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Why Dogs Vomit: How to Treat Puppy Vomiting At Home

by | Dec 5, 2019 | Dog Training & Care | 28 comments

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. Dogs tend to 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. It’s important to understand why dogs vomit, and whether or not to treat puppy vomiting at home.
puppy vomiting

Puppy Vomiting

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.

Dog 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.

In cases of poisoning or swallowing dangerous objects, you may need to induce vomiting. Learning how to make puppies vomit can save his life.

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.

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 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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28 Comments

  1. Cathy Armato

    Great post, thanks for this information! My Husky vomits occasionally, and seems to be linked to NOT eating rather than eating. If we don’t feed her early enough in the morning once in awhile she will vomit up bile. We usually feed her a small amount right afterwards which seems to help. We try to stick to a solid feeding schedule but sometimes it isn’t possible.

    Reply
  2. amyshojai

    Hi Cathy, Magic does the same thing, if he fails to eat it makes him sick to his stomach. I also think it’s a ploy to get “treats” on to of his food to encourage him to get something on his tummy.

    Reply
  3. Val Silver

    Uggh! Teddy throws up grass and he gets car sick within 15 minutes of being in the car and keeps getting sick. I feel so bad for him. We just got him some high power medicine from the vet, hope it works for those unavoidable long trips.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Val, car sickness is so aggravating. Yes, the vet has good meds that can help. You can also try offering a natural nausea remedy—ginger. You can find ginger capsules at health food stores. Dogs under 16 pounds can safely take 250-milligrams or less of ginger, while puppies over 16 pounds can usually handle up to 500 milligrams of ginger. Some of the dog show folks tell me they just give their dog several ginger snap cookies—and eating cookies in the car can be a great positive association for the dog, too. Be aware that the cookies can stain light fur, though, if he munches and drools.

      Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Magic has slowed down his munching as he’s aged, but wish I’d had a slow feeder when he was young.

      Reply
  4. well minded

    This is great information to have. My pups have only vomited rarely, thank goodness! Those feeders you mentioned are great and very effective. Several of the dogs I take care of use them.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Which of the feeders do you like best?

      Reply
  5. Robbi Hess

    Thank you for this extremely helpful information. Neither of my dogs vomit with any regularity but it is great to have this checklist so if they do I will know whether it’s normal or something to worry about.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Thanks for visiting the blog Robbi!

      Reply
  6. Jennifer

    A few years ago, our Beatrice was regurgitating several times a day. We tried several medications and even a surgery but nothing worked. It was so awful. After we changed to a different specialist, she was diagnosed with IBD. By feeding her 4 times a day instead of two times a day with a slow feeder bowl and with the use of medication, she stopped regurgitating. She’s been off medication for about 2 years and is continuing to do really well. It is so sad when our fur-babies are not feeling well and we don’t know so easily what is wrong or how to help.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Jennifer, this is great information to share. Thank you! I hope it will be helpful to others who may have dogs suffering from this frustrating condition.

      Reply
  7. Robin

    Very interesting. I don’t remember whether either of my dogs had vomiting problems. It has been a long time! It’s great to see that there are some simple ways to induce vomiting in a dog if they eat something they shouldn’t. I didn’t know they could use Pepto Bismol either.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      You do want to be careful about over-doing the Pepto, but it is safe now and then when used as directed by the vet.

      Reply
  8. Jessica Rhae (@YDWWYW)

    Gretel ate some chocolate once and I tried the hydrogen peroxide thing but it didn’t work. It was the right concentration, and I gave her three doses all together, but still nothing. I am thinking of trying epicac next time but I heard that it can be dangerous because some dogs won’t stop vomiting after taking it. Hopefully, she will never get into poison again and it won’t be an issue.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      That’s so scary! I hope you don’t have that chocolate poison issue, either!

      Reply
  9. Jen Jelly

    I love the phrase “eat a grass, have a puke.” I don’t remember when I originally heard it but it always makes me giggle since occasional vomiting is pretty much the norm for us dog owners. Great information – especially considering that vomiting in puppies can be the sign of something serious.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      LOL! I’d not heard that before, but I’ll remember that saying. *snert*

      Reply
  10. Maureen

    Great information. My dog Rosa vomits a lot. I give her a Pepcid in the evening which has really helped her. She is highly allergic to things and has such a sensitive tummy.

    Reply
  11. Carol Bryant

    Such a good post, Amy. I know transitioning from having a senior dog to a puppy, I panicked at first with vomiting and realized that puppies don’t do well with mixing treats.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Carol, it really does make a difference between dogs, too. Some simply have a more “ify” tummy than others. My Magic has a cast iron gut…so when he vomits I take it much more seriously.

      Reply
  12. Linda Tucker

    Thank you so much for sharing this advice on how to help your dog when it comes to vomiting. I had no idea that dogs eating really quickly could cause vomiting to occur; it sounds like I need to get my dog a “foraging bowl” to make sure that he doesn’t eat too fast. Since he is a deep-chested dog, I want to make sure that his chances of vomiting or getting bloat are as low as possible.

    Reply
  13. Jean Stallworth

    my pit bull puppy is vomiting he is about 8weeks old a rescue from bad people in his life so I took him in but he eats everything mud grass sticks how do I keep him safe what may I give him to help him

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Until you can see the vet on Monday, I’d withhold solid food for now. A couple of spoonfuls of plain, nonflavor yogurt may help settle his tummy. For pups that eat everything, it’s important to supervise everything and try to give them “legal” chews (it’s hard, but worth it!). Good luck! And bless you for adopting this baby.

      Reply
  14. steph

    My puppy was throwing up and had diarrhea. We thought he was overwhelmed because we had a long ride from picking him up but he had Parvo virus. Call the vet, or the emergency vet and ask for advice. We brought him in on a Sunday and any later it would have been too late. At the very least, call! It’s free to ask for advice

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Steph, you are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! Calling the veterinarian is the single most important thing you can do for your pet when s/he’s ill.

      Reply
  15. Zoe Campos

    Thank you for telling me that vomiting may be a sign that my puppy is suffering from a more serious illness. My Japanese Spitz refused to eat and puked twice last night, but she looks fine now so I thought there will be no more problems. After reading your article, I’m convinced now that I should consult a veterinarian immediately.

    Reply

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