Our dogs become part of our family, so it is distressing when we see them in discomfort. Vomiting in dogs is not uncommon, and while it’s never pleasant, it is often not causing for serious alarm. Dogs might vomit if they chew on a toy or piece of fabric that they cannot digest, or they might have caught a temporary bug that will pass quickly. In these cases, they may vomit a few times but then return to their normal selves.
Having said that, vomiting should never be completely dismissed, as no one wants their pet to suffer for longer than necessary, and, in some cases, it can be sign of a serious problem. This guide highlights the key steps to take if your dog starts to vomit.
Take a closer look at the vomit
While not the nicest of tasks, looking at the vomit may help you to discover the cause, and if you need to contact a vet, they will ask you to describe it. If the vomit contains pieces of toys or fabric, it is likely that they have eaten something they should not have. Even so, it is worth placing any foreign objects in a bag and/or taking photos in case a vet wants to inspect them. In some cases, it might contain the food they have eaten recently or bile or mucus. You should also look for any other symptoms of illness such as whining, diarrhea, or fatigue.
Withhold food, and wait
It is usually best to avoid feeding your dog for a few hours after they have vomited. You can give them water as this may help them to improve. If they do not vomit again for several hours, try giving them their normal food again but keep a close eye on how they respond.
Consider calling a vet
If your dog vomits several times in a day and then continues into the next day, it is time to contact a veterinarian. If your dog is vomiting intermittently over a week or two, you should contact a vet. It is also worth contacting a vet even if they are off their food and/or suffering from diarrhea, even if they are no longer vomiting.
In extreme cases, you might need to take your dog to an animal critical care clinic, e.g., if your dog has ingested a poison, is lethargic or unresponsive, appears to have reacted to a new medication, you see blood in the vomit, their abdomen is bloated and/or painful, their gums are gray, pale, or blue. In an emergency situation, you might need to find the closest vet to me, even if that is not your regular vet.
Reintroduce food and drink gradually
When it is time to reintroduce food after a period of vomiting, it is best to take small steps. Start with a little bit of water, and if they manage to keep that down, you can give them a small amount of bland food like boiled chicken and white rice. They may be reluctant to eat at first, but eventually, they will try to eat some. If they can keep it down, you can give them some more at the next mealtime until they have a healthy appetite again. Once they are eating as normal, you can gradually reintroduce their normal food.