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Vomiting occurs when the contents from the stomach and upper intestines are forcefully ejected. Dog vomit can contain yellow bile or dog food that has been partially digested, and it usually smells sour.

Vomiting may occur directly after eating or anytime thereafter. It’s usually preceded by signs of nausea, such as drooling, licking the lips, and swallowing excessively.

Normal Vomiting

Long-term dog owners know that vomiting is not uncommon. Occasionally, healthy dogs will get sick for no apparent reason and then continue with their day as if nothing happened. Your dog could have eaten too quickly, swallowed something disagreeable, or merely snacked on too much grass. This type of vomiting is usually nothing to worry about.


Regurgitation is removal of undigested food which has usually only just reached the stomach or is still in the oesophagus. It is especially common if your dog has just wolfed down their food too quickly.

If your dog is regurgitating the food, anything they bring up will appear undigested and may be shaped like a tube (the shape of the oesophagus). It also tends to reappear fairly shortly after the meal. This is not as serious as vomiting.

Causes of Vomiting in Dogs

A short list of the many causes of vomiting in dogs includes the following:

  • Dietary indiscretion (eating something they shouldn’t have)
  • Parasites (giardia, roundworms, hookworm, whipworm)
  • Food allergies (typically protein)
  • Toxins
  • Side effects of medication
  • Poisoning or eating spoiled food
  • Infection with parvovirus or rabies
  • A foreign object lodged in the stomach or intestines
  • Bloat (gastric dilatation volvulus)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Acid reflux
  • Kennel cough
  • Switching foods suddenly, or eating highly processed pet foods.

Symptoms of Vomiting in Dogs

Frequent throwing up can be a sign of a serious medical condition. Watch for symptoms like these:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness
  • Vomit with blood in it
  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Fever

If your dog is throwing up food and also has any of these symptoms, take them to the vet


Veterinarians will often conduct a number of fairly simple diagnostic tests such as blood work, fecal analysis and x-rays to pinpoint an accurate diagnosis. In some cases, an abdominal ultrasound may be recommended to evaluate internal organs more extensively.

In more chronic cases or cases more difficult to diagnose, further diagnostics such as a blood test for pancreatitis, a test for Addison’s disease, or even surgery to obtain biopsies may be required to identify the underlying cause.

Treatment of Vomiting in Dogs

You can baby your dog as you would a sick child and give him homemade food such as boiled potatoes, rice and well-cooked, skinless chicken. In certain situations, your dog may require fluid therapy, antibiotics, a change in diet, antiemetics (drugs to help control vomiting) or other medication. It is best to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations regarding appropriate treatment.


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