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Understanding the Symptoms of Dog Vomiting

As pet owners, it’s natural to worry when our dogs vomit. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of canine regurgitation so we can identify the underlying cause and provide our furry companions with the necessary care. In this article, we’ll discuss the common reasons for dog vomiting, how to diagnose it, and the best ways to treat this issue.

What is Dog Vomiting?

Vomiting in dogs is common and occurs when a dog regurgitates partially digested food or other substances from their stomach. This natural process for dogs can occur for various reasons, including motion sickness or an upset stomach. Sometimes, vomiting can signify more serious underlying conditions such as an infection or other medical issues. If your dog begins to vomit unexpectedly, it’s best to speak to your veterinarian to decide if your dog needs to be seen.

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Causes of Dog Vomiting

Many potential causes of vomiting in dogs can range in severity, from benign to serious. Understanding what’s causing a dog to throw up and become sick, is the best way to determine the level of care they may need. Some common causes include:

Motion Sickness

Dogs may experience motion sickness during car rides or other forms of travel. This type of vomiting is usually mild and self-limiting but may require medication if it persists.

Ingestion of Foreign Objects

Dogs may ingest foreign objects like toys or sticks that can cause irritation or obstruction in their digestive tracts leading to vomiting.

Dietary Changes

Abrupt changes in diet or eating spoiled food can lead to an upset stomach which may cause vomiting. When switching your dog’s food, it’s always a good idea to slowly mix in the new dog food with the old, allowing your dog to adjust to the food change.


Bacterial infections such as salmonella or viral infections such as parvovirus can cause vomiting in dogs. An infection should be taken seriously, if you believer your dog has a bacterial infection, they should be seen by their veterinarian right away.


Parasites are a serious issue and will require medical treatment. Intestinal parasites like roundworms or tapeworms can also lead to vomiting in dogs.


Exposure to toxins like antifreeze, certain plants, drugs, and other substances can lead to poisoning and vomiting in dogs. If your dog is vomiting profusely and you believe they may have ingested something poisonous, they need to be treated right away.

Gastrointestinal Diseases

Certain diseases like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and pancreatitis can cause gastrointestinal irritation leading to vomiting in dogs. These types of digestive issues are often chronic, and will need to be treated medically.

Other Disease

Chronic diseases like kidney failure or diabetes mellitus can also cause vomiting in some cases.

Regardless of the cause, your dog’s vomiting needs to be taken seriously. Especially if your dog is repeatedly throwing up. Excess vomiting can cause dehydration. If your dog is becoming violently ill, your best course of action is to contact your veterinarian immediately for help.

Symptoms of Dog Vomiting

The most obvious symptom of dog vomiting is a regurgitation of partially digested food or other substances from the stomach. Other associated signs may include:

  • Loss of Appetite: If your dog has been vomiting frequently, it may lose interest in food and become a picky eater.
  • Abdominal Pain or Distension: Abdominal pain or distension are often associated with nausea and may be present before episodes of vomiting in some cases.
  • Diarrhea or Constipation: Diarrhea and constipation are often associated with nausea and may occur before episodes of vomiting in some cases.
  • Lethargy and Depression: Dogs experiencing frequent episodes of nausea/vomiting often become lethargic and depressed due to their illness which should prompt further investigation by your veterinarian. 

Diagnosis & Treatment

If your pup has been experiencing frequent bouts of nausea or vomiting, seeking veterinary advice for proper diagnosis and treatment options is important. Your animal doctor will likely take a comprehensive medical exam, that will include environmental changes, behavior changes, and other pertinent health details. This will likely include a physical examination. During the examination the vet will check for any physical causes of your dog’s abdominal distress. In certain instances, a blood sample may be taken to investigate potential infections, organ issues, and other factors. Depending on the results additional test may be necessary. Imaging tests like X-rays or ultrasounds can be helpful to determine the root cause and confirm the vet’s diagnosis and treatment plan.

Once your veterinarian has identified the cause of your dog’s vomiting, they will discuss potential solutions with you.

Prevention & Management

It is important to take measures to prevent episodes of nausea and vomiting in your dog. This includes ensuring that your pup only has access to appropriate foods and avoiding any table scraps. Avoid sudden changes in your pet’s diet. A rapid switch in food brands or type of dog food can lead to serious stomach upset and digestive issues. Bacteria can be commonly found in still water such as puddles or old water bowls. Although, vaccinations are available to protect your dog, try to keep your pet away from stagnant water as this can make them very sick. Additionally, avoid any potentially harmful items that they may try to eat, such as plants, feces, or spoiled food. To best protect your dog, ensure your pup is current on all vaccinations. Routine vaccinations and regular veterinary checkups are key to keeping your dog healthy and well.


Regurgitation in dogs can be caused by a wide range of ailments. As a pet parent, it is important to take notice of your dog’s illness. And always seek veterinary counsel for accurate diagnosis and treatment. With proper management and care, episodes of nausea and vomiting should resolve quickly, and your pup should be back to its usual self in no time!

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