Basset Hund dog who is poorly

Offer your dog fresh water if they've just been sick.

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Why is my dog throwing up?

By Dr Hester Mulhall MA, VetMB, MRCVS Veterinarian

Updated on the

A dog vomiting can be a one-off or it can be something worse. Here you'll find out when you should be concerned.

Has your dog just been sick? There are lots of reasons that dogs vomit and most of the time things will resolve without treatment. And yet it is sometimes an indication that something serious is going on, so make sure you know what to look out for by reading the advice here. If your pet is showing additional symptoms, or you are concerned at all, you should seek veterinary advice.

Causes of vomiting in dogs include scavenging, high-fat food, intestinal worms, viruses, swallowing a foreign body (e.g. part of a toy), inflammation of the pancreas, other underlying diseases (e.g. kidney disease), poisoning, motion sickness, anxiety and more.

Pay attention to how your pet behaves while they are being sick. Does the process involve physical effort? Or does it seem more passive? Sometimes a pet will be regurgitating rather than vomiting, and this is a useful distinction to help with diagnosis.

When should you be concerned about your dog throwing up?

If a young puppy is sick, you must always contact a vet to discuss whether an appointment is needed. In older dogs, if the vomit contains blood, your pet vomits regularly, they have thrown up several times in one day or poisoning is a possibility, you should contact a vet. Other warning signs to look out for are lethargy, foul-smelling diarrhoea and a bloated stomach. If your dog is throwing up yellow vomit or undigested food hours after eating, then you should also book in a vet appointment. If in doubt, contact the vet.

What should I do after my dog throws up?

If your dog has been sick, check whether they want to go outside, as they may have some diarrhoea on the way too. Try to keep them away from the vomit while you clear it up, as they can be tempted to eat this. Wear gloves and also disinfect the area, if possible. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards, as certain illnesses can pass between dogs and people.

Ensure that there is plenty of fresh water available to your dog, and remove any food, treats or chews from their reach. At their next meal-time, you should feed a very small portion of plain food.

If your pet still seems bright in themself and this was a one-off occurrence, then they are unlikely to need vet care. But if they are showing the above signs or any other cause for concern, contact your nearest practice for advice.

How do you settle a dog's upset stomach?

Avoid feeding your pet anything too fatty or rich, and do not feed treats or chews. Let their stomach settle for a couple of hours after they are sick before you feed them (or longer, if advised by the vet). Always provide free access to water to help avoid dehydration.

You should feed them a smaller portion of something very bland. Most vet practices are able to sell food that is suitable for sensitive stomachs, usually tinned wet food. Alternatively, plain white fish or chicken breast with a small portion of cooked rice would be appropriate. You could feed a small portion of scrambled eggs, without any dairy or oil added.

Feed this diet until 48 hours after their last episode of vomiting or diarrhoea. You should then gradually reintroduce their usual diet over the course of a few days. Start off by mixing a small amount of their normal diet into their meal, and steadily increase the proportion of this and decrease the quantity of the special bland diet. If vomiting or diarrhoea returns, contact the vets for advice.

Why is my dog throwing up just water?

If your dog is throwing up clear liquid (sometimes with white foam), this usually suggests that the vomit is not food-related. This can be a symptom of a large range of underlying health problems, ranging from stomach irritation to kidney issues. Book your dog in for a vet appointment, so that they can have a health check and see whether any other diagnostics are necessary at this stage.

Why is my dog throwing up every day?

If your dog keeps throwing up every day, this suggests an underlying problem that should not be ignored, and you need to book in a vet appointment. Keep a record of when your dog is being sick, including what time of day, how close to a meal time and what they have eaten. It is also helpful to write a description of the vomit, as bizarre as that sounds. This might sound gross, but it can be very helpful for the vet to know quantity, consistency and colour.

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