It’s not uncommon for a dog to throw up. While occasional vomiting can be expected with dogs (after all, they can eat a bunch of crazy stuff), it’s not normal for your dog to throw up regularly. Because vomiting can be a sign of a serious medical condition and because it can be a painful, exhausting, and anxiety-causing experience for them, it’s important to find out why your dog is throwing up and help to stop it as quickly as possible.
Acute vomiting in dogs comes on suddenly is short in duration, and it may resolve on its own. If the underlying cause doesn’t resolve or isn’t removed or treated, acute vomiting can become progressively worse, and it can even become chronic if left untreated. Chronic vomiting is vomiting that happens occasionally or regularly for a week or more.
The best advice is to call your veterinarian to determine if you can treat your dog at home or if your dog needs to be seen immediately. If your dog is otherwise healthy, has only vomited once or twice in the past 24 hours, has normal bowel movements, seems to want to eat, and is acting normally, your veterinarian may recommend that you withhold food for 24 hours, then start back up with bland food like boiled rice and cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts (withhold the spices). However, if your dog has certain pre-existing conditions or isn’t eating their food, has decreased energy or urinations/defecations, or is known to have eaten something they shouldn’t have, they should be seen by a vet immediately (within 24 hours) when vomiting is present.
If your dog has vomited more than two times in a 24-hour period or is throwing up more than once per week on average, it’s time for a visit with your vet. Throwing up repeatedly can lead to dehydration and electrolyte and base/acid imbalances, which can make your dog’s prognosis worse. Repeated vomiting can also be a sign of a life-threatening condition, like xylitol poisoning, foreign body ingestion, Addison’s disease, or leptospirosis and risks of complications and death go up the longer you wait to seek treatment.
When you visit your veterinarian for your dog’s vomiting symptoms, they’ll take a thorough history, do a physical exam, and will run tests (these could include an analysis of a stool sample, bloodwork, x-rays, an ultrasound, or urine testing) to begin to determine the cause. During the exam, they’ll also assess for any other problems, like dehydration, that are caused by vomiting. Your vet can administer or prescribe specific treatments. They may give your dog an injection to help stop the vomiting, treat the underlying cause, and correct any dehydration and/or electrolyte problems that have developed.
The good news is a number of conditions that cause vomiting can be prevented. GI worms can be prevented by using a monthly parasiticide. Making sure that your dog is up to date on their vaccinations can prevent a number of infectious causes of vomiting such as parvovirus and leptospirosis. As will feeding a balanced diet and keeping toxins and other harmful chemicals safely secured and out of harm’s way. Finally, taking your dog to your veterinarian for annual examinations can ensure that you identify chronic conditions such as liver or kidney disease, diabetes, or Addison’s disease.
If your dog is throwing up regularly, it is not normal. Regular checkups, deworming and vaccination can keep your dog healthy. Work with your veterinarian to find out why your dog is vomiting, stop it, and improve their quality of life.
Important Safety Information: Use CERENIA Injectable subcutaneously for acute vomiting in dogs 2 to 4 months of age or either subcutaneously or intravenously in dogs 4 months of age and older. Use CERENIA Tablets for acute vomiting in dogs 2 months and older, and for prevention of vomiting due to motion sickness in dogs 4 months and older. Safe use has not been evaluated in cats and dogs with gastrointestinal obstruction, or those that have ingested toxins. Use with caution in dogs with hepatic dysfunction. Pain/vocalization upon injection is a common side effect. In people, topical exposure may elicit localized allergic skin reactions, and repeated or prolonged exposure may lead to skin sensitization. See full Prescribing Information.