Why Your Dog Might Be Vomiting | PetFirst
Why Your Dog Might Be Vomiting
Pet Care & Health

Why Your Dog Might Be Vomiting

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
1 month ago

No sound will get a dog owner’s attention quite like the sound of a dog throwing up or beginning to feel ill.  A pet getting sick is a common occurrence that nearly every pet owner will have to deal with during their pet’s lifetime. 

The reasons your dog may become sick can vary.  It can be as simple as your dog eating something that did not agree with him, eating too much, or eating too fast. However, in some cases, vomiting can indicate a more serious condition that requires immediate evaluation by your veterinarian.

Vomiting vs. regurgitation?

According to Drs. Krista Williams and Ernest Ward, veterinarians with VCA Hospitals, it is important to determine whether your dog is actually vomiting or regurgitating his food6.  This is because the causes of vomiting and regurgitation are different and therefore require different treatment.

Vomiting includes contractions of the abdominal muscles, which lead to a forceful ejection of the contents from the dog’s stomach and upper intestines.  A dog may vomit immediately after eating or anytime afterward. Before vomiting, a dog will usually display one or more signs of nausea7.

Signs of nausea in dogs:

  • Appearing restless
  • Repeated licking of its lips
  • Salivating
  • Swallowing excessively
  • Drooling8

Regurgitation occurs when undigested food (food that has not yet made it to the stomach) moves backward and is ejected.  This tends to happen shortly after eating and is not accompanied by forceful stomach contractions.

What can cause my dog to suddenly start vomiting?

The reasons dogs vomit are as varied as the reasons humans vomit. If your dog is a “trash digger,” he may have simply gone through the garbage and gotten into something that was in the garbage for good reason.

Vomiting is the body’s way of getting rid of substances or toxins that can cause harm, so it is important to observe your dog for other symptoms. Your dog may have swallowed a toxic substance or may be suffering from an illness, such as a gastrointestinal disorder.  If you suspect this could be the case, it is important to consult your veterinarian right away.

Any of the following can cause an acute episode of vomiting:

  • Change in diet
  • Food allergies
  • Eating garbage
  • Foreign objects (toys, bones, pieces of fabric) in the gastrointestinal tract
  • An infection of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Toxins
  • Acid reflux
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Intestinal parasites such as roundworms or hookworms9
  • Pancreatitis – a condition that causes the pancreas to become inflamed
  • A virus
  • Motion sickness
  • Reaction to certain medication
  • Bloat (gastric dilatation volvulus)
  • Heatstroke10

If your dog vomits occasionally, but displays no other symptoms and continues to eat normally, you probably don’t need to be overly concerned.  However, if your dog vomits more than once per day, or if vomiting continues for more than one day, please make an appointment with your veterinarian right away. Frequent vomiting can be a sign of a more serious condition.

What other symptoms should I watch for?

If your dog’s vomiting is accompanied by diarrhea, fever, pain in the abdomen, or enlargement of the abdomen, head directly to the vet.  These can be symptoms of either Pancreatitis11 or Bloat12.  

It is also helpful to keep track of any other symptoms that may seem out of the ordinary for your dog.  The more information you can provide to your vet, the more helpful it will be in making a diagnosis.

Here are some other symptoms to watch for:

  • How frequently vomiting occurs
  • Bowel movements – does your dog have diarrhea?
  • Anything in your dog’s vomit (ie: foreign objects, blood)?
  • Does your dog appear to be dehydrated?13
  • Change in appetite
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Increase or decrease in thirst
  • Lethargy14

What you can do to help your dog

Any of the symptoms listed warrants a visit to the vet’s office. The vet will likely run some tests to rule out any serious conditions. 

You can feed your dog a bland diet for a few days and then gradually introduce your dog’s normal diet again.  A bland diet usually consists of steamed chicken, boiled chicken, and boiled white rice in small amounts. Make sure to also have fresh water available at all times to prevent dehydration. Be sure to always check with your vet prior to changing your pets diet or giving them new or different foods. 

Your vet may prescribe drugs to control nausea, promote normal movement of the intestinal tract, or drugs that relieve inflammation in the intestinal tract as well15.

 Give your pup some extra love

No one likes feeling sick. So remember to give your dog some extra TLC when you know he is not feeling well.  After all, he’s always there for you when you’re under the weather. Extra snuggles will go a long way toward helping him feel better.

Here at PetFirst1, we know accidents and illnesses can happen to all pets. PetFirst Pet Insurancecan help cover unexpected vet visits2 and can provide peace of mind. PetFirst Pet Insurance1  has cat and dog insurance policies2 to fit every budget. 

Consider getting pet insurance for your furry friend today.


1PetFirst Healthcare, LLC (“PetFirst Pet Insurance” or “PetFirst”) is the program administrator authorized to offer and administer pet health insurance policies underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, a Delaware insurance company, with its main office at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, or New Hampshire Insurance Company or The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, each with its main administrative office at 500 West Madison Street, Suite 3000 Chicago, IL 60661. For costs, complete details of coverage, and a listing of approved states, please contact PetFirst Healthcare, LLC.

2Like most insurance policies, insurance policies offered by PetFirst Healthcare, LLC contain certain exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force.

6Vomiting in Dogs | VCA Animal Hospital

7PetMD.com

8VCAHospital.com

9Pets.webmd.com

10Pets.webmd.com

11Pawp.com

12ACVS.org 

13Warning Signs of Dehydration in Dogs – American Kennel Club

14Pets.webmd.com

15VCAHospital.com

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