Causes and treatments of vomiting in dogs
There are many reasons for dog vomiting, ranging from environmental causes to medical causes. Knowing what causes your dog to vomit is vital to treatment and may even uncover underlying or potentially fatal health conditions.
Potential Causes of Dog Vomiting
- Worms. Bloated stomachs are a sign of worms in young puppies. Both adult dogs and puppies with a heavy worm load are prone to vomiting, due to reduced space in the stomach.
- An object stuck in the throat. Gagging on a foreign object can induce vomiting.
- Overeating, or poorly prepared food. Like people, some dogs are prone to eating more than their stomachs can hold.
- Ingesting foreign objects. Paper, foil and pieces of toys accidentally eaten may cause vomiting.
- Eating grass. This causes vomiting, but it is usually because the dog seeks to induce vomiting by doing so. Many times other initial illnesses are present, which create a desire to consume grass.
- Poor esophageal muscle condition. A narrowed esophagus can cause foods to back up and is especially noticeable when a dog eats too quickly.
- Birth defects. When puppies vomit, it can be a sign of a serious condition caused by a bad liver shunt. This type of vomiting is often accompanied by convulsions, may require surgery and is not always solved through intervention.
How to Know if Vomiting in Dogs Indicates a Serious Condition
Canine vomiting is always a serious problem if it continues longer than a single episode. Vomiting can cause dehydration, even if it's from a simple cause like occasional overeating or irritation of the stomach lining. However, there are times when dog vomit is an indicator that something is not right internally, so a trip to your veterinarian is in order.
In younger dogs, it's important to seek medical attention quickly if puppy vomiting continues for even a short period of time, as small puppies dehydrate at an alarming rate. If your puppy has worms that have developed to the point where they induce vomiting, the condition can cause damage to internal organs and even be fatal. If the cause of vomiting is hereditary or related to a birth defect, your veterinarian will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment. Never ignore vomiting as a symptom or wait to seek advice, because a delay is often deadly.
Preventing Common Vomiting
Make sure your dog does not eat too fast. If you have a dog that gulps its food, it can ingest a great deal of air along with its meal, which can cause bloating and vomiting. Instead, feed it small amounts frequently, and if necessary put large, heavy objects like rocks in its bowl, so that it has to eat around them. This way, it can't gulp its meals. Worm your dog regularly to avoid a parasite buildup that can cause vomiting.
Once you determine the cause of your dog's vomiting and decide on a course of treatment, keeping your pet comfortable is your next concern. If your dog has experienced repeated vomiting, it is likely it will be very tired and will appreciate a comfortable, warm place to sleep. Make sure it gets plenty of water, and if it is not drinking well, ask your vet about possible IV intervention. Providing Pedialyte is also helpful because it helps replace lost electrolytes.