If your dog is experiencing gastrointestinal upset, vomiting may be a common symptom. There are various factors that can cause this condition. To provide helpful information and guidance, our Madison vets have shared what you should be aware of and the necessary steps to take.
Why is my dog vomiting?
Experiencing vomiting is a typical indication of gastrointestinal discomfort, which may result from an irritated stomach or inflamed intestines. For dog owners, seeing their pet vomit can be distressing. However, it's vital to understand that this is their natural way of getting rid of indigestible substances to avoid them from lingering in their system or spreading to other parts of their body.
What is causing my dog's vomiting?
It is not unusual for dogs to vomit as there are several reasons that can cause it. Even healthy dogs can fall ill without any apparent reason and recover swiftly. One possible reason could be that your dog ate too quickly, ingested too much grass, or consumed something that didn't sit well with their stomach. In such cases, vomiting may only happen once and not be accompanied by any other symptoms, so there may not be any cause for concern. However, sudden or severe vomiting could signal a disease, disorder, or health complication.
- Ingestion of poisons, toxins or food (garbage, chocolate, anti-freeze)
- Heat stroke
- Reaction to medication
- Bacterial or viral infection
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Change in diet
When is vomiting in dogs cause for concern?
Vomiting may be cause for some concern and constitute a serious veterinary emergency if you see any of these signs:
- 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.)
If you find your dog has been vomiting frequently or it has become a long-term or chronic issue, this is cause for concern, especially if you've noticed symptoms including abdominal pain, depression, dehydration, blood, poor appetite, fever, weakness, weight loss or other unusual behaviors.
These can be caused by:
- Liver or kidney failure
- Uterine infection
- Intestinal obstruction
As a cautious pooch parent, it's always best to prioritize safety and caution when it comes to your dog's health. The best way to learn whether your dog's vomiting is normal or not is to contact your vet.
What should I do if my dog won't stop vomiting?
Your veterinarian will require your assistance in identifying the reason for your dog's vomiting, taking into consideration their medical history and recent behavior. It's possible that your furry friend may have ingested something they shouldn't have while exploring the children's rooms or sniffing around the fridge. Given that you spend most of your time with your dog, you are in the best position to provide valuable insights that can help your vet diagnose and treat the underlying issue. Your vet will then conduct tests and administer treatment accordingly.
A Note on Inducing Vomiting in Dogs
If you are a dog owner and suspect that your dog has ingested a toxic substance, you may be tempted to induce vomiting at home. However, it's important to note that this should only be done under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian. Before taking any action, call your primary veterinarian or a veterinary poison control center for advice.
Inducing vomiting can be effective in preventing toxicity if it's done before the intestines absorb the toxin. However, it's crucial to determine whether vomiting is necessary based on what and how much your dog has consumed, and how much time has passed. If the substance or amount consumed wasn't toxic, inducing vomiting wouldn't be necessary.
It's worth noting that while vomiting can safely eliminate most toxins, some can cause more harm by passing through the esophagus a second time. These include bleach, cleaning products, caustic chemicals, and petroleum-based products. In addition, improperly administering 3% hydrogen peroxide (the only safe home substance for inducing vomiting in dogs) can result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, if it enters the lungs.
If your dog has a pre-existing health condition or is experiencing other symptoms, inducing vomiting at home can pose health risks. In these cases, it's best to have a qualified veterinarian induce vomiting in-clinic. Remember, always seek professional guidance when dealing with a potentially toxic situation involving your pet.
When Not to Induce Vomiting
Vomiting should never be induced in a dog that is:
- Having a seizure or recently had a seizure
- Unresponsive or unconscious
- Already vomiting
Additionally, 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.
What do veterinarians do to induce vomiting?
Our team in Best Friends Animal Hospital thoroughly assesses your pet before deciding whether inducing vomiting is a safe course of action. In the event that this is deemed necessary, we utilize specialized medication that has minimal side effects, rather than hydrogen peroxide. In the unlikely event that your dog experiences any adverse effects, our facility is equipped to provide the necessary care and medication to alleviate any discomfort.
What should I do if I suspect my dog has ingested a toxin?
In case your pet ingests a toxin, it is advisable to promptly get in touch with your veterinarian or Poison Control. Our Madison vets can offer timely guidance on whether you should take your pet to the clinic or 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.