Vomiting in dogs

Written by Dr Andrew Miller MRCVSDr Andrew Miller MRCVS is an expert veterinary working in the field for over 10 years after graduating from Bristol University. Andy fact checks and writes for Pure Pet Food while also working as a full time veterinarian. Pure Pet FoodPure Pet Food are the experts in healthy dog food and healthy dogs featured in media outlets such as BBC, Good Housekeeping and The Telegraph. Working with high profile veterinary professionals and nutritionists, Pure Pet Food are changing dog food for the better. - Our editorial process

Dogs are well known for not discriminating about what they put in their mouths and so it follows that the most common reason your dog is being sick is probably related to something they’ve ingested. The culprit might have been a bin raiding foray, swallowing a foreign object such as a sock, plastic toy or homework, or eating something that is rotten or toxic to pooches.

What causes vomiting in dogs?

Sometimes dogs’ vomit after eating due to gobbling their food down too fast, this might be because they just love their food, but it could also be down to anxiety issues such as worrying about another pet getting to their food. Eating too fast can cause a dog to ingest large amounts of air and cause them to either regurgitate or vomit their dinner back up.

Perhaps your pooch has a parasite infestation, is he taking any medication that could have upset his stomach? Sometimes your dog’s diet is the culprit, perhaps your pooch has a sensitive stomach or is allergic to an ingredient in his food, have you recently changed his diet? Have you noticed any weight loss or weight gain? Or does your pooch seem reluctant to eat? Transitioning your dog from one food to another can often upset his stomach as the digestive system needs time to adapt, that’s why it’s important to make any change slowly.

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Vomiting could also be symptomatic of an underlying medical condition such as IBS, pancreatitis, colitis or have an ulcer.

As you can see there really are so many reasons that can cause a dog to vomit but first think about what your dog has been eating, has he possibly had any access to something that is poisonous to dogs such as chocolateonions or chemicals? Are your glasses missing or his favourite toy, or is he prone to picking up random things on walks? Foreign objects can become stuck and cause your dog serious complications so if you suspect that this is the reason for the sudden onset of your dog’s vomiting it’s best to take your pet to the vet straight away.

Signs and symptoms of vomiting in dogs

None of us enjoys seeing our precious pooches feeling under the weather but nearly all dogs will vomit at some time in their lives. Indeed, it is one of the most common causes for a trip to the vet for our pooches. Just like us, a dog is being sick to expel the contents of his stomach, often the causes of a dog vomiting are down to your pooch eating something he shouldn’t and are isolated events that resolve within 24 hours. However, it can be due to something more serious that requires further investigation.

If your dog is vomiting his stomach or upper intestine is forcibly ejecting its contents and it is often accompanied by retching. You might notice that your pooch shows signs of nausea such as anxiety, licking his lips or drooling. Vomiting is an active process as opposed to regurgitation which is a passive process when a dog throws up undigested food with apparently no effort. Both can be something or nothing, but it’s wise to take note of the symptoms, including the frequency of episodes and the consistency of the vomit if you can, just in case you need to take your pooch to the vet.

Vomiting can also be accompanied by other symptoms, such as a change in appetite, dehydration or lethargy, and if your dog is suffering from gastroenteritis, for example, he will probably have intermittent bouts of sickness and diarrhoea. A dog vomiting blood should obviously be seen by a vet as soon as possible, as should a dog who has had gastroenteritis for more than 24 hours.

How to treat vomiting in dogs

Hopefully, your dog vomiting will be a one-off event, most of us have probably witnessed a dog throwing up one minute and begging for food or asking for his ball to be thrown the next.

If the onset of your dog’s vomiting was sudden and you are not too worried about him, you can try withholding a couple of meals and then feeding him a bland diet such as lean chicken and boiled potato to see if the problem resolves. Ensure that he is also drinking a little water as you don’t want him to dehydrate. However, dogs that are vomiting repeatedly or are noticeably unwell, exhibiting other symptoms or are still not themselves after 24 hours really need to be seen by the vet. They may even prescribe your pup some probiotics to reduce the number of bad bacteria which will make stomach upsets less likely.

Chronic vomiting can be a sign that your dog is suffering from a serious underlying condition and you really need a professional opinion to diagnose what the cause is. That said, diet can be a major factor, many highly processed foods contain additives or ingredients like wheat that some dogs are allergic to and find difficult to digest so transitioning your pooch onto a diet full of natural ingredients that isn't highly processed and free from fillers and additives can help to transform your dog’s health.

Pure create tailored recipes packed with balanced, natural ingredients that can help to alleviate diet-related vomiting. Why not browse through some of the success stories on the site and see how other dog’s health has benefited from changing their diet to Pure. Maybe it can help your pooch too.

What is the best dog food for sensitive stomach and vomiting?

Regardless of what caused your pup to vomit, offering them a nutritious dinner of the best dog food for sensitive stomach and vomiting will help get them back on the mend. The key is to find food that uses highly-digestible, natural ingredients which are easier for canines to digest and offer greater nutritional value. Digestible meals prevent the gut from underworking or overworking and give it time to recover and return to normal function. Natural ingredients means avoiding artificial flavours and preservatives that can irritate a dog’s gut.

Avoiding grains and fat is another good step as these can be difficult for dogs to digest. Grains are also a common allergen and irritant. Many dogs with stomach sensitivities or GI problems are often recommended to try grain-free or hypoallergenic food to try and eliminate sensitivities.

As a vet, Dr Andrew Miller MRCVS explains, “Dogs with a sensitive stomach can be tricky to manage. It’s therefore important to keep your dog’s diet regular, without adding variety in the way of leftovers, to avoid upsets. Pure is gentle on digestion, whilst containing a minimal number of fresh ingredients least likely to cause a flare-up.”

Pure has helped to settle plenty of sensitive stomachs. Alfie saw paw-sitive improvements from his very first day eating Pure. Meanwhile, Buddy the sheltie was searching for the best dog food for sensitive stomach vomiting for months until his owner found Pure. Within 48 hours, his vomiting stopped and his stools were back to normal. If you’d like to try our natural healthy recipes, tell us more about your pup so we can recommend the paw-fect healthy recipe tailored to your dog’s individual needs.

It’s also important to keep your dog hydrated, as they would have lost a lot of fluids while vomiting. By mixing more water to their Pure food you can encourage them to drink more while eating to prevent dehydration.

If your dog’s vomiting was caused by an underlying condition, a good diet is all the more important to provide them with all the nutrients they need to stay healthy and prevent future illness. Pure has plenty of success in settling stomach upset caused by conditions such as colitis or pancreatitis.