Your dog is the cutest, most loving creature in the world. She can do absolutely no wrong. That’s why when she pukes on the bedroom carpet at 3 AM, taking your shoes and duvet down in the fire, you can find all these reasons to forgive her.
Pets puke for all kinds of reasons. Something as simple as eating too fast can cause them to vomit. Other times, your dog may have been a little naughty and eaten something they shouldn’t have causing their tummy to grow upset and then they throw up. There is also the potential for more serious medical issues, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
We talked to Dr. Sabrina Marie Castro of Vetted PetCare to find out everything you need to know about why dogs vomit, and then some.
Vomiting vs. Regurgitation
“There is a medically recognized difference between vomiting and regurgitation,” says Dr. Castro.
Vomiting occurs when the contents of the stomach are forcefully ejected from the body. “When our pets vomit, there is usually some nausea (seen sometimes as drooling), and heaving abdominal motions- these usually occur just before the vomit is produced,” says Dr. Castro.
Regurgitation is kind of like a burp, only with more baggage. “With regurgitation, our pets are actually bringing up contents from their esophagus or upper gastrointestinal tract,” says Dr. Castro, “No abdominal effort is seen, and the material is often brought up suddenly without warning.”
“If your dog vomits, your veterinarian will want to take a thorough medical history and account of any other signs or symptoms your pet may be experiencing, along with any recent changes to their environment, to help determine the potential underlying cause,” says Dr. Castro.
If you can tell the difference between these two types of excretion, your vet will be more likely to properly diagnose your dog. Additionally, being aware of this difference can allow you to determine whether you need to seek medical attention, or if you should just let your pup take it easy for a while.
What to Do if Your Dog is Vomiting
“If your pet has vomited only once in the past 24 hours, and the vomit appears as mostly undigested food material,” says Dr. Castro, “and your pet has no other signs and appears otherwise well, I would advise to continue to keep fresh water available at all times, and offer only a small amount of a bland diet at their next mealtime (plain white rice, and/or steamed or baked skinless, boneless chicken breast, no salt or seasoning added).
If, however, your pet has vomited more than once, you are not sure what is in the vomited material (or what it is composed of), or your pet is exhibiting any other new sign or symptom, please seek veterinary advice.”
If your dog has eaten a foreign object and vomited it back up, Dr. Castro still recommends seeking veterinary help, just to make sure your dog has cleared all the ingested contents.
Common Household Items that Induce Vomiting
Here at Fitdog, we’ve seen our fair share of… um… dogs trying to pass certain items that cannot be digested. Underwear, paper towels, toys– you name it, we’ve seen it. So how do you puppy-proof your house in order to prevent your dog from eating these things?
Sometimes, it’s the very things we give our dogs that can make them throw up. Dr. Castro says, “If you know your dog is a ‘squeaky toy destroyer’- in other words, will tear up any soft toys and may actually ingest a squeaker or soft padding material, this could cause them to vomit. I would either remove these from the home or only offer them under direct supervision.”
Additionally, if your home has a pool, your dog might be drinking from there and ingesting some nasty chemicals. “These dogs would benefit from restricted pool access when you are not at home,” says Dr. Castro.
Supervision is the best preventative when it comes to keeping your dog from chewing inedible objects or unfriendly foods. Check out this guide from ASPCA on common household plants, cleaners, and foods that may be toxic to your dog.
It’s not abnormal for dogs to throw up. Knowing what signs and symptoms to look for can prepare you to make educated moves towards treating your dog, whether it’s a trip to the vet or simply changing their diet. Either way, try to keep in mind that unlike humans, dogs can’t always communicate how they’re feeling, and their vomiting can catch us off-guard. It’s important to remain level-headed, and while you’re scrubbing puke stains out of your carpet, try to remember just how cute, loving, and amazing your dog is.