Dog Being Sick: Why and What to Do

As shocking (and gross) as it is to see your dog vomit…and then maybe even try to eat it, it’s usually nothing to be concerned about, especially if it only happens from time to time. However, if your dog vomits regularly, or is vomiting or retching uncontrollably, it definitely requires attention from your vet. Today we’re going to explore some of the reasons why your dog is being sick, and what you can do to help your fur-friend.

Vomiting vs. Regurgitation

Vomiting and regurgitation might sound synonymous, but knowing the difference between the two is impawtent to distinguish whether what your dog has brought up is something to be concerned about.

Your dog will vomit when they need to forcibly remove something from their stomach. This may be because it's toxic, it’s difficult or impossible to digest (like a foreign object), or your dog is unwell. Your dog will usually show signs before they vomit such as excessive drooling, panting, retching or bloating.

dog panting

Regurgitation on the other hand, usually happens if your dog has wolfed their dinner down too quickly. Regurgitated food hasn’t been digested and doesn’t go much further down than the oesophagus. It’ll be brought up not long after your dog has eaten and will look similar to how it did on the way in and might even be in a cylindrical sausage shape like the oesophagus.

My Dog is Being Sick: Why and What To Do

Why is My Dog Being Sick?

If your dog has vomited and it doesn’t look like regurgitation, there are many reasons why this may have happened.

Here are some of the main ones:

  • Food allergies or intolerances
  • Abrupt changes to their diet
  • Bacterial or Viral Stomach Infections
  • Eating toxic foods (e.g. onions, garlic, chocolate, avocado, grapes, raisins etc.)
  • Eating other toxic material (e.g. chemicals and alcohols)
  • Motion sickness
  • Heatstroke
  • Worms
  • Parvovirus
  • Health conditions and diseases

What Do I Do if My Dog is Being Sick?

If your dog has vomited as a one-off and they’re not showing any other concerning signs, it's perfectly fine to treat this at home. 

Here are some tips for helping your pup after they’ve vomited:

  1. Remove their food for a short period of time to give their stomach time to rest and recover. A period of 12-24 hours can help your pooch recuperate. Make sure they still have plenty of water so they don’t get dehydrated.
  1. If your dog has stopped vomiting and is starting to act like their normal self again, start to reintroduce bland small meals. Boiled chicken and rice are highly digestible and easy on the stomachs of most dogs. Avoid foods that are fatty or oily as this can lead to further stomach upsets. Once your pooch is back onto their normal food, opting for recipes with pre and probiotics can help restore their gut microbiome.
  1. Let your dog have plenty of rest. Keep them cool and comfortable particularly in the summer months and let them doze off to some precious Z’s.

My Dog is Being Sick: When Do I Need to Take Them to The Vet?

If your pooch is vomiting and showing any of the following signs or symptoms, it’s best to get them checked out by their vet as soon as possible to rule out any sinister cause of the vomiting and get them started on the required treatment.  

These symptoms include:

  • Blood in their vomit or poop
  • Frequent uncontrolled vomiting or retching
  • Signs of pain such as lethargy, acting withdrawn, shaking, whimpering or whining
  • Excessive panting, increased thirst or increased urination
  • Chronic vomiting, loss of weight and loss of appetite
  • If you suspect they’ve eaten something toxic or swallowed a foreign object
  • Seizures

Grass Eating: Should I Be Worried?: contrary to popular belief, if your dog is munching away on the lawn, very rarely does this mean that they’re feeling sick or wanting to cause themselves to vomit. If you see your dog eating grass, it’s usually nothing to be concerned about.

dog eating grass

How to Prevent Dietary Stomach Upsets in Dogs

Not all vomiting can be prevented, however more often than not, doggy vomiting can be caused by dietary upsets. Food intolerances, food allergies or switching their dog food too quickly can cause stomach upsets, vomiting, regurgitation or running poops.

Aim to feed your dog a nutritionally complete dog food with high-quality natural ingredients. This way you can be sure that the food provides your dog with everything it needs to thrive without the artificial fluff which commonly causes digestive issues.

Hypoallergenic dog foods are perfect for those dogs that have food allergies or sensitivities and need a little extra TLC. All of our hypoallergenic dog food is made with 100% natural ingredients and free from common allergens such as gluten, soy, dairy and red meat. We also load them with either gut-friendly probiotics or prebiotics for a healthy digestive system and happy pooch poops.

If you are wanting to switch your dog’s food to one that is better for their tummies (hint hint Scrumbles), ensure that you do this gradually over a period of 7-10 days to prevent stomach upsets. 

This might look something like this:

  • Day 1: Feed your pooch their normal dog food and add a scoop of the new food.
  • Day 2: If your dog ate a scoop of the new food on Day 1 with ease and no signs of stomach upset, feed them ¾ of their old food and ¼ of the new dog food.
  • Days 3-4: Continue to increase the amount of new dog food with ½ old food ½ new food.
  • Days 5-7: ¾ new dog food ¼ old dog food
  • Days 8-10: now your pooch should be eating only their new and improved dog food

This is just a guide and each step can be lengthened slightly if your pooch is showing any signs of digestive upset like sloppy poops.

So now you should have a good grasp on why and what to do if your dog is being sick. There are many reasons why your dog might be vomiting, so if you’re ever concerned or unsure, take your furry friend to the vet to get them checked over.

Whilst you're here, why not read: 


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