puppy may have thrown up, but always check with a veterinarian to determine the real cause.
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# Motion Sickness
Motion sickness can induce vomiting quite frequently in puppies. Some dogs get sick riding in a car or airplane, so it is best to expose them to motion in vehicles as early as possible.
Speak with your vet about providing your puppy with some medication to help ease the motion sickness, or better yet, try to avoid putting them in situations that trigger motion sickness.
Nobody likes to clean vomit up in their car during a road trip!
# Stomach Troubles
Stomach troubles can be a major cause of vomiting. If your dog has inflammatory bowel disease, inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, or a stomach bug, then they may feel the urge to vomit.
When a dog has stomach problems that cause vomiting, this may be accompanied by diarrhea.
Gastritis is the number one cause of stomach problems in dogs and it is typically caused by ingesting garbage or spoiled foods.
Always keep garbage and human food away from your dog’s reach because it only takes one bite of something bad to cause gastritis or vomiting.
2. Ingesting Toxins, Grass, or Hairballs
It is common for dogs to ingest grass or cough up a hairball, but ingest toxins is a serious matter. Be cautious of pesticides used on lawns, certain plants and flowers, and food like chocolate or grapes; all of these things are extremely toxic for dogs to ingest.
When a dog eats grass, this can be a soothing method for its stomach so do not be alarmed.
Typically, a dog will vomit after eating a mound of grass or cough up a hairball. If you suspect your dog has consumed a toxin, take them to the vet immediately.
3. Eating Too Fast
Dogs love food and therefore, they tend to eat too quickly. When the stomach takes in a lot of food at a rapid pace, this can cause digestive upset which can lead to vomiting.
Try to put your dog’s food in a muffin pan so it slows down their eating.
4. Running Around After Eating
When a dog runs around or goes for a walk right after eating a meal, this can cause vomiting. Just like how people do not run marathons after eating a big dinner, a dog should avoid running around after eating a meal.
# Acute Infections
Acute infections like canine distemper or canine parvovirus can cause acute vomiting. Distemper and parvovirus are serious infections that need to be treated as soon as possible because they can be fatal.
5. Stress Vomiting
When puppies are upset because of separation anxiety or in a social situation they are uncomfortable with, they may vomit several times.
This is why it is important to practice leaving your puppy on his or her own for short periods of time so that they get used to longer periods of time away from you.
# Chronic Diseases
Chronic diseases in dogs, such as pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, diarrhea, liver disease, and kidney disease are just some of the many things dogs can develop that are related to vomiting.
Chronic disease is something that your dog constantly suffers from regularly and may involve taking medication to ease any pain or discomfort related to the disease.
Pancreatitis is a common chronic disease in dogs and is either managed with medication or by diet. This disease is caused by consuming a high-fat and high-protein diet that causes your dog’s pancreatitis to become inflamed, which leads to vomiting.
With pancreatitis, the color of the vomit may be yellow from bile.
7. Kidney Failure
When a dog is suffering from kidney failure, it may vomit quite regularly as well as not have much of an appetite. Other signs of kidney failure can be drinking a lot of water and feeling lethargic.
Knowing the signs of kidney failure can help save your dog’s life if caught early.
8. Liver Failure
Vomiting with liver failure is a very common symptom, as your dog is unable to keep food down. Moreover, if your dog has liver failure, he or she may throw up bile or have diarrhea also.
If you suspect your dog has liver failure, then get them to the vet immediately to run blood work.
9. Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes mellitus, or also known as high blood sugar, can cause dogs to vomit or feel tired. Typically, dogs who have high blood sugar can manage it with food, insulin, and exercise.
10. Addison’s Disease
Addison’s disease is a hormonal disorder that is caused by a lacking production of cortisol and aldosterone. A common symptom of this disease is vomiting accompanied by diarrhea and poor appetite.
If your dog is vomiting severely then do not hesitate to take it to the vet to determine if it has Addison’s Disease; there are success rates with early detection.
11. Cushing’s Disease
This is a common disease found in older dogs, and it is when the dog’s body produces an excess of cortisol. As a result, the dog can experience stomach discomfort, vomiting, and panting among other things.
When the dog vomits with Cushing’s disease, ensure they do not become dehydrated by supplying fresh drinking water at all times of the day.
Parasites in dogs are not uncommon, but it all depends on the type of parasite. If you notice your puppy vomiting up a parasitic worm, then this is a tell-tale sign that they have parasites.
There are many different ways for dogs to contract parasites so it is hard to pinpoint. That being said, never wait to take your dog to the veterinarian so they can seek medical treatment.
13. Stomach and Upper Intestinal Cancer
Stomach or upper intestinal cancer in dogs is a serious issue, and it is often accompanied by vomiting, especially if the dog has a large tumor in its stomach or intestines.
A vet can run x-rays to determine if there is a tumor growing so that it can be removed promptly.
14. Inner Ear Diseases
The ear is what gives, not only humans, but dogs balance too. Ear diseases that result in inflammation can cause vomiting and nausea in dogs.
Antibiotics can help get rid of the inflammation but the dog may have to deal with the disease and seek control for it from a vet.
When To Seek Medical Help
It is imperative to your puppy’s health that you are constantly observing him or her. You should keep track of how they are feeling every day so that when you notice they are not feeling well you can take them to the veterinarian.
If your dog vomits but is still playful and wants to eat meals, then this is something that probably does not need veterinarian attention. However, if your dog vomits and is lethargic or hides from you, then this is a sign that you should take them to the vet.
It is always better to have your puppy examined than to put it off and have them become extremely ill.
Vomit Color and Concerns
The color of your puppy’s vomit can reveal a lot about how they are feeling. Yellow vomit, which has bile in it, is not a good sign as this could be a symptom of liver or kidney disease.
If the vomit has blood then this is an immediate sign to seek professional help at the veterinarian’s office. Again, never take a chance on your puppy’s health!
Green vomit can either be related to bile or grass being expelled. Because dogs love to munch of grass, this could just be the grass coming up from the stomach.
However, in more serious situations, the green color could be because the dog ingested antifreeze or another toxin.
When a Dog Wants To Vomit But Can’t
When a dog tries to vomit but is unable to, it will usually gag or cough loudly. Check your dog’s abdomen and if it is swollen, seek help immediately.
If your dog is trying to vomit but can’t, make sure there is nothing stuck in their throat or that they were not stung by a bee (it happens).
Pale or Yellow Gums
A dog’s gums should be pink and vibrant, so if they appear pale or yellow then this could be a sign of liver disease, kidney disease, or even cancer.
A quick way to tell if your puppy’s gums are healthy is to press down on them gently with a finger and if they are pink then all is good.
Changes In Diet Or Food
Did you know that a simple change in your dog’s food can cause vomiting?
It takes time before a dog is comfortable with a new diet or food, and sometimes as they are adjusting to it their body rejects the food.
Don’t worry, just feed them small amounts until they get used to it.
Suspecting Your Dog Ingested a Toxin
It is impossible to keep our eyes on our puppies all day long, and this means they may get into something they should not. For example, toxins for dogs are chocolate, Poinsettias, grapes, seeds, anti-freeze, and even certain essential oils.
Ensure that any toxins are kept away from your dog and if possible, out of the house. When dogs ingest toxins they will vomit, have diarrhea, and stomach pains which can all lead to more serious diseases if not treated by a vet.
Examine The Vomit For Unusual Objects
Sometimes when a dog vomits, they throw up a distinct object of what it has ingested. For example, if they ingested a grape and throw it up, you may be able to see a whole grape lying on the floor.
When the dog throws up an object that you can tell what it is, this can be helpful in pinpointing what made them sick.
Check The Smell of The Vomit
All vomit smells unpleasant, but if you notice a very foul smell coming from your dog’s vomit, then this may be a sign to visit the veterinarian’s office immediately.
Foul-smelling vomit can be a hint of something more serious, such as liver disease. Always check your dog’s vomit, no matter how disgusting the smell.
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Occurrence of Vomiting
Taking record of how many times your puppy has vomited within 24 hours is imperative to their health. If your dog has vomited more than two times during the day, it may be a good idea to have them examined by a vet.
If vomiting occurs several times during the week, then you must seek help.
Take Notice of Any Changes In Behavior
Try to keep track of any changes in your puppy’s behavior, such as sudden lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, or hiding from you; these can all be signs of serious illnesses that need medical attention.
Bloating of Stomach
A bloating or swollen stomach is a sign of Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, known as a very serious and often fatal illness. It happens when a gas or food stretches inside a dog’s stomach and gas becomes trapped inside; this is a very painful disorder to endure and your puppy may start trying to vomit.
If you notice your puppy has a bloated or swollen abdomen, take them to the vet immediately for a check-up. The longer you ignore GVD, if that is was they have, the more serious it can become.
Fever and Pain
When your dog has an elevated body temperature, and/or is experiencing abdominal pain, this could be a sign of something serious. Check your dog’s nose to see if it is cold, and if it is not, you may be dealing with something severe.
Fever and pain can be a symptom of ingesting a toxin or contracting an infection.
Diarrhea is uncomfortable and inconvenient for both dog and owner. The best thing to do is bring a sample of diarrhea into the vet’s office to have tested.
I know, this is extremely unpleasant to do, but it could save your dog’s life.
Recent Spills or Accidents In the House
Always keep tabs on any spills or accidents that occur in the house. It is hard to do this, especially if you have kids. However, let every family member know that they need to be careful with spills or accidents so that the dog does not lick or eat any of it.
It only takes a second for a puppy to find a spill or a pile of food that has fallen on the floor.
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Check All Toys
Check every toy your dog plays with. Some toys are filled with contents that if ingested, can cause major stomach upset and vomiting. Toys like rawhide bones can become stuck in the stomach and cause vomiting over the course of several days.
You should always be watching your dog while he or she is playing with toys so you can intervene if needed.
Check Medications Your Dog Is On
Although medications for dogs are supposed to help ease certain illnesses or rid diseases, vomiting can be a side effect of a lot of medications.
Check with your vet if your dog is vomiting frequently after taking a medication; you do not want them to vomit to the point of becoming dehydrated. Your vet may even be able to change medications for your dog.
Preparing For a Visit to the Vet
There are lots of things you will need to prepare yourself for before going on a trip to the vet. You will be asked a lot of questions because your dog is unable to speak, and you should bring all medical records from previous veterinarian offices if you have not yet transferred them.
It is also important to have your pet insurance card on you if you have one.
Regular patients should have their medical records in the vet’s patient records. But there may be some questions the veterinarian will still want to ask you.
Always do your best to answer any questions about your puppy’s medical history so that you can get the best of help for him or her.
The vet will almost always perform a physical exam. This will involve weighing your puppy, checking his or her heartbeat, eyesight, temperature, and even a pat-down.
If your dog is not friendly at the vet’s, you may have to help the doctor perform the physical exam.
Fecal Sample: Testing For Worms
Depending on what illness your dog has, the vet may want a fecal sample to test for worms. Usually, dog owners are sent home with a sample container that you have to collect the feces in and return promptly.
If Parvo is suspected in your dog, the vet will run an ELISA test in the office of the feces. This can immediately return results regarding if your dog has Parvo or not.
Because it is such a serious and often fatal disease, the results come back within minutes to the vet.
Blood work can reveal a lot about your puppy’s health, so do not be surprised if the vet wants to run blood work. You may have to hold your dog while the vet takes blood.
X-ray or Ultrasound
These two tests may be done if your dog has broken a bone, has a tumor, has swallowed a foreign object, or is preparing for surgery.
Most veterinarian offices have high-quality equipment that can provide an array of x-ray or ultrasound tests.
If your dog is vomiting uncontrollably and there are still no answers as to what is causing it, the vet may want to perform exploratory surgery to check your dog internally.
Usually, this will not happen the day you bring your dog in unless it is a medical emergency.
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Finding The Cause of Vomiting
It is hard for most pet owners to find the root cause of their puppy’s vomiting. A veterinarian will be able to run some tests to figure out what is causing the vomiting and the best way to treat it.
The causes can be diagnosed through blood tests, urine samples, fecal samples, and even exploratory surgery.
Onset of Symptoms
Vomiting that occurs only once within 24 hours is not alarming, but when it occurs longer than 24 hours and is followed by other symptoms such as lethargy and lack of appetite, it instantly becomes serious.
Keep track of the onset of your dog’s symptoms so you can let your vet know.
Take a good look at your dog’s vomit, no matter how unpleasant it will be. If your dog’s vomit is bloody or yellow/green then seek veterinary attention.
When you phone the vet’s office, they may ask you what the vomit looks like so make sure you have documented its appearance either by writing it down or taking a picture to show.
Degree of Nausea
How nauseous your dog is can reveal how ill they are. Nausea accompanied by vomiting is serious and your vet will want to know this.
Severity of Vomiting
The vet will want to know how many times your dog has vomited, as this will give a clear indication of how sick he or she is. Dogs who vomit several times a day can become dehydrated quickly and very weak.
Presence of Other Signs
Vomiting that is accompanied by diarrhea, lethargy, no appetite, weakness, muscle tremors, or bloody stools are all serious signs of illnesses. Always keep track of other signs than vomiting and alert your vet of them.
A vet will do a physical examination of your puppy to determine the cause of vomiting. For example, during the examination, they might find a lump and consider that to be the root cause of the vomiting.
Physical examinations can reveal a lot about your puppy’s health.
Laboratory and Diagnostic Testing
Lab and diagnostic testing such as blood work is the best way for a vet to find the cause of vomiting; blood work reveals a lot about the dog’s health that is invisible to the eye.
Other Treatments to Help Vomiting
You may find it helpful to try fluid therapy, antibiotics, diet change, and medication to control vomiting. A diet of rice and chicken is usually recommended by veterinarians to help stop vomiting.
Change Meal Times
Switching up mealtimes may help ease vomiting. If your dog is eating dinner just before his nighttime walk, this can cause stomach upset because of undigested food jostling around in the stomach.
Try moving his meal time to after his walk or at least one hour before it.
Avoid Food Intolerances
Many dogs are intolerant to gluten or dairy, so ensure ingredients they are intolerant too are not in their food. This may mean switching to a different brand or type of dog food.
Feed A Plain Diet
A diet of plain rice and boiled chicken is a great way at stopping vomiting. This kind of diet is meant to be fed for one week, and afterward, your dog should show signs of improvement.
The rice helps bind liquids in the stomach, which can stop the feeling of nausea.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Each time your puppy throws up it loses electrolytes. Losing electrolytes means your puppy will start feeling weak and tired because electrolytes keep the body balanced and energized.
Keep a bowl of fresh water out for drinking at all times, and as soon as you notice your puppy not drinking, take them to a vet for I.V. fluids.
Offer Ice Chips
Leaving a bowl of ice chips is helpful in making sure your puppy is rehydrating after vomiting. Sometimes the ice chips are more appealing than a bowl of water.
Withholding food for 24 hours is beneficial in stopping vomiting.
Your dog’s stomach will need a break after vomiting, so do not put out food or treats and only give fresh drinking water.
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A vet will recommend you do not to feed your dog for 24 hours after they have vomited, and to give them a plain rice and chicken diet for a few days after the 24-hour fast.
It is important to reintroduce food slowly after your dog has not eaten for a whole day and has been sick.
Intravenous or Subcutaneous Fluids
If your puppy is not drinking water or eating ice chips after vomiting, your vet will want to get them on I.V. fluids as soon as possible to prevent dehydration.
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Parasitic Worm Medication
If the vet suspects worms as the cause of vomiting in your puppy, they will provide you with a worm medication to give to your dog daily. This may or may not be used in combination with an anti-vomit medication, so always ask.
Antibiotics If Needed
If your puppy has an infection of any kind, the vet will more than likely prescribe antibiotics to give. The antibiotics will clear any inflammation or infection the dog has.
Puppy Vomit Is Common
Although it can be scary to see your puppy vomit, it is actually a very common occurrence. However, always keep your eye on your puppy and if they are vomiting frequently then it is a good idea to seek professional veterinarian help.
Try not to stress about vomiting though because it is a normal reaction, especially as the puppy grows.
Puppy Vomiting: FAQs
# Why Do Some Dogs Eat Their Own Vomit?
Sounds gross, right? Well, this is a normal thing for dogs to do because they do not see it as anything but a food source.
Your dog will probably not be turned off by the smell of his or her own vomit, and so they may decide to eat it especially if it is chunky and not yet digested.
# How To Discourage Your Dog From Eating Own Vomit?
The best thing to do is clean up the vomit immediately. Remove the dog from the area in which they threw up in, and even use words such as “leave it” or “no” to keep them away from their vomit.
# Should I Be Alarmed If My Dog Eats Their Own Vomit?
No, you should not be alarmed as it is normal for dogs to do so.
# How Can I Tell When My Dog Is Going to Vomit?
Look for signs like gagging, dry-heaving, frequent licking of lips, or panting as signs that your dog is going to vomit soon.
# What Should I Do If My Dog Vomits Frequently?
Seek medical attention from a veterinarian if your dog is vomiting frequently. Because you do not want your dog to become dehydrated or lose too many electrolytes.
# When Should I Be Alarmed with The Vomiting?
If your puppy vomits once and goes back to being playful and eating meals then he or she is fine.
But, if your puppy vomits and then has diarrhea or a swollen stomach, then this is when you should be alarmed and go to the vet.
Now that you have educated yourself on why dogs vomit and the many signs and symptoms to look out for, you shoulder consider yourself an expert.
Not every case of vomiting will be the same or require the same treatment, so always speak with a veterinarian if there are any questions or concerns.
As a dog owner, it is best to provide your puppy with a comfortable environment and fresh drinking water while they are trying to feel better.
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