How To Treat Puppy Vomiting

When little Fido is throwing up it can be pretty scary -for both of you - and to treat puppy vomiting effectively you need to figure out what's causing the problem.

It's actually fairly common in puppies because they tend to try and eat anything, and everything, that they can get into their mouths... a recipe for an upset tummy for sure.

But there are also some very serious dog illnesses which include vomiting among the early, and most common, symptoms.

So, how do you know what's at the root of the problem, and what action to take?

Check out the information on this page to find out.....

When Vomiting Might Be Serious...

If your puppy is showing any of the following types of behaviors or symptoms and is vomiting, he could be in big trouble.

Pups showing any of these symptoms need professional help.. right away!

  • Repeated, forceful vomiting
    if your puppy has vomited several times over a period of 3 - 4 hours, has emptied his tummy, and continues to vomit even though he hasn't had anything to eat or drink (or simply can't keep anything down), he needs help immediately.

    Repeated vomiting can cause serious dehydration, and even if the cause of the vomiting turns out to be nothing to worry about, the dehydration alone is a significant health risk.

  • Also has diarrhea or other symptoms
    puppy vomiting that is accompanied by diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, panting, pacing or other signs of distress or illness needs to be evaluated by a veterinarian immediately.

    It could be due to poisoning, a parasitic illness such as giardia, or a serious illness such as Parvo or something similar. Again, dehydration is a big concern, as are complications or progression of the disease/toxin

  • Blood in the vomit
    blood in your puppys' vomit could indicate significant irritation/inflammation of the esophagus, stomach ulcers or a bleeding disorder of some sort.

    The blood can be bright red, or may be dark and look sort of like coffee grounds. Seek help right away

  • Evidence of foreign objects in vomit
    if you see pieces of things (non-food items) that your dog has ingested (such as string, plastic, cloth etc.) in his vomit, get him to the vets office.

    If he is 'retching' or 'dry heaving', strains to poop but isn't able to pass anything, or seems distressed in any way this could be an emergency

  • Has a distended belly and seems distressed
    these can be symptoms of Bloat (also sometimes called Torsion), and this condition is most common in large and giant breed puppies/dogs.

    Bloat happens when the stomach fills too rapidly and literally twists into an abnormal position. This causes repeated vomiting and/or retching, drooling, a swollen belly, stress and anxiety that progresses rapidly (often seen as panting, drooling and extreme restlessness). This is another emergency situation.

    If you even think your dog could be suffering from bloat, don't wait, get him to a veterinarian right away. Without prompt veterinary attention he could easily go into shock and die quickly and painfully. 

The sort of acute puppy vomiting ALWAYS needs to be evaluated by a vet quickly, to avoid potentially serious complications or consequences.

Never try to treat puppy vomiting like this at home or by yourself. You need to get your little one to a veterinarian.

Warning.... Warning.... Warning.....

One of the most common causes of severe, repeated vomiting in puppies is the very serious, potentially deadly disease called Canine Parvovirus.

'Parvo' can kill a young puppy within 24 hours (that's not an exaggeration) and it's absolutely heartbreaking to have this happen to your precious pet.

Any pup with repeated vomiting who also seems listless or lethargic - even if there is no diarrhea present yet - needs to be seen by a vet immediately to rule out this deadly disease!

Puppy Vomiting.. is it serious?

west highland white puppy on bed

There are times, when you can often 'wait and see' whether or not your puppy's vomiting settles down, or you can try to treat him at home.

If your pup vomits once or twice, but isn't showing any other symptoms and he doesn't act or appear to be sick (ie he's active, playful and will eat and drink without problems) then it may be something minor that's causing him to throw up.

In this situation, you might be able to figure out what's causing the problem and either treat it yourself, or at the very least take a 'wait and see' attitude for 24 hours or so, and give it a chance to clear up on it's own.

BUT if you're worried, or your puppy is acting unwell, don't take chances. Get him to your vet right away!

Here are some things that might cause a temporary tummy upset in puppies, and tips on treating a puppy who is throwing up.

  • Eating forbidden 'stuff'
    puppy vomiting due to eating something he shouldn't have (BUT NOT SOMETHING THAT IS TOXIC) usually causes your pup to look pretty sorry for himself, and to be a bit quieter or less energetic than normal.

    This is usually pretty self-limiting though, and usually lasts 24 hours or so. He may also have a little diarrhea as well, but will otherwise seem fairly normal. No real lethargy, or distress, and will drink water and be able to keep it down.

    He will need to drink plenty to combat any dehydration caused by the vomiting. In this situation, you can usually afford to wait 24 hours to see if he improves.

    However, if he doesn't seem better the next day, or gets worse at any time, you need to have him examined by your veterinarian.

    If Fido has ingested something toxic though he might be in real trouble, even if he seems okay right now. There are lots of common foods and household products that are deadly for dogs, check out my  Stuff that's Poisonous To Dogs page to learn which ones you need to be on the lookout for.

  • Sudden change in diet
    (a new puppy food, some table scraps, or different treats and so on) can cause tummy upset. Puppy vomiting that you're sure is a result of this sort of dietary change, usually works itself out within a couple of days. Again, you shouldn't see any other signs of illness in your puppy (other than maybe a little diarrhea), and he should seem happy, healthy and active otherwise.

    When this happens you can again usually give it a day or so, and see if there is improvement. Make sure he drinks plenty of water too. If he doesn't improve, or gets worse, take him to your veterinarian for evaluation.

    You can usually avoid this sort of tummy upset by making any dietary changes gradually. If you need to change his brand of food for example, make the transition over a period of about a week or so, gradually introducing the new and phasing out the old. And don't suddenly start giving him 'extras' such as bones, fancy treats, or 'edible chew toys', introduce them a little at a time.

  • Worms
    a bad case of canine worms can cause puppy vomiting, and the vomit might even contain the worms themselves! If your puppy has been given a deworming medicine, then you can probably wait a day and see if it gets better, but if he hasn't been dewormed yet, see a vet right away.

  • Medications
    some medications can have side effects, including making your pup feel nauseous, or actually make him throw up . The most common 'culprits' are worm medications, anti-biotics, certain painkillers, drugs used to treat heart problems or Cushings' disease, high doses of steroids, and chemotherapy.

    If this happens, talk to your veterinarian. Sometimes you can give certain drugs with food which helps to offset the nausea effect, or change to another medicine. In many cases, the vomiting wears off as your dogs' body adjusts to the medication.

  • A Too-Empty Tummy
    this might sound strange, but puppies often vomit a small amount of yellow or green foam or fluid, especially first thing in the morning.

    This is usually caused by a build-up of stomach acid overnight, due to his tummy being empty and the acid having nothing to 'work on'. You can often treat puppy vomiting like this by giving your pup a handful of kibble, or a few plain dog biscuits about an hour before bedtime.

Chronic Vomiting in Puppies/Dogs

If your puppy or older dog experiences chronic vomiting (ie he vomits on a regular basis, maybe once a day or several times a week), but doesn't seem to be acutely unwell, have him seen by your veterinarian as soon as you can, but it isn't necessarily an emergency.

Conditions such as canine acid reflux disease (can cause a puppy to vomits a yellow or greenish liquid especially in the morning), irritable bowel syndrome, ongoing liver disease, hormonal imbalances or congenital diseases can all be at the root of the problem.

If your puppy is throwing up, never give him over-the-counter or human medicines without first consulting your veterinarian.

Some human medications are toxic to dogs, and even when the medication is okay to use, it's important to get the dosage exactly right.

Only your veterinarian can advise you on this, so treat a puppy/dog who is vomiting on a regular basis (even if he seems fine otherwise) by getting him in for a check up.

Learn more....
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