Vomiting in pets
Dogs and cats are what’s known as natural purgers. This means they will vomit on cue to empty their stomachs of unwanted food, material, and fur. Vomiting in pets is a safety mechanism to remove things they feel cannot be digested.
When is vomiting serious?
Just like us, vomiting often occurs after feelings of nausea. Signs of nausea include drooling, licking of the lips, or excessive swallowing. Vomiting should not be confused with gagging or retching, as vomiting involves the stomach muscles contracting in order to ‘bring up’ matter.
Check your pet’s vomit to make sure it is free from blood. Blood in the vomit is a sign that your pet is seriously unwell, and they should be taken to a vet immediately.
Monitor your pet after they have vomited. If their vomiting persists, they may become dehydrated, and this could be a sign of a more serious problem.
What you can do at home:
- withhold food for up to 24 hours – if vomiting persists, consult a veterinarian.
- don’t let them drink large amounts of water, but continually offer small amounts – if vomiting persists, consult a veterinarian
- after fasting, try a small amount of something bland (rice and cooked white meat)
- if there is no vomiting after two hours, continue with some more bland food every two to three hours.
- gradually change back to a normal diet over three days
A foreign body in the stomach or intestine or bacterial or viral infections can cause serious vomiting. This will not resolve on its own and requires veterinary attention. If vomiting starts again, go to the vet.
Other signs of a serious issue
- vomiting is frequent or continual
- there is blood present in the vomit or it has the appearance of coffee grounds
- your pet is a puppy or kitten
- your pet is lethargic
- your pet has a fever
- they are panting
- there is abdominal pain (stretching, groaning) or your pet is restless
- diarrhoea develops
What you need to tell the vet
- how often your pet has vomited
- when they last ate and what they ate
- the appearance of the vomit
- if diarrhoea is present and when it started
- samples of vomit and or diarrhoea are often helpful
Contact your local Greencross Vets immediately if your pet is ill. A professional diagnosis and treatment will help your pet get back into good health.