As dog owners, we have all had the experience of walking into a room to see a little doggy vomit puddle on the floor. And we’ve all watched on as our fluffy little four-legged friend hacks up grass in the garden. It’s what dogs do.
But it’s not pleasant to see your dog experiencing the discomfort of vomiting, even if he is just getting rid of something disagreeable he ate. And we’ve probably all wondered if the vomiting is normal, or if it’s a sign a something more serious.
It helps to know that he might not be vomiting, but regurgitating. And here’s the difference. Vomiting is when the stomach contents are ejected from the stomach. It takes a lot of retching and hard work to vomit. The contents – partly regurgitated food and bile – usually smells awful. On the other hand, regurgitation doesn’t take as much effort and the food that comes up is undigested.
It’s important to watch out for these signs so you can tell your vet. It makes diagnosis much easier.
We can generally categorise vomiting as chronic or acute. An acute vomiting session generally sorts itself out. If your dog has had a good vomit, hold off giving him food for 24 hours and if he doesn’t vomit again, introduce food slowly. He’s probably expelled whatever it was that caused the vomiting and doesn’t need to see the vet. On the other hand, chronic vomiting continues for more than a few days, either at regular intervals or intermittently. It’s really important to remember that if the vomiting goes on for more than two days, it’s probably chronic and is not going to go away, so it’s time to get to the vet. Diagnosing the problem can be tricky, as vomiting can be a symptom of a wide range of diseases and health issues.
Causes of vomiting can include viral or bacterial infections, gastritis or pancreatitis. Your dog might have ingested a foreign body or it could be a sign of kidney or liver disease. Your vet might take some blood tests if she can’t pinpoint a cause.
If your dog has experienced a few days of chronic vomiting, he will be dehydrated, so your vet will probably recommend he stay in the surgery to be monitored and receive fluid treatment. Depending on the cause, he might be prescribed antibiotics and other medications that target the cause of the vomiting. The important things as a dog owner is that you don’t ignore vomiting that goes on for more than two days.