Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Vomiting in Dogs

There are many reasons why your dog may throw up, some reasons are far more serious than others. Today, our Greensboro vets share what you should know about vomiting in dogs and when to head to a vet.

Why Dogs Throw Up

Vomiting is a common sign of an irritated stomach and inflamed intestines, or gastrointestinal upset in dogs.

Almost every dog owner understands that, while vomiting in dogs is unpleasant and distressing, it is your pet's way of emptying their stomach of indigestible material and preventing it from remaining in their system or reaching other parts of their body.

Causes of Vomiting in Dogs

There are a number of things that can cause a dog to vomit, and sometimes even healthy dogs will fall ill for no apparent reason and recover quickly.

It's possible that your dog ate too quickly, too much grass, or something that their stomach doesn't like. This type of vomiting may occur once and be followed by no other symptoms. As a result, vomiting in dogs is not always a cause for alarm.

That said, potential causes of acute vomiting (sudden or severe) can be related to diseases, disorders, or health complications such as:

  • Heatstroke
  • Ingestion of poisons, toxins, or food
  • Bloat
  • Reaction to medication
  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Pancreatitis
  • Change in diet

When To Worry About Vomiting in Dogs

Most dogs vomit on occasion. If your dog vomits once or twice, has no other symptoms, and then returns to normal, there is probably nothing to be concerned about. (However, we still recommend calling your veterinarian to notify them).

That said, in some cases, vomiting can be a clear indication of a serious medical issue that needs urgent care. Contact your vet right away 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 toy, etc.)
  • Vomiting a lot at one time
  • Vomiting/dry heaving with nothing coming up
  • Vomiting blood
  • Chronic vomiting
  • Continuous, repeated, or recurring vomiting
  • Vomiting accompanied by bloody diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • If vomit appears foamy, or bright green (See below for details)

Chronic Vomiting

If your dog has been vomiting frequently or if it has become a long-term or chronic problem, you should be concerned, especially if you have observed symptoms such as abdominal pain, depression, dehydration, blood, poor appetite, fever, weakness, weight loss, or other unusual behaviors.

Long-term, recurrent vomiting can be caused by:

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

As a cautious pet owner, it’s always best to prioritize safety and caution when it comes to your pup’s health. The best way to learn whether your dog’s vomiting is normal or not is to contact your vet. 

How to Induce Vomiting in Dogs

Panicked owners frequently search for "how to induce vomiting in dogs." Toxins cause gastrointestinal upset, but they can also cause serious damage when they are absorbed into the bloodstream and enter the tissues. Decontamination aims to remove the toxin from the body before it can be absorbed. Toxicology can be avoided if vomiting is induced before the toxin is absorbed by the intestine.

That said, 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, call your primary veterinarian or a veterinary poison control center for advice. 

Deciding whether your pooch 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 to the surface, a few will cause more damage if they pass through the esophagus a second time before moving through the GI tract. Bleach, cleaning products, caustic chemicals, and petroleum-based products are examples.

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-clinic is preferable. 

How Veterinarians Induce Vomiting

At Guilford-Jamestown Veterinary Hospital, we carefully examine your pooch 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

If your dog is vomiting or you suspect they have ingested a toxic substance, contact your veterinarian or Poison Control for immediate assistance.

What To Do If You Determine That Your Dog's Vomiting Is Not an Emergency

If you believe your dog's vomiting is not serious, you can do a few things to help soothe his upset stomach. Of course, we recommend that you contact your veterinarian to let them know what's going on; your veterinarian knows your dog best and may be able to advise you on how to best deal with your dog's stomach issues. Having said that, many veterinarians recommend the following treatments for dogs' mild gastric upset.

  • Skip your dog's next meal then provide a smaller portion for the following meal. If your dog does not vomit again return to normal feeding.
  • Provide your dog with a light on-the-stomach GI formula dog food from your vet's office to help ease them back to normal eating.
  • Make your dog a light meal of cooked chicken and boiled rice and feed it in small portions.
  • Provide your dog with plenty of fresh water to stay hydrated.  
  • If your dog is not back to normal within 24 hours call your vet to book an examination for your pup.

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. 

If you are concerned about your dog's vomiting, contact Guilford-Jamestown Veterinary Hospital right away. Our Greensboro vets are here to help.

Vet in Greensboro

Looking for a vet in Greensboro?

We're always thrilled to welcome new patients into our veterinary family! Contact us today to get started.

Request Appointment

Contact (336) 852-0200