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Dog Vomiting: What You Need To Know!

A brown and white bulldog laying on a brown leather couch under a brown blanket

A common sign of illness in your dog is vomiting. There are many reasons that your dog may be vomiting.  Some of these are short-lived problems that are easily fixed.  Some of these require major medical intervention. This article will discuss these reasons and what you can do about them.

What causes sudden vomiting in dogs?

There are many different reasons that your dog may be vomiting.  These are a few of the most common reasons that you may have to take your vomiting dog to the veterinarian. 

Bacterial infection (Gastroenteritis)

Some dogs will eat something that does not agree with their stomachs. This will cause them to vomit. When your dog vomits, they are causing inflammation of the lining of the intestines. This can lead to a bacterial infection in the GI tract called gastroenteritis.

Dietary changes

If you just got a dog and they are now vomiting, this may be due to the change in food.  Dog's intestines get used to the same kind of food. When you switch food on your dog, they may start to vomit.  This is nothing to worry about and should fix itself in a few days.

Foreign objects (toys, bones) in the GI Tract

Dogs are notorious for eating things that they should not be eating.  They commonly find a pair of socks or underwear and eat them. This usually ends up getting stuck in the GI tract.  If you think that your dog has eaten something they should not have, take them to your veterinarian to have them check for a possible foreign object.  Your veterinarian can take radiographs to see if there is anything stuck. If there is your dog will most likely need to have surgery to have the object removed.

Intestinal parasites

Parasites can be another common reason that your dog is vomiting. If your dog is vomiting from parasites, many of the times, there are worms in their vomit. If you see worms in your dog's vomit, contact your veterinarian, and they can prescribe your dog some medication to get rid of these worms.

Kidney failure

When animals get older, their kidney stops working as they should.  Common signs of kidney failure are:

  • Increase Urination
  •  Increased thirst
  •  Vomiting
  • Lethargic
  • Not eating

If you notice any of these signs in your dog, take them to your veterinarian, and they can run bloodwork to see the reason for these signs.  There is also medication and supplements your pet cat take to help the kidney's function more properly.

a brown and whit edog under a white blanket

Liver failure

Just like with kidney failure, a dog's liver can also cause problems when they age. Liver failure will cause your dog to vomit. Dogs can also have liver failure if they eat something toxic. There are many plants and human medications that are toxic to a dog's liver. Dogs with liver failure will have a yellow color to their skin, inside of their ears and gums. If you notice any of these problems in your dog, take them to your veterinarian.


If your dog got in the trash or snuck a few extra bites from the table, they may develop pancreatitis.  Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. This small yet mighty organ lives near the stomach and small intestines.  If your dog has pancreatitis, they will be vomiting. They are also very painful in the upper abdomen. There is blood work that your veterinarian can run to check your dog for pancreatitis.  If your dog is diagnosed with pancreatitis, usually a few days of bland food and some medication will have your dog back to their happy lifestyle.

Toxic substance ingested

If your dog can eat toxic, plants, bugs, and human medication. Your dog will vomit if they eat something toxic.  This can also cause problems with the liver and kidneys. If you think that your dog ate a toxic substance, call your veterinarian.  The quicker you treat the problem, the better the outcome for your dog.


Large, deep-chested dogs can bloat. This is also called gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV). This is when their stomach flips over and becomes bloated. This is due to your dog eating food faster than being very active. Dogs will bloat, causing them to vomit and have trouble breathing. If you notice this in your dog, this is an emergency that will require emergency surgery to correct.


If your dog has spent a lot of time outside during the hot summer, they can suffer from heatstroke. IF your dog has heatstroke, they may vomit.  If you notice your dog outside in the heat of summer and they are vomiting, take them to your veterinarian or closest emergency clinic for treatment.  Heatstroke can leave irreversible damage if not treated early enough.

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Car sickness

If your dog starts to drool and only vomits when they are riding in the car, they may have car sickness. There are medications that you can give your dog to help with car sickness. Your veterinarian can prescribe these medications for you to give your dog about 30 minutes before a car ride.

 Over-eating (Food Bloat)

Some dogs will eat their food fast, then go and eat the other dogs in the house food. This leads to food bloat, which will cause your dog to vomit.

What to do when your dog vomits?

Sometimes when your dog vomits, it is just a one-time occurrence. Many times, this is because they are vomiting up something; they ate they should not have eaten. Sometimes they are just regurgitating something uncomfortable. Look in your dog vomit and see if there is anything in there. If your dog just vomited once and otherwise seems happy and healthy, this is probably nothing to worry about.

If your dog is frequently vomiting or vomiting every time they eat, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. They will run blood work, x-rays, and a stool inspection to try to figure out what is causing your dog to vomit.

There are also other symptoms to look out for that would indicate that your dog has a major problem, such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in vomit
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Change in appetite
  • Dehydration

If you notice any of these symptoms coupled with vomiting, go straight to the vet.

Vomiting is a very common thing seen in dogs. If your dog is vomiting, many things could be causing them. Your veterinarian can help you figure out exactly what is going on and help get your pet back to their normal healthy, and happy life.

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Meet The Author

dr sara ochoa dvm author at sitstay.com

Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM

Since she was a little girl, she knew that her dream was to become a veterinarian. With a tremendous passion and love for animals that makes her a great source of knowledge for others. She lives happily with her husband Greg and her babies Ruby the Schnoodle, and Bam-Bam the bunny.

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