Vomiting and/or diarrhoea are two of the most common ailments we see at Abercorn Vets. All dogs will occasionally vomit. In the wild they feed their young with regurgitated food and so vomiting is physiologically almost normal under certain circumstances.
The general rule is that if the vomiting is only occasional, of recent duration and if your pet is reasonably bright, then probably there is not too much to worry about. A pet that is about to vomit will start to salivate or lick their lips constantly.
This is also a sign of feeling nauseous.
Causes of Vomiting
Swallowed ‘foreign bodies’ can be anything from a sock or your child’s toy to the most common – the end of a dummy. Many smaller foreign bodies will cause initial vomiting but then pass on their own accord. However, they occasionally become lodged and become a surgical emergency.
Parasites such as roundworm are often the culprits in causing partial blockages in the intestines, especially in puppies. If you have not wormed your dog or cat in the past 3 months it may be worth doing so with a broad spectrum wormer.
Dietary problems are a common cause of vomiting whether they are primary (over eating, gorging, too rich, too fatty food) or secondary to some other cause of vomiting such as a bacterial infection.
Metabolic diseases such as kidney disease or liver disease can lead to vomiting. They usually present with other symptoms as well and your pet will need to be booked in.
Poisons. It depends on the type of poison. Always bring in a sample of the vomit or a sample of whatever plant/chemical you have seen your pet eating. Infections of the stomach (gastritis) often effect the upper intestine so that your dog may also present with diarrhoea.
Gastric ulcers occur in dogs. If your pet vomits blood on several occasions and / or black, tar like faeces (digested blood is present) are passed, then this is an emergency and your pet must be booked in straight away.
A major emergency in dogs is gastric dilatation and torsion syndrome. This usually occurs in giant and deep chested breeds such as German Shepherds. Your dog may try to vomit but only produces phlegm, not food. This is an ACUTE emergency and immediate surgical care is required.