Vomiting can happen unexpectedly when your dog is feeling unwell or you may need to induce it if your dog has swallowed they shouldn't have. Today, our vets in East Setauket talk about the reasons for vomiting in dogs, when it might indicate a veterinary internal medicine condition.
The Reasons Behind Vomiting in Dogs
When a dog ingests something that makes them ill or if they experience any type of stomach irritation or gastrointestinal upset, it can result in vomiting.
Almost every dog owner understands that while vomiting in dogs is an unpleasant thing to witness and can be distressing it is your pet’s way of emptying their stomach of indigestible material to prevent it from remaining in their system, or from reaching other areas of their body.
Why is your dog vomiting all of a sudden?
Several things can cause a dog to vomit, and sometimes even healthy dogs will fall ill for no apparent reason and recover quickly.
It’s possible your dog could have eaten too quickly, dined on too much grass, or eaten something their stomach simply doesn't agree with. This type of vomiting may be a one-time occurrence and not be accompanied by any other symptoms. So, vomiting in dogs isn't always a reason for concern.
That said, potential causes of acute vomiting (sudden or severe) can be related to diseases, disorders, or animal internal medicine conditions such as:
- Ingestion of poisons, toxins, or food
- Reaction to medication
- Bacterial or viral infection
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Change in diet
When should you be concerned about a dog throwing up?
Vomiting may be cause for some concern and constitute a serious veterinary emergency if you see any of these signs:
- Vomiting in conjunction with other symptoms such as lethargy, weight loss, fever, anemia, etc.
- Suspected ingestion of a foreign body (such as food, objects, children’s toys, etc.)
- Vomiting a lot at one time
- Vomiting with nothing coming up
- Vomiting blood
- Chronic vomiting
- Continuous vomiting
- Bloody diarrhea
Chronic Vomiting in Dogs
If 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.
Long-term, recurrent vomiting can be caused by:
- Liver or kidney failure
- Uterine infection
- Intestinal obstruction
As a cautious pet owner, 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.
Steps to Take if Your Dog Won't Stop Vomiting
Your veterinarian will need your help to find the cause of the vomiting based on your dog'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.
How to Induce Vomiting in Dogs
Panicked owners often find themselves searching for "how to induce vomiting in dogs". Toxins cause gastrointestinal upset, but can also do serious damage when they are absorbed into the bloodstream as they get into the tissues. With decontamination, the goal is to eliminate the toxin from the body before it’s absorbed. If vomiting can be induced before the intestines absorb the toxin, toxicity may be prevented.
While it is possible, we do not recommend inducing vomiting yourself unless specifically instructed to do so by your vet.
In addition, this should always be done under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian. Before taking this action, call your primary veterinarian or a veterinary poison control center for advice.
Deciding whether your dog 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.
If your dog has a pre-existing health condition or there are other symptoms, inducing vomiting may result in other health risks. If induced vomiting is necessary, having a qualified veterinarian induce vomiting in the 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
- Unresponsive or unconscious
- Already vomiting
Note: 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.
How Veterinarians Induce Vomiting in Dogs
Using our veterinary internal medicine department in East Setauket we carefully examine your dog to determine whether inducing vomiting is safe for your pet. 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 To Do If You Suspect Your Dog Has Ingested a Toxin
Immediately contacting your veterinarian or Poison Control is the best thing you can do after your pet ingests a toxin. This way, our East Setauket vets can immediately provide advice about whether you should bring your pet in, or if they think you can or should 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.