Acute Vomiting In Dogs

| Updated: May 19, 2023
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If you are a dog owner, you have probably seen your furry friend vomit at some point. Vomiting is a common symptom in dogs that can have many causes, ranging from mild to serious. Sometimes, vomiting is a sign of a temporary upset stomach or something your dog ate that did not agree with them. Other times, vomiting can indicate a more serious problem, such as an infection, a toxin, a foreign body, or a chronic disease.

Acute vomiting is when your dog vomits suddenly and repeatedly for a short period of time, usually less than 24 hours. Acute vomiting can be caused by many factors, such as:

  • Dietary indiscretion: eating something spoiled, fatty, spicy, or toxic
  • Ingestion of foreign objects: such as toys, bones, rocks, or plants
  • Motion sickness: traveling in a car, boat, or plane
  • Parasites: such as roundworms, hookworms, or whipworms
  • Viral or bacterial infections: such as parvovirus, distemper, or salmonella
  • Pancreatitis: inflammation of the pancreas
  • Gastritis: inflammation of the stomach lining
  • Gastric ulcer: erosion of the stomach lining
  • Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV): twisting of the stomach
  • Liver or kidney disease: affecting the metabolism and elimination of toxins
  • Endocrine disorders: such as diabetes or hypothyroidism
  • Cancer: affecting the digestive system or other organs
  • Medications: such as antibiotics, steroids, or painkillers
  • Stress: due to changes in environment, routine, or social interactions

Symptoms of Acute Vomiting in Dogs

The most obvious symptom of acute vomiting in dogs is the expulsion of stomach contents through the mouth. However, there are other signs that can accompany vomiting, such as:

  • Drooling
  • Licking lips
  • Swallowing frequently
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in vomit or stool

Diagnosis of Acute Vomiting in Dogs

If your dog vomits once or twice and then resumes normal eating and behavior, you may not need to worry too much. However, if your dog vomits more than three times in a day, has other symptoms, or has a history of medical problems, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.

The vet will perform a physical examination and ask you questions about your dog’s history, diet, environment, and symptoms. The vet may also run some tests to determine the cause of the vomiting, such as:

  • Blood tests: to check for infections, organ function, electrolytes, and blood sugar levels
  • Urine tests: to check for kidney function and urinary tract infections
  • Fecal tests: to check for parasites and bacterial overgrowth
  • X-rays: to check for foreign objects, obstructions, tumors, or GDV
  • Ultrasound: to check for inflammation, masses, or fluid accumulation in the abdomen
  • Endoscopy: to check for ulcers, polyps, or foreign objects in the stomach or intestines

Treatment of Acute Vomiting in Dogs

The treatment of acute vomiting in dogs depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the symptoms. Some possible treatments include:

  • Fluid therapy: to rehydrate your dog and correct electrolyte imbalances
  • Antiemetics: to stop or reduce vomiting
  • Antibiotics: to treat bacterial infections
  • Antiparasitics: to treat parasitic infections
  • Anti-inflammatories: to reduce inflammation and pain
  • Surgery: to remove foreign objects, obstructions, tumors, or twisted stomachs
  • Diet change: avoid foods that trigger vomiting or cause allergies
  • Probiotics: to restore the balance of good bacteria in the gut

Prevention of Acute Vomiting in Dogs

While some causes of acute vomiting in dogs are unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to prevent or reduce the risk of vomiting in your dog. These include:

  • Feeding your dog a high-quality diet that is appropriate for their age and health condition
  • Avoiding giving your dog human foods that are spicy, fatty, salty, or toxic (such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, xylitol, alcohol, or caffeine)
  • Keeping your dog away from garbage cans, compost bins, or other sources of spoiled food
  • Supervising your dog when they are playing with toys, bones, or other objects that they could swallow or choke on
  • Preventing your dog from eating grass, plants, or other substances that could irritate their stomachs or contain pesticides, fertilizers, or toxins
  • Vaccinating your dog against common viral diseases that can cause vomiting, such as parvovirus and distemper
  • Taking your dog to the vet for regular check-ups and screenings for any health issues that could lead to vomiting
  • Consulting your vet before giving your dog any medications, supplements, or herbal remedies that could have side effects or interactions
  • Reducing stress and anxiety in your dog by providing them with a safe, comfortable, and stimulating environment and plenty of exercise and socialization

Common Breeds That Are Prone to Acute Vomiting in Dogs

While any dog can experience acute vomiting, some breeds are more susceptible than others due to their genetic predisposition, anatomy, or temperament. Some of the breeds that are prone to acute vomiting include:

  • Brachycephalic breeds: Breeds like Pugs, Bulldogs, Boxers, or Shih Tzus, have short noses and flat faces that can make them more likely to inhale air when eating or drinking, leading to gas and vomiting.
  • Deep-chested breeds: Larger breeds like Great Danes, German Shepherds, or standard Poodles, have a higher risk of developing GDV or bloat, a life-threatening condition where the stomach twists and fills with gas.
  • Toy breeds: Small dogs like Chihuahuas, Yorkies, or Malteses, have small stomachs and fast metabolisms that can make them more prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and vomiting if they do not eat frequently enough.
  • Curious breeds: Breeds like Beagles, Terriers, or Retrievers, that have a strong sense of smell and a penchant for exploring and scavenging are more likely to ingest foreign objects or toxic substances that can cause vomiting.


Acute vomiting in dogs is a common symptom that can have many causes and consequences. It is important to monitor your dog’s vomiting and seek veterinary attention if it persists or is accompanied by other signs of illness. Following simple preventive measures and treating the underlying cause of the vomiting can help your dog recover quickly and avoid complications. Remember, your dog’s health and happiness depend on you!🐶

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