Nurturing a pet is not that much different from bringing up a baby, as any dog owner already knows. They need constant care and protection against potential harm and they depend on you to anticipate their needs, to provide them with food, shelter, and affection.
Unfortunately, your dog is also vulnerable to a variety of conditions which can disrupt its health and wellbeing. One of the most common situations when you need to take charge and act like the responsible pet parent you are is when your dog is having a bout of vomiting.
The causes of dog vomiting can vary greatly and, while it is not always the case for serious concern, this can be a symptom of intoxication or a potentially life-threatening condition. How do you know when to treat your dog at home and when to rush to the veterinarian’s office?
What causes a dog to vomit
Very often vomiting is the way your pet’s body tries to correct a dietary indiscretion or mistake. It is not uncommon for dogs to rummage in the trash, ingest something unsanitary or drink from the toilet bowl. In addition to this, dogs can develop motion sickness just like humans do, which means that the vomiting episode is triggered by the movement during a car ride.
Many of the things dogs swallow can upset their stomachs and be ejected in the form of vomit. This can range from spoiled food and garbage to poisonous plants and even grass. Other not so alarming reasons why your dog may be vomiting include eating too fast, overeating and making excessive physical effort right after a heavy meal.
As you have most likely already witnessed as a pet owner, the ingestion of foreign bodies is a common issue which can often result in vomiting. Any foreign object that your dog swallows, be it a bone, a toy, or anything in between, can get stuck along its intestines and be a cause for vomiting.
Other vomiting episodes can be symptoms of dangerous underlying conditions, such as diseases of the liver, pancreas or kidneys. The same can happen if your dog suffers from inflammatory bowel disease or gastric irritation caused by the failure of any neighboring organ. Bacterial or viral infections may as well be the culprits, which is why it is essential to be able to differentiate between different aspects the vomit can take.
If you are unable to link the bout of vomiting to any condition or dietary indiscretion, watch out for any toxic substances your dog may have swallowed while you weren’t watching.
Types of dog vomit
Although this may not be the most pleasant activity to engage in it is important to examine your dog’s vomit, as it can at times reveal a lot about what is going on with your pet. Learn how to differentiate between normal-looking vomit and signs that there is a more severe issue which requires a doctor’s immediate attention.
If your dog throws up foamy-looking vomit of no particular color, you may draw the conclusion that his or her stomach is empty and had nothing to eject other than the mucus. Also, you may notice a yellowish color which is not necessarily alarming, as it comes from the bile in the intestines.
The basic differentiator when it comes to dog throw up is the consistency of the vomit. When it has semi-solid consistency with visible chunks of food, you can assume what caused your dog an upset stomach is something it has eaten.
If the chunks are relatively big, you can infer that the food didn’t spend enough time in the stomach to properly digest and that, perhaps, your pet overate or was too active after his or her meal.
On the other hand, if the aspect is rather liquid it may be related to other health conditions, such as gastritis or malfunctions of the kidneys, pancreas or liver. Make sure, though, to check that food contents are coming out when determining the consistency of your dog’s throw up, to make sure it is not, in fact, a case of excessive drooling.
What to do if your dog is throwing up
The first thing to do if your dog is vomiting is to observe the aspect of its throw-up in order to provide the veterinarian with enough information to determine the cause of the problem.
If the accompanying symptoms are not alarming, try to withhold food for a few hours and check if your dog is feeling any better or if any new manifestations occur.
If you notice it in your dog brown vomit which is also liquid calls for immediate care in a veterinarian’s office. This can be the effect of a bleeding ulcer and is most often accompanied by dehydration, another serious condition.
Intestinal blockage due to prior ingestion of a foreign object, as well as kidney failure, can both lead to internal bleeding which turns out brown in throw-up after having been digested by the gastric acid. For your dog to safely recover, he or she needs to be seen by a doctor on an urgent basis.
The same applies in the case of worms in dog vomit. If left untreated, dog worms can wreak havoc on your pet’s internal organs and cause a plethora of unwanted symptoms in addition to vomiting, such as diarrhea, weight loss, itching, and lethargy.
Because young dogs are particularly prone to a number of digestive issues, keep in mind to offer them special food for puppies. Feed your puppy food for sensitive stomachs if you notice that the pooch has issues digesting the food. In addition to this, make sure to always choose the appropriate food for your dog’s breed and weight, as it is specially made to suit different nutritional needs.
Considered by many a “superfood”, coconut oil for dogs has plenty of beneficial properties if you decide to use it on your pet. Not only does it improve digestion, but it also helps with inflammatory bowel syndrome, both of which are potential causes for vomiting in dogs. In addition to this, it also improves nutrient absorption and eases colitis symptoms.