A vomiting dog or puppy vomiting can be very dangerous for your pet, and while we don’t like to talk about it, pet vomit is a fact of life. A dog throwing up bile–that yellow foamy stuff–often happens on an empty stomach. Dogs vomit more readily than almost all other animals. (The cats just started snickering . . . ) When we brought a new puppy into our house, we became even more alert to the issue.
Water Binging Vomit
Bravo-Dawg used to vomit due to high-energy play immediately after eating–or gulping down buckets of water. We learned to keep him calm for at least a half-hour after meals, and to interrupt his water-binging antics.
With tiny puppies, it’s even more important for them to get a health evaluation more quickly since they can get even sicker quicker than the bigger or adult dogs. Puppy vomiting is even more serious when accompanied by diarrhea. That can cause pet dehydration that kills. It’s important to understand why dogs vomit, and whether or not to treat puppy vomiting at home.
There are many reasons why your dog vomits, from innocuous to potentially deadly. Vomiting is the forcible expulsion of the stomach’s contents up the dog’s throat and out of the mouth. However, you should be aware that vomiting is different than regurgitation.
Regurgitation is a passive process without strong muscle contractions. Regurgitation can occur minutes to hours after your pet eats his food, and the expelled material is undigested and may even be tube-shaped like the throat. Cats fed cold canned food may “whoops” it back up very quickly, or dogs that gulp and swallow too fast may regurgitate their food. Mom canids in the wild do this when they return from hunting, in order to feed their pups.
Occasional regurgitation isn’t a cause for concern unless it interferes with nutrition and what you feed your pet. Chronic regurgitation typically is seen in a young puppy. In these cases, regurgitation can cause slow growth and may be due to a physical problem like megaesophagus.
Dog & Puppy Vomiting: Why They Do It
When the “vomit center” of the brain is stimulated, the puppy begins to salivate and swallow repeatedly. Your puppy may seek attention or look anxious. Then, the stomach and abdominal muscles forcibly and repeatedly contract, while at the same time the esophagus relaxes. The puppy extends her neck, opens her mouth and makes a strained gagging sound as the stomach empties.
Vomiting should never be considered normal. Most cases of adult dog vomiting result from gastric irritation due to swallowed grass, eating inedible objects, spoiled or rich food (raiding the garbage, table scraps) or simply eating too much too fast. You can prevent puppies from eating the wrong thing with these puppy proofing tips. Dogs and puppies also may vomit from motion sickness during car rides.
Common Causes of Puppy Vomiting
The most common cause of vomiting in dogs is gluttony. Dogs that gorge their food tend to lose it just as quickly, particularly if they exercise shortly after finishing a meal. This type of vomiting isn’t particularly dangerous, but is annoying. And if they eat the wrong food, it can prove deadly.
Repeated vomiting, vomiting along with diarrhea, unproductive vomiting, vomiting not associated with eating, and/or the pooch acts like she feels bad before or after the event is a cause for alarm. Puppies with vomiting quickly develop dangerous dehydration. There are electrolyte replacement products to combat this, like Petralyte.
When Is Dog & Puppy Vomiting An Emergency?
Vomiting can be a sign of canine distemper virus or canine parvovirus, which can be prevented by proper vaccinations. In deep-chested breeds, unproductive vomiting may be a sign of bloat. Bloat (gastric dilatation and/or volvulus) happens with the stomach swells and potentially twists without emptying and can kill dogs very quickly–big deep-chested dogs (German Shepherds like my Magic and big dogs like Bravo-Dawg) are most prone.
If the vomit contains blood or fecal material, if it lasts longer than 24 hours, or if other signs such as diarrhea accompany the vomiting, contact your veterinarian immediately. For some types of vomiting, home care may be all that’s needed.
Home Remedies for Dog & Puppy Vomiting
Vomiting that happens only once or twice isn’t a cause for concern as long as the puppy or dog acts normal before and after. But very young puppies and especially Toy-size breeds shouldn’t go without a meal for longer than about six to eight hours, though, so you’ll need vet help with tiny pups. These little guys also dehydrate very quickly which can complicate matters.
Vomiting may be a sign of serious illness, though. Anytime your pet vomits three or more times in a single day, or two or more days in a row, you should take her to the vet.
What about you? Have your puppies or dogs ever had a scary/dangerous bout of vomiting? Magic got REALLY sick one time with explosive diarrhea and vomiting and turns out he’d caught a “bug” from drinking pond water.
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!