If your dog throws up, it can be unpleasant and concerning for everyone. You’ll need to clean up a mess, and your dog is likely feeling sick and possibly a little scared.
Every dog owner will probably have to deal with a vomiting dog at some point, but the root of your dog’s upset stomach isn’t always normal. It’s important to take time to consider the causes of your dog’s nausea, as well as other factors, to determine whether this was an isolated incident due to something it ate or a more serious issue that needs veterinary attention.
The many causes of dog vomiting
It can be quite difficult to pinpoint the reason your dog is vomiting because so many conditions can cause nausea and vomiting in canines.
One of the most common causes is from your dog eating something it shouldn’t, such as spoiled food. However, it can also be caused by much more serious things, like ingestion of a toxic substance.
Other conditions, including a variety of diseases, gastrointestinal conditions and obstructions, parasites, heatstroke and even cancer, can lead to either chronic or acute vomiting.
Consider recent events
Because there are so many potential causes of vomiting, you’ll need to do some investigating to rule certain things out and try to find the root cause. Carefully identifying your dog’s actions and surroundings can give you clues as to why the vomiting may have occurred. Even if you aren’t able to determine the exact cause, you might be able to determine whether the incident is quite serious or not.
Was your dog digging in the trash can or sniffing around some food left out? If so, it may have ingested some food that didn’t agree with its stomach or something rotten. Verify which food was ingested to ensure it wasn’t something toxic to dog.
Was your dog laying outside in the sun? If it had been outside for a while, it could very well be suffering from heatstroke, which can be very serious.
Was your dog just eating its normal food from a bowl? It could have eaten too fast and made its stomach upset. Did you recently change your dog’s food? The change may have been hard on its stomach.
Has your dog defecated that day, or did it poop after it vomited? If it’s been a while since your dog’s last bowel movement, it could have a gastrointestinal issue like a blockage, which will need to be examined by the vet.
Consider frequency of vomiting
It can also be helpful to think about how often your dog has vomited recently. High frequency of vomiting is generally cause for concern.
A single occurrence may not be much to worry about. Sometimes, dogs eat something that just doesn’t agree with them or eat too fast, causing a sick stomach. However, multiple, recurring occurrences of vomiting in a short period of time may indicate something more serious, like toxic poisoning.
Additionally, look for patterns. If your dog tends to throw up shortly after eating its food, it may actually have an intolerance or an allergy to an ingredient in the food and may need to switch to something different.
Are there accompanying symptoms?
Consider what other symptoms your dog is displaying around or after the time it vomits. Is it also experiencing diarrhea? Is it eating a lot of food or not eating at all? Is it able to walk properly, or is it staggering? Is it lethargic and unwilling to play?
Some symptoms, such as collapse, bloody stools, pale gums and rapid weight loss indicate that you should take your dog into the vet right away to prevent serious injury.
Treating vomiting appropriately
Immediately after your dog vomits, examine the surroundings and see if it got into something or what the cause may be. Keep a close eye on your dog to ensure it does not vomit again or that it is not displaying other concerning signs of illness.
If your dog isn’t showing other signs and has only vomited once, give it water and allow it to rest while monitoring it for the next day.
If your dog is vomiting repeatedly in a single day or multiple days in a row, you should take it to the vet as soon as you can. You should also seek veterinary care if your dog is vomiting as well as showing other signs of illness.
Be prepared to tell the vet all of the things you’ve noticed after your dog vomited—what it was doing, where it was, any additional symptoms it was showing, if it ate or defected recently and more. All of this information can go a long way in treating your dog’s condition as fast and efficiently as possible.