What to do if your dog is throwing up or vomiting?

April 13, 2012

Note: This article is under review and may be revised to better reflect how to handle vomiting in dogs.

A dog owner would seldom say that he/she has never seen the pet vomiting. Vomiting is very common in dogs. Dogs have the uncanny ability to know what is wrong with their system. Dogs also have the ability to heal themselves. Dogs are scavengers. These animals, even well fed ones cannot pass up the chance to have a go at the spoiled food in trash cans. Dogs have the propensity to ingest non-edible things as well. An owner will surely be surprised to see rocks, small plastic toys, aluminum foil and plastic wrappers vomited by the dog. Dogs would eat grasses and leaves to induce vomiting. This is the dog’s way of ridding the stomach of toxic and unwanted substances. Because dogs are noted for their eating indiscretion, nature has provided these animals with the reflex action to expulse unwanted substances from their stomachs. The most common cause of vomiting is gastritis. The lining of the stomach is inflamed because of the dog’s dietary indiscretion. Although the dog would vomit repeatedly, it would not manifest behavioral changes. The dog will not be lethargic and unresponsive. In most cases the dog will be its normal frisky self. These bouts of vomiting can be easily managed at home. But what do you do when your dog keeps throwing up?

Withhold food and water for at least 24 hours to give the digestive system a chance to rest. You can give the pet small amounts of water every 15 minutes if it has stopped vomiting for six hours. This will be a tedious process as you need to carefully watch the dog. Once the pet has vomited again, food and water must be completely withheld for another six hours. If the stomach has settled and the dog is no longer throwing up, you can give small amounts of bland food. Boiled chicken, potatoes and rice would be a good choice as these foods can be easily digested.

Occasional vomiting is common in dogs. A dog owner may no longer be concerned if the dog vomits from time to time and would attribute the vomiting to the dog’s voracious eating habits. Sudden severe and repeated vomiting however is one for the vet’s attention. The dog may have ingested a poisonous substance. It is also possible that the dog has an obstruction in the gut. The dog can have torsion where the stomach twists causing the closure of the openings to the intestines and the esophagus. These are life threatening situations and only the immediate medical assistance can save the life of the pet.

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