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Vomiting is one of the most common and nonspecific symptoms that a dog can have.
You’ll need to look at how and what your dog is vomiting. If your dog vomits once or twice and then seems their normal self, it is probably not serious.
Most commonly: overeating. Animals that gulp their food and immediately exercise (especially puppies) are likely to vomit. This is not serious. Feeding in smaller portions more often helps eliminate this problem. In particular, if the vomit looks like a solid tube of partially or non digested food, your dog ate too fast.
Note that eating grass or other indigestible material is also a common cause of vomiting.
Types of Vomiting
- Repeated vomiting: The dog’s last meal is first vomited; then a clear, frothy liquid comes up. This suggests a stomach irritant. Grass, spoiled food, other indigestibles, and certain infectious illnesses (such as gastroenteritis) all cause irritation of the stomach lining.
- Sporadic vomiting: The dog vomits off and on, but not continuously. No relationship to meals, poor appetite. Haggard appearance and listlessness may indicate an internal organ disorder, a chronic illness, a heavy worm infestation, or diabetes. A thorough checkup is called for.
- Vomiting blood: Fresh blood indicates a break in the mucus lining somewhere between the mouth and the upper small bowel. Common causes are foreign bodies, tumors, and ulcers. Material that looks like coffee grounds is old, partly digested blood — the problem is somewhere in the stomach or duodenum. Vomiting blood is always serious and requires a trip to the veterinarian.
- Fecal vomiting: If the vomit is foul and smells like feces, there is an obstruction somewhere in the intestinal tract. Blunt or penetrating abdominal trauma is another cause. The dog will become rapidly dehydrated with this type of vomiting and requires veterinary attention.
- Projectile vomiting: The vomit is forcefully expelled, sometimes for a distance of several feet. It is indicative of complete blockage in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Foreign bodies, hairballs, duodenal ulcers, tumors, and strictures are possible causes. Intracranial pressure can also cause projectile vomiting. Causes can be brain tumor, encephalitis, and blood clots. Take your dog to the vet.
- Vomiting foreign objects: Includes bone splinters, rubber balls, (pieces of) toys, sticks, and stones. Sometimes worms. You may want to have the vet check your pet for any other foreign objects, although not all of these will show up readily on X-ray scans.
- Emotional or stress vomiting: Sometimes, excited or upset dogs vomit. Remove the dog from the source of distress. If it is something the dog will encounter often, you will have to train them to remain calm around the source.
- Motion sickness: Throws up in the car. Most dogs will outgrow this problem. Check with your vet if it does not.