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. It 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 during this time you need to consult a veterinarian.
- Don’t let them drink large amounts of water, but continually offer small amounts. If vomiting persists after a small volume of water consult a veterinarian
- After fasting, try a small amount of a bland diet (rice and cooked white meat). If there is no vomiting after 2 hours, continue with some more bland food every 2-3 hours. Gradually change back to a normal diet over 3 days.
A foreign body in the stomach or intestine and bacterial or viral infections can cause serious continual vomiting & will not stop on fasting & diet change.
If vomiting starts again, go to the vet! Also go to the vet if:
- Vomiting is frequent or continual
- There is blood present in the vomit or it has the appearance of coffee grounds
- Your vomiting animal is a puppy or kitten need extra care and caution
- Your pet is lethargic
- Your pet appears to have a fever – if they are panting or feels hot to touch.
- 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 it last ate and what it ate
- Describe the vomit (digested? food? grass? colour?)
- If diarrhoea is present and when it started
- Samples of vomit and or diarrhoea are often helpful