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Why Is My Dog Throwing Up? Reasons Your Dog Is Vomiting & How to Help

Puppy is vomiting or throwing up bileThe sound of your dog vomiting is one of the worst in the world. In fact, few things will get a pet parent off their feet more quickly! It’s not just that there’s a mess to clean up every time your dog vomits, either. It’s the fact that you need to quickly figure out why your dog is throwing up so you can help them find some relief. 

We understand that dog vomiting isn’t a fun issue to deal with, but know that you are far from alone in your quest to help your dog. The purrch community welcomes you with open arms and open paws. Join us in conversation on the app, where other pet parents like you—and industry pros—are eager to share their personal experiences on this topic, and help. 

Meanwhile, we’ve detailed some common reasons for why dogs vomit and have offered some advice on how to help them in the moment, while preventing the issue from happening in the future. 

Why Is My Dog Throwing Up? 

No-one wants to see a sick dog so we first want to identify why it's happening. There are quite a few causes to consider which range from mild, one-off situations to more serious conditions that require veterinary care. 

Whether the issue is ongoing (chronic) or sudden (acute), dog vomiting should be taken seriously. It’s a sign that something is off internally. 

Common Causes

  • Parasites
  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • Ingestion of toxic substance
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Dietary changes and/or food intolerances
  • Too much physical exertion 
  • Bloating
  • Heatstroke
  • Hormonal fluctuations and/or diseases

Common Causes of Chronic or Frequent Dog Vomiting 

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Dietary changes and/or food intolerances (sometimes we don’t catch the issue immediately and continue feeding our pups the same food that’s giving them tummy troubles)
  • Metabolic disease and/or organ failure (typically liver, kidney, or pancreas)
  • Ongoing infectious disease
  • Dog cancer particularly canine stomach cancer

Dog with nausea who keeps throwing up foodRegurgitation Versus Vomiting 

Vomiting and regurgitation aren’t quite the same, explains PetMD. When a dog vomits, that means the food has made its way to their stomach for digestion and is heaved back up again. In this case, the vomit is usually broken down (more liquid-y) and has a strong, non-food like scent. 

Regurgitation is a quick ejection of undigested food that never made its way to your dog or puppy’s stomach. This “throw up” looks undigested and may still smell like the food itself since it hasn’t been broken down by your dog’s body yet. Dog regurgitation tends to happen shortly after your pup has eaten, and is often a sign your dog ate too much or too quickly. Some call this the “scarf and barf.” 

If you find your dog is throwing up for this reason, try to cut back on how much they’re eating and use a bowl that helps slow them down. The Outward Hound Fun Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl ($19.99) is a good example. 

When Should You See the Vet?

You should call your veterinarian anytime your dog vomits, especially if the issue is chronic or if it’s accompanied by other worrying symptoms, such as diarrhea, constipation, bloody stool, swollen stomach, lethargy, lack of appetite, and decreased thirst. Even in the case of dog regurgitation, speaking with your vet can help you come up with solutions to treat your dog’s “throw up” issues. 

To help determine the reason why your dog is vomiting, your veterinarian will likely ask a series of questions, do a physical evaluation, and perform some tests to pinpoint the issue. From there, a treatment plan will be put into place. 

Remember, the purrch community welcomes you with open arms and open paws! Join us on the app to engage in the conversations about dog vomiting happening right now.

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