If you spend much time around dogs you will quickly learn that they tend to throw up – a lot. One reason for this is because dogs are hardwired to eat nearly anything they find. Historically, they’re scavengers. They hunt, yes, but they never pass up something that smells interesting. Take a walk through the woods with your dog and he’s likely to happily munch on pine cones, excrement from other animals, a small rock, and any trash left by other hikers.
Puppies are even worse than adult dogs. Young puppies use all of their senses to explore the world, including their sense of taste. That means they often chew and eat things they shouldn’t. This can include your shoes, your phone, TV remotes, and nearly anything they find in the house or yard. Some of these things are not meant to be eaten but your puppy doesn’t know any better. One of the most common reasons puppies throw up is because they eat foreign objects that disagree with them.
Puppies can also vomit because they are ill. Sometimes vomiting can be a sign of a serious illness. How do you know when you should be concerned about your puppy vomiting and when you should take it in stride? What should you do when your puppy throws up? Keep reading.
Puppies can vomit for lots of reasons
- Bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal tract – usually obtained from something the puppy ate;
- Bloat (most common in large, deep-chested breeds);
- Car sickness;
- Certain medications;
- Eating food that disagrees with them, including table scraps;
- Eating foreign objects (i.e., your shoes, your glasses, sticks);
- Eating from the trash;
- Eating grass;
- Eating too much or too fast;
- Infectious diseases such as distemper and parvo;
- Ingestion of toxic substances;
- Intestinal parasites such as worms;
- Intolerance to a certain food or ingredient;
- Nausea after surgery;
- Serious issues such as kidney or liver failure or pancreatitis;
- Viral infection
When should you be concerned?
Since puppies can vomit for so many different reasons and they are constantly tasting things and putting things in their mouths, you don’t need to take your puppy to the veterinarian every time he throws up. If he vomits once or twice to get something out of his system, he should be okay. If he vomits occasionally, he is probably normal, but you might mention it to your veterinarian. However, if your puppy vomits frequently, take him to the veterinarian to find out what’s going on. Vomiting more than a couple of times in a short period of time could indicate that your puppy is sick. Your vet should examine him and run diagnostics to find the cause.
If your puppy vomits more than a couple of times in a short period of time, check for these other symptoms:
- Blood in vomit
- Change in appetite
- Increase or decrease in thirst or urination
- Weight loss
These symptoms, along with vomiting, could indicate something serious.
On the other hand, if your puppy is not showing these symptoms; if he simply vomits once or twice and proceeds to eat regularly like nothing happened; and if he has normal bowel movements, he should be fine.
Any puppy can feel bad for a short time but don’t let your puppy go more than 24 hours without eating and drinking normally, especially if he is vomiting or having diarrhea. Take him to the veterinarian.
If your veterinarian finds a problem with your puppy, s/he may need to keep him overnight to give him fluids or other treatment. Or s/he may send him home with some antibiotics or other medications. S/he may give you an antiemetic to help control your puppy’s vomiting. Your vet should discuss the treatment plan and prognosis with you.
If you take your puppy to the vet and s/he doesn’t find anything seriously wrong, you may be advised to give your puppy a bland diet for a couple of days to let his gastrointestinal system rest. This usually means giving him some broth or some rice and boiled chicken, depending on his appetite. If he’s not very hungry, you might be able to coax him to eat a little baby food from a jar. Try to keep him hydrated and encourage him to drink water or an electrolyte drink as much as possible. Dogs and puppies lose fluids when they vomit or have diarrhea. Puppies usually bounce back in a couple of days. They are amazingly resilient.
Puppies can vomit for many reasons but one of the most common is because they have eaten something they shouldn’t. In most cases, a puppy will vomit up the thing that is making him sick and start to feel better. There are some things, such as parvo, that can be more serious. If your puppy has additional symptoms or if he vomits more than a couple of times in a short period of time, don’t hesitate to take him to the vet. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions for treatment.