If there is one thing is this world that grosses me out the most, its vomit. Whether it’s a baby’s, a ca’s’, a dog’s, or my own…I cannot stand it! And I’m sure most of you can’t either. I even know people who have a phobia of throw up and when they are around it they have a full on panic attack. As pet owners sometimes we have to suck it up a and clean up after our dogs when they aren’t feeling well. I know no one wants to do it, but we took that responsibility when we made the decision to own a dog.
If you have been around dog’s for any amount of time it may seem that they vomit much more than we do. This is a true. Due to dogs’ defense mechanism against his scavenger nature, they have a very well developed vomiting center in their brains. This allows them to throw up easier and more often than most other animals. Vomiting acts as a good determiner. When a dog sees something he will eat it to determine if it is edible or not. If it is not his body will let him know and get rid of it the same way it came in. Vomiting can also be a sign of disease. Issues with vomiting range from not serious to life threatening. Lets learn some facts about Fido as he vomits.
Vomit of Regurgitation?
A dog can throw up in two different ways: vomiting or regurgitating. Regurgitation happens when the food does not actually reach the stomach. Food will stay in the esophagus because it will not go down or it is blocked, it will accumulate here until it overloads. It will then come up and out of the mouth appearing tubular and undigested. I have never seen this happen but the though a tubular block of undigested food coming out of my dog’s mouth is a horrible mental image. On the other hand if the food actually makes it to the stomach it must be forcefully expelled. If that definition “forcefully expelled” doesn’t make you cringe, then you have a strong stomach. As for me, I had trouble just typing it out twice. Just like you know that feeling when you are about to throw up, your dog will also show some signs. He may become anxious, seeking attention or reassurance. Or he will drool and swallow excessively.
Why Do Dogs Vomit?
Just like us if we eat something bad our stomach will get rid of it. If a dog eats something indigestible his stomach will deny it. You know the old rule “ on’t swim until 30 minutes after you eat so your food can digest” that no one ever obeyed as a kid? There are self-inflicting things a dog can do to cause vomiting. Some other causes of throwing up are overeating, eating too fast, too much exercise immediately after eating, motion sickness, stress, or a case of worms. All of the issues are simply an upset stomach and are not serious or life threatening unless the situation is out of control.
Vomiting, as in humans, is also a sign of serious illnesses. Here is a list of some health issues in dogs that cause vomiting: kidney or liver failure, enterocolitis, parvovirus, distemper, pancreatitis cancer, peritonitis, diabetes, acute gastritis, intestinal obstruction, food allergies, poisoning, or other illnesses.
You will sometimes see your dog throw up a foamy, yellowish substance. This could mean your dog is over excited from playing too much and may need a time out with a bowl of water and a handful of food to calm him down. But if it persists it could mean a stomach like acute gastritis. Other issues such as pancreatitis, peritonitis, or an intestinal obstruction could be the cause of this type of vomit as well.
If you ever see your dog going through all of the motions of vomiting but not actually releasing any substances it could be the sign of a fatal issue. Bloat, or gastric dialation and volvulus (GDV), is the condition in which a dog’s stomach twists inside of him. This is painful and a serious condition that must be consulted by your vet.
Understanding Dog Vomiting
Dog vomiting, also known as puking, throwing up, barfing, and emesis refers to the forceful and involuntary act of expelling the contents of the stomach through the mouth or nose. If your dog vomits repeatedly until there is nothing but bile left in their stomach, this is termed acute vomiting. Vomiting is itself not a disease but can be a symptom of a range of conditions, particularly if it happens several times over a short time period.
Vomiting differs from other physical processes that may look and sound similar. It is important to be able to recognize the difference between vomiting, retching, and regurgitation.
Vomiting – An active process that is often accompanied by coughing or retching sounds and the contraction of the abdominal muscles. Vomit comes from the stomach or small intestine and therefore generally contains bile. This is a digestive fluid that is often green, yellow or orange in color. If, however, your dog has just eaten or is not properly producing bile, then bile may not appear in the vomited material.
Regurgitation – A passive process where food appears to fall out of your dog’s mouth. It is often accompanied by the lowering of your dog’s head. The material that is regurgitated comes from the pharynx or esophagus. It often comes out in a tube-like shape and often contains food, saliva, or mucus. However, the regurgitated material does not contain bile.
Retching – When your dog is retching they cough or make retching noises, but no food or bile is brought up.
Related Post: Dog Not Eating: Common Reasons And How To Properly Deal With It!
Why Dogs Throw Up
There numerous reasons why your dog might throw up. Some reasons are completely harmless, while others require medical attention immediately. Dog vomiting causes can include:
- Motion sickness – such as when being transported by car
- Dietary issues – from food intolerances to dietary changes, or eating something that is past its best
- Swallowing non-digestible material – such as toys, plastic, bones etc.
- Viruses, infections, or parasites in the gastrointestinal tract
- Gastric dilation / bloat
- Bilious vomiting syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Poisoning – ingesting substances that are toxic
- Addison’s disease
- Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis
- Kidney or acute liver failure
- Inflammation of the gallbladder
- Uterine infections or pancreatitis
- Reactions to medications or anesthetics
- Acute urethral obstruction
How to Make Your Dog Throw Up
If your dog has ingested something harmful, toxic, or poisonous, you may need to make them vomit to stop the toxins from being absorbed into the body. Always consult your veterinarian before inducing vomiting. They will tell you whether it is safe to take this course of action and recommend the best way to do it.
It is crucial that you only induce vomiting if it is less than two hours since your dog ingested the unsafe substance. If it is over two hours, then the substance has already worked through the digestive system and is being absorbed into the bloodstream. Inducing vomiting at this point will have no positive effects and will cause you and your dog a great deal of stress.
It is also important to know what it is your dog has swallowed. There are some substances where inducing vomiting would increase the harm to your dog and could even be fatal. If your dog has swallowed any of the following items, then DO NOT induce vomiting:
- Caustic substances – like drain cleaners or bleach
- Any alkali or acid-based chemical
- Household cleaning solutions and chemicals
- Sharp objects – including glass
- Any petroleum-based products – like gasoline, turpentine, or kerosene
- Any product that specifically instructs you not to induce vomiting if it is swallowed
Additionally, do not try to induce vomiting if your dog:
- has already vomited
- is having trouble breathing
- is exhibiting signs of a nervous system disorder, such as seizures or loss or coordination
- is unconscious
Veterinarians are most likely to suggest inducing vomiting if your dog has swallowed one of the following substances:
- Medication not intended for dogs
The safest and most common medication used to make dogs vomit is apomorphine. Diluted hydrogen peroxide can be used in an emergency. Veterinarians will often use IV fluids and activated charcoal to treat a dog that has ingested poisons, once vomiting has been induced.
Related Post: What Human Food Can Dogs Eat?
Vomiting in puppies can be very serious. The main reasons for this are because they are so much smaller, and their immune systems are less developed than those of adult dogs. The situation is particularly serious in puppies under six months of age. If your puppy throws up just once, then monitor closely and look for potential food intolerances. If they undergo acute vomiting, then go straight to your local veterinarian.
If your puppy shows any signs of distress, pain, lethargy, or weakness, then contact your veterinarian. Take similar action if they are throwing up a long time are eating, are experiencing diarrhea as well as vomiting or having bloating or abdominal pain.