Dog Vomiting - Emergency or Minor Issue

Posted by Dr. Roth on

Dog vomiting - emergency of minor issue

There's no sound quite like the sound that a dog makes right before it vomits. For some reason, the hacking sound dogs make right before vomiting can wake their pet parent from a dead sleep. For those pet parents that aren't awoken by the sound, their foot is often met with a slimy surprise first thing in the morning.

Vomiting, or throwing up, can be a common occurrence for some dogs. Unfortunately, dogs are unable to verbalize to their pet parent, or vet, how they are feeling or what symptoms they are experiencing. Pet parents should be armed with information so they know when their dog is vomiting - is it an emergency or minor issue? 

Why Dogs Vomit

There are many reasons why a dog vomits. Usually, if a dog vomits one time, it is not an emergency. However, when a dog vomits, it can be an indication of a severe problem.

Dogs can vomit due to minor things such as:

  • Eating or drinking too fast
  • Eating or drinking too much
  • Getting too excited
  • Motion or car sickness
  • A change in their diet
  • New environment
  • Constipation

More severe causes for vomiting include:

  • Ingesting a toxin
  • Ingesting a foreign object
  • Cancer
  • Infection
  • Organ failure
  • Parasites
  • Parvovirus
  • Bloat
  • Heatstroke

What to Do When a Dog Vomits

Of course, dogs can’t explain why they're vomiting, but they often show other signs that can help diagnose the severity of the problem.

The following questions can help a pet parent determine if the vomiting is an emergency that needs immediate medical attention.

  • How is the dog doing otherwise? Look for other signs of illness such as lethargy, constipation, or diarrhea. A sick dog will likely not be interested in regular activities such as playing.
  • Did the dog vomit one time or many times? It's not uncommon for dogs to throw up one time due to a non-emergent reason. However, if the dog throws up multiple times, there's more cause for concern.
  • Does the dog seem to be in pain? A dog in pain will often hide, make whimpering sounds, or display aggressive behaviors.
  • What does the vomit look like? Normal vomit will usually consist of food and anything else they've eaten. Signs of a more severe problem can include dark-colored vomit with blood in it.
  • Does the dog have other physical symptoms? These symptoms can include diarrhea, ocular discharge, dry nose, and excessive panting.
  • Is the dog eating and drinking normally? A sick dog may not want to eat or drink. On the other hand, they may excessively drink and try to eat grass or dirt.
  • Have there been any changes to the dog's environment or diet? Dogs can be sensitive to their surroundings. New places can cause anxiety and vomiting.
  • Are there any new plants in the home or yard? Some plants can be very toxic to dogs. Pet parents should research any new plant introduced to the home or yard to ensure it isn’t toxic to dogs.

Get Expert Advice

Any time a pet parent feels something is wrong with their dog, they should contact their vet. Pet parents know their dog better than anyone and know what is normal and not normal for their dog.

 If pet parents have any questions or concerns about their dog’s health, they can speak with real licensed vets, who are online 24/7, with Fuzzy. The Live Vet Chat function offers access to live vets when pet parents need it most. Sign up today to get started. 

Wellness Care What to do if?