Nothing worries a dog parent more than the sound of a vomiting dog. Aside from barking, it is a sound that most of us are very familiar with, but one that can also surely cause quite the panic. Most times, it doesn’t really mean a serious problem, however, it is still important to have all the necessary information about its causes and treatments, as well as what to do when your dog is vomiting.
Let’s read on to find out how we can keep our dogs healthy to minimize the occurrence of further problems.
VOMITING VS REGURGITATION: What is the Difference?
When our pups start spewing out any fluid or solid material from their mouth, it’s important to address this immediately, beginning with knowing the difference between regurgitation and vomiting.
Regurgitation usually appears in the form of solid tube-like, slimy discharge from a pup. This is caused simply by undigested food and it’s a natural reflex for pups to throw it up and is normally passive. More often than not, it doesn’t reflect any severe or serious conditions.
Vomiting, on the other hand, mostly comes in the form of fluid and can be caused by several complications like infection, gastrointestinal problems, and others. It is characterized by retching and abdominal contractions, and is considered an “active process.” Watch for signs such as drooling, licking the lips, and excessive swallowing in your dog as this usually precedes vomiting.
Knowing the difference between these two are important as they have very different causes and treatments, allowing your veterinarian to provide the most appropriate care for your pup.
CLASSIFYING THE VOMIT: Color
When you’re sure that your dog is indeed vomiting, and not just regurgitating, it’s important to note the color of the fluid they threw up. This will help you identify the possible cause of the vomit.
- Yellow Vomit
This normally happens when a dog hasn’t eaten for quite some time. The yellow color is brought about by bile secretions. This type of vomit occurs in the middle of the night or early morning, as it is during these times that dogs have empty stomachs.
- Clear, Liquid Vomit
One of the less worrying kinds, this normally happens when dogs induce water while nauseous. It is caused by water pooling within their stomach, which eventually comes up by itself. Since they can’t keep the water down, they would end up throwing it up.
- White, Foamy Vomit
Characterized by a white, frothy fluid, this is normally caused by acid buildup in the stomach of your pups. In essence, these are clear fluids but may become foamy as it comes to contact with air, or as it gets sloshed in the process of discharge.
- Red or Pink Vomit
Whenever we see red, that always raises alarm, and often with good reason. Red or pink vomit is the rather worrying type of vomit as it normally comes with blood. This can be a precedent to some of the most common dog diseases and health problems. The red coloration is brought about by bleeding which can be a result of an ulcer, gastrointestinal infection, or sometimes even parvo.
- Slimy, Mucus-like Vomit
This normally occurs when your dog’s drool accumulates in the stomach as a response to an irritation. It could also mean that your dog is really coughing and not vomiting, and the only way they can relieve this irritation is to vomit out the mucus.
- Green Vomit
When your dog vomits in green, this could mean only two things: one, they ate grass to relieve an upset stomach. This is common among dogs, but it is also important to not let your dogs eat too much grass as it could lead to them ingesting more parasites and pesticides. And two, green vomit can also be due to bile in the stomach.
- Brown Vomit
This color of vomit can indicate regurgitated food that never made it to your dog’s stomach. It can also be that your dog ate too fast and didn’t chew their food properly, or they swallowed a lot of air in the process. Brown vomit could also be due to small traces of blood in the vomit, or your dog ate poop. Best to inspect the content of the vomit to be sure.
- Worms in Vomit
Bacteria, worms, and other organisms can also induce dog vomiting. If your dogs have live worms, such as roundworms, they may vomit them out. Most of the time though, worm infestation can be diagnosed through eggs found in the dog’s feces.
CLASSIFYING THE VOMIT: Texture
You might see three types of vomit texture that can also help you or the vet to identify the cause and possible treatment to give.
A chunky vomit often means it is due to undigested food or your dog eating too quickly. It happens right after eating and you can usually see food pieces.
A granular type of vomit that looks like ground coffee is also often a food-related cause. You may see partially digested food and a little bit of blood.
A liquid type of vomit is almost always not food related. It can be caused by a serious health issue that you should not ignore.
CAUSES OF DOG VOMITING
There is not one common dog disease and health problem that can cause our dogs to vomit. It can be due to external or internal factors. Some breeds or certain ages can make dogs prone to throwing up. Here is a mixed list of acute and chronic causes for vomiting in dogs.
- Abrupt diet change
- Addison’s disease
- Brain tumor
- Diabetes mellitus
- Drinking contaminated water
- Eating grass
- Eating poop (coprophagia)
- Eating too fast
- Exercising after eating
- Food allergies or intolerance
- Gastritis or an upset stomach from eating garbage or spoiled food
- Gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestinal tract)
- Gastrointestinal ulcers
- Head trauma, drug side effects
- Heat stroke
- Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis
- Infections (bacterial, viral, or fungal)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Ingestion of toxic plants or other toxins
- Intestinal obstruction from a foreign body
- Intestinal parasites
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Middle ear problem
- Motion sickness from riding in the car
- Reaction to a medication
Yellow, clear, and white vomit doesn’t pose quite as much threat as red or pink, but any of these occurrences merit a visit to your vet. Should the vet be unavailable, some of the remedies you may administer to your dogs include the following:
- Keep them hydrated
Vomiting can cause severe dehydration to your pups. It is important to consistently provide them with adequate amounts of water. If your dog cannot keep water down, give them ice chips instead. It is less likely to cause more vomiting.
- Provide a Mild Diet
A mild diet may be fed to your puppy as you wait for them to recover. These diets are normally available at your vet clinic, but if you need to feed them immediately, boiled white rice and some white meat may do.
- Slow Down Eating
In most cases, throwing up can be caused by eating too fast, causing indigestion and some gastrointestinal problems. Feeding your pup small frequent meals in a day is best. You may also opt to place a large inedible object into your pup’s dish to force your dog to eat around it.
- Give Them Ginger
Consider a dog-safe tea with ginger in it. As with humans, ginger is known to calm an upset stomach and aid in digestion. Slice and chop 1 tbsp of fresh ginger root and infuse it in 1 cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Let it cool and give your dog a teaspoon full for every 15 lbs of body weight.
- Supplement With a Probiotic
Probiotics not only help promote a healthy gut for your dog long term, it can also soothe your dog’s upset tummy. Giving them a daily supplement of probiotics can be great for your dog’s overall health.
- Treat Them to a Massage
Gently rub your doggo’s stomach without putting any pressure. Your dog may enjoy it and may help them relax and ease their discomfort. If it causes them to vomit, discontinue.
- Slippery Elm Bark
This herb is known for treating digestive issues in dogs. It contains mucilage that lubricates and soothes an inflamed stomach membrane. It also has tannins that can help reduce inflammation. Vets recommend a dose of half a teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight mixed with your mild or bland food two times daily.
While these treatments provide immediate home remedies to your dog vomiting issues, it is still best to take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible, as they can offer the best medication and prescriptions on how to keep your dog healthy.