There are a number of reasons why a dog may vomit. Likewise, there are also many reasons why you may consider inducing vomiting in your dog. Here, our Gilbert vets share what you should know about vomiting in dogs, what to do if your dog is vomiting, and what to do to induce vomiting in dogs.
Reasons Why Dogs Vomit
Vomiting is a common sign of an irritated stomach and inflamed intestines, or gastrointestinal upset in dogs.
As nearly every dog owner knows, vomiting in dogs is extremely unpleasant both for your canine companion and for you! Vomiting, however, is a key way for your pet to empty their stomach of indigestible material to stop it from remaining in their system or from traveling to other parts of their digestive tract.
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 may have eaten too quickly, has dined on too much grass, or has eaten something that doesn't sit right in their stomach. This kind of vomiting may be a one-time occurrence and likely won't be accompanies by other symptoms of health issues. In cases like these, vomiting in dogs isn't cause for any serious concern.
That said, potential causes of acute vomiting (sudden or severe) can be related to diseases, disorders or health complications such as:
- Change in diet
- Reaction to medication
- Bacterial or viral infection
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Ingestion of poisons, toxins or food
When To Worry About Vomiting in Dogs
Vomiting may be cause for some concern and constitute a serious veterinary emergency if you see any of these signs:
- Bloody diarrhea
- Vomiting a lot at one time
- Vomiting with nothing coming up
- Chronic vomiting
- Vomiting blood
- Continuous vomiting
- Suspected ingestion of a foreign body (such as food, objects, children’s toy, etc.)
- Vomiting in conjunction with other symptoms such as lethargy, weight loss, fever, anemia, etc.
If your dog has been vomiting frequently or it has become a long-term and/or chronic issue, this is likely a cause for concern. This is especially the case if you have noticed other symptoms in your dog including dehydration, depression, abdominal pain, fever, weakness, weight loss or other unusual behaviors.
Long term, recurrent vomiting can be caused by:
- Uterine infection
- Liver or kidney failure
- Intestinal obstruction
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.
What To Do If Your Dog Won't Stop Vomiting
Your veterinarian will require your help to find the cause of the vomiting depending on your dog's medical history and any recent activities. For example, if your dog has ben curiously exploring the children's room or you have caught them sniffing around the freezer more frequently, it's possible they ate something they really shouldn't have.
How to Induce Vomiting in Dogs
Panicked owners often find themselves searching "how to induce vomiting in dogs". Toxins cause gastrointestinal upset, but can also do serious damage when they are absorbed into the bloodstream as they get into the tissues. With decontamination, the goal is to eliminate the toxin from the body before it’s absorbed. If vomiting can be induced before the intestines absorb the toxin, toxicity may be prevented.
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 up, a few will cause more damage by passing through the esophagus a second time by moving through the GI tract. These include bleach, cleaning products and other caustic chemicals and petroleum-based products.
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.
When Not to Induce Vomiting
Vomiting should never be induced in a dog that is:
- Already vomiting
- Having a seizure or recently had a seizure
- Unresponsive or unconscious
How Veterinarians Induce Vomiting in Dogs
At Crossroads 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
Immediately contact your veterinarian or Poison Control! This is the best thing you can do after your pet ingests a toxin. This way, your veterinarian can immediately provide advice about whether you should bring your pet in, or if they think you can or should induce vomiting at home.
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.