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Why Is My Dog Vomiting?

Updated on April 14, 2015

Learn What Causes Dogs to Vomit & How to Treat Them

I've been awoken too many nights by the sound of my puppy, Bebe, retching her stomach and throwing up. Not only is this frustrating for both my husband and I, but I'm sure is much worse for her.

Anyone who has ever had a dog can agree with me, they're a handful, and even more so when they're sick. The twenty minute vet examinations can get pricey, not to mention the costs of all the various types of medications you'll get sent home with.

For this reason, I've created a list of the various reasons for canine upset stomachs to help all you puppy parents self-diagnose and treat your patients.

Toxic Food Scraps


  • Retching or Throwing up (Also the treatment)
  • Vomit will contain food particles
  • May throw up several times

Let's be honest, sometimes you give your dog table scraps. It's hard not to. They're walking garbage disposals! But not everything that we eat is good for our 4-legged companions. Luckily for us and them, dogs' stomachs have a built-in feature which allows them to throw up any food that may be harmful or toxic to them. They will essentially treat themselves!


  • Avoid grapes, raisins, chocolate, avocados, baby food, alcohol, macadamia nuts, mushrooms, onions, & coffee
  • If your dog consumed a small portion of any of the above items, they'll be able to relieve their upset stomachs by throwing up the foreign food.
  • Fast your dog for12 hours. This will allow them the chance to vomit the remaining toxic scraps.
  • If your dog consumed a large portion of any of the above items, you'll need to contact your vet immediately.

Excess Stomach Acids


  • Yellow or brown fluid, sometimes foamy
  • Does not contain food particles
  • Frequent occurrences, usually in the morning

This is not a serious condition, but it is a chronic one if no action is taken. As the dog sleeps, acids in the stomach can accumulate. In some instances, the dog will throw up the excess acid to relieve his or her discomfort.

We had this situation with Bebe. Nearly every morning we'd be cleaning up after her. After some quick researching and experimenting, we've come up with a few solutions which work literally overnight.


  • More frequent feedings. This allows the food to sit in the stomach and absorb the acids.
  • Give your dog a small bowl of food before bed. If possible, leave it out for them overnight. If his or her stomach starts to ache, they can get some food to relieve it.
  • In small doses, use human antacids like Tums or Pepto-Bismol tablets. This will help alleviate their discomfort.

Stomach Ulcers


  • Vomiting (even with an empty stomach)
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Blood in Vomit
  • Black and tar-like stool

Stomach ulcers can occur for several different reasons, but most commonly if excess stomach acids are not treated quickly and properly. As the acids sits in the stomach, it eats away at the soft stomach lining. This can be very painful for your poor pooch. Other causes of stomach ulcers include lead poisoning, injuries, medications that are hard on the stomach, and stress.


  • More frequent feedings. Like excess stomach acids, this allows the food to absorb the acids that cause ulcers.
  • Reduce the amount of ulcer-causing medication your dog is taking.
  • Help reduce the amount of stress on your dog. Ex: Less running around and excitement.
  • Use natural herbs and supplements to effectively treat ulcers. These include: Alfalfa, Licorice root, Slippery Elm, Aloe Vera, L-glutamine, and Quercetin Chalcone.

More Ways to Treat Vomiting

Give your dog plenty of water: Just like humans, dogs can get dehydrated from constant vomiting. Make sure your dog has plenty of water if he or she is thirsty. Also try ice cubes.

Fast your dog for 12 to 24 hrs: This is only suggested when you dog is throwing up food. Fasting allows your dog's digestive system to rest and regulate itself.

Serve your dog a bland diet: After fasting your dog, you should plan a bland diet for him or her so they'll be able to keep the food down. Ex: 2/3 white rice and 1/3 boiled chicken breast.

Offer low-sodium chicken soup: If your dog isn't interested in water, try a clear broth or soup as a last-ditch effort to get fluids into them. This is also a good addition to a bland diet.

Give your dog a small ant-acid: Avoid prescription ant-acids. Small chewables like a Tums or a Pepto-Bismol tablets are ideal for canine upset stomachs. For small dogs, cut the tablets in half.

Reduce their amount of exercise: After a dog has thrown up, you should give them the opportunity to rest. Exercise could induce more vomiting. No Frisbee!

When Should You Contact Your Vet?

Dehydration: Monitor your dog's water bowl. If they're not drinking anything, there may be something more serious going on.

Vomiting Blood: If there is blood in your dog's vomit, there are a series of things it could be, anything from stomach ulcers to cancer. Contact your vet immediately for proper diagnosis.

Projectile Vomiting: This is often caused by an obstruction that prevents food from leaving the stomach. It could also be a sign of a neurological conditions.

Vomiting with Diarrhea: The combination of both will lead to a sure case of dehydration.

Suspected Poisoning: If ingestion of a poison (like antifreeze or fertilizer) is suspected.

Bloated Stomach: This is the result of a dog needed to vomit, but being unable.

If Symptoms Persist: If you've tried some of the various home remedies and your dog is still not improving, contact your vet.

Finding Your Solution

Our pets are part of our family. When they're sick, we get worried, just like any other parent. The hardest part of it is that they can't tell us how they're feeling. That's why we need to accurately interpret their symptoms to help them become happy and thriving once again. Hopefully you learned something that will help lead you to a solution for you and your companion.

~ Laura


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    • profile image

      J. Parr 

      6 years ago

      Very helpful

    • profile image


      7 years ago



    • lauralolita profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Florida

      Hi Jenny

      I'm not referring to liquid Pepto-Bismol, but rather the tablets. We've never had any complications from giving them to our dog when she had stomach problems. Just make sure that when you do give it to your dog, that you only give a small amount to begin with to see how your particular dog handles it. For a small dog, don't exceed 1 tablet.

      Hope that helps!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      there was one comment that was wrong our vet said never ever give things like pepto bismol to animals as it can make matters worse

    • Austinstar profile image


      8 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Talk about expensive. My mobile vet just came out and after routine exams and shots for 3 dogs and 1 cat, plus flea treatment and heartworm boxes, the bill was over $700! Of course, all this will last a year (unless there is an emergency), so I don't feel too bad. But it's still really more than I can afford. They're worth it, though.

    • lauralolita profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for the tips! I had no idea the type of chocolate mattered. By any chance, do you know why there is a such a drastic difference between dark and milk in relation to toxicity in dogs? Just wondering.

    • ng0208 profile image


      8 years ago from Kentucky

      Definitely some helpful information in here to save on those vet bills. I've worked at a vet on and off for quite a few years and i can vouch for the fact that even the checkups aren't cheap! Just two facts that some people don't know I thought I'd share: You can give your dog Pepcid AC for upset tummies and there is a difference in your dog digesting milk chocolate and dark chocolate. Small amounts of dark chocolate when ingested by a dog can be ok, but if they swallow milk chocolate watch out! It's severely toxic for animals!

    • lauralolita profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Florida

      You're welcome! Glad you all like it!

      As far as ingesting grass, apparently both cats and dogs do that to settle their stomachs. I've owned several cats and all of them liked eating grass and would end up throwing it up within the hour.

    • thevoice profile image


      8 years ago from carthage ill

      terrific pet hub thanks

    • Wealthmadehealthy profile image


      8 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

      This was an excellent read. I have several dogs and when they feel "not right", they ingest grass and this helps them to expel whatever they have eaten.

      Thank you for writing this informative hub!

    • Michael Shane profile image

      Michael Shane 

      8 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

      Great informative hub! Thanks!


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