Vomiting is a sign of gastrointestinal upset in dogs that can be caused by a number of conditions. Today, our Las Vegas vets discuss some reasons a dog might vomit and when a trip to the emergency vet is necessary. 

Why is my dog vomiting?

Vomiting is a common sign of an irritated stomach and inflamed intestines otherwise known as gastrointestinal upset.

It can be upsetting to watch your dog vomit, but most of the time the problem is short-lived and your pup will recover without any further treatment. However, if your dog is frequently vomiting, or displaying any of the other symptoms listed below, you should take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. 

What is causing my dog’s vomiting?

Several things can cause a dog to vomit. Sometimes, even healthy dogs will fall ill for no apparent reason and recover quickly.

It’s possible your pup could have eaten too quickly, or eaten something that disagreed with their stomach, such as too much grass or a stolen piece of pizza. In other scenarios, the vomiting may be caused by a more severe issue. 

Potential causes of acute vomiting (sudden or severe) may be a disease, disorder or health complication including:

  • Ingestion of poisons, toxins, or food (garbage, chocolate, anti-freeze)
  • Heatstroke
  • Reaction to medication
  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Pancreatitis
  • Change in diet
  • Bloat

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.)
  • Seizures

Chronic Vomiting

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:

  • Cancer
  • Liver or kidney failure
  • Uterine infection
  • Constipation
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Colitis

As a cautious dog 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 vet will need your help to find the cause of the vomiting based on your pup's medical history and recent activities. For example, if your dog has been curiously exploring the kids’ rooms or you’ve caught him sniffing the refrigerator, it’s possible he could have gotten into something he shouldn’t have.

You spend every day with your dog, so you will likely be your vet’s best source of information when it comes to diagnosing the issue. Your vet can then test, diagnose and treat the condition.

Inducing Vomiting in Dogs

If your dog gets into something they shouldn't, such as a substance toxic to dogs, you might find yourself Googling "how to induce vomiting in dogs". Toxins cause gastrointestinal upset and do serious damage when they are absorbed into the bloodstream as they get into the tissues. The purpose of inducing vomiting is to get the toxic substance out before it can be absorbed into the rest of the body.

However, dog owners should know that inducing vomiting at home is not advised except under extreme circumstances. In addition, this should always be done under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian. Before taking this action, it is extremely important that you contact an emergency veterinarian or pet poison control center for advice.

Whether vomiting should be induced at home depends on what and how much your dog has consumed, and how much time has passed - there's a chance that the substance or amount consumed wasn't toxic, so inducing vomiting wouldn't be necessary.

Though vomiting can safely bring most toxins up, a few will cause more damage by passing through the esophagus a second time by moving through the GI tract. These include bleach, cleaning products, and other caustic chemicals and petroleum-based products.

Also, if 3% hydrogen peroxide (the only safe home substance that can be used to induce vomiting in dogs) is incorrectly administered, it can enter the lungs and cause significant problems such as pneumonia. 

In addition, if your dog has a pre-existing health condition or there are other symptoms, this can result in health risks. If it's needed, having a qualified veterinarian induce vomiting in-clinic is preferable. 

When Not to Induce Vomiting

Vomiting should never be induced in a dog that is:

  • Having a seizure or recently had a seizure
  • Lethargic
  • Unresponsive or unconscious
  • Already vomiting

Additionally, hydrogen peroxide should not be used to induce vomiting in cats, as it is too irritating to a cat's stomach and can cause issues with the esophagus.

What do veterinarians do to induce vomiting?

At Island Pet Hospital, we carefully examine your pet to determine if inducing vomiting is safe. If it's determined that this action should be taken, special medication with minimal side effects is used (as opposed to hydrogen peroxide). If your dog does experience any side effects, we are equipped to administer proper care and medication.

What should I do if I suspect my dog has ingested a toxin?

Immediately contacting your veterinarian or a pet poison control center is the best thing you can do after your pet ingests a toxin. The vet office or poison center will be able to provide you with the proper guidance and advise you on the best way to handle the situation. 

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. 

Are you concerned about your dog's vomiting? Contact Island Pet Hospital today to book an appointment for your pup or bring them in during our clinic hours for immediate emergency care.