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Vomiting in Dogs: Causes and Treatment

A dog may vomit simply because he's eaten something disagreeable or gobbled down too much food, too fast. But vomiting can also indicate something far more serious-your dog may have swallowed a toxic substance, or may be suffering from a condition that requires immediate medical attention. Vomiting can also be associated with gastrointestinal and systemic disorders that should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

What Might Cause a Sudden. or Acute, Episode of Vomiting?

  • Bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Diet-related causes (diet change, food intolerance, ingestion of garbage)
  • Foreign bodies (i.e. toys, bones, pieces of chewies) in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Acute kidney failure
  • Acute liver failure or gall bladder inflammation
  • Pancreatitis
  • Post-operative nausea
  • Ingestion of toxic substances
  • Viral infections
  • Certain medications or anesthetic agents
  • Bloat
  • Heatstroke
  • Car sickness
  • Infected uterus

Vomiting that occurs sporadically or irregularly over a longer period of time can be due to stomach or intestinal inflammation, severe constipation, cancer, kidney dysfunction, liver disease or systemic illness.

What Should I Do If My Dog Vomits Frequently?

An occasional, isolated bout of vomiting may not be of concern. However, frequent or chronic vomiting can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as colitis, intestinal obstruction or parvovirus. If your dog's vomiting is not an isolated incident, please bring him to the vet right away for a complete examination and diagnostic testing.

What Other Symptoms Should I Watch For?

The causes of vomiting are so varied that sometimes obtaining a diagnosis can be difficult, so it's important to give your veterinarian as much information as possible and indicate if other signs are also occurring. What to watch for:

  • Frequency of vomiting. If your dog vomits once and proceeds to eat regularly and have a normal bowel movement, the vomiting was most likely an isolated incident.
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy
  • Blood in vomit
  • Weight loss
  • Change in appetite
  • Increase or decrease in thirst or urination