Dogs aren’t exactly the best communicators. However, it’s kind of hard to blame them for this since they don’t speak our language. At any rate, dogs aren’t able to tell us what’s going on when they don’t feel very well. Our dogs just suddenly throw up, and you’re left wondering what exactly is going on. Here’s an inside look at what’s going on and what to do about it.

Is it normal for my dog to throw up?

It can be normal for your dog to throw up, yes. While humans don’t (usually) tend to throw up unless something is wrong, dogs can and do just throw up more often. This is because they have very sensitive stomachs compared to humans, so even the mildest irritation or problem can cause them to want to heave up whatever it is that’s bothering them.

What to do if my dog is throwing up

If your dog is throwing up right now or has very recently, what do you do? Here are some tips to help them through this unsettling behavior without getting unnecessarily stressed:

  • Keep calm
  • Encourage them to drink
  • Feed them a bland diet

Dogs can panic easily, especially if you are unsettled and panicking, too. Keep yourself calm and work at calming your dog, too. This will help their body stay relaxed so that their stomach can work through whatever it needs to. The more stressed they get, the more likely your dog is to continue throwing up!

Drinking water can sometimes settle an upset stomach in dogs. While it might not be a cure, it can help them to feel a little better at the moment. As well, throwing up can dehydrate your dog quickly. Since dehydration can be fatal in dogs, you’ll want to do whatever you can to encourage your dog to drink and stay hydrated.

Finally, you can consider feeding a bland diet to your dog for a few days. This is a great idea if your dog’s appetite is off, too. Bland diet staples that are safe for dogs include white boiled rice, plain, cut chicken breast, and mashed pumpkin.. All of these can be mixed into their normal food or even used in place of it. These kinds of food will settle their stomach and push anything “bad” through their system and out.

What are common reasons for my dog to throw up?

Let’s take a look at some of the more common reasons for your dog to be throwing up so that you can see just how common they actually are. This can do a lot to reassure you that everything may be totally fine with your dog. 

  • Eating too fast
  • Indigestion
  • Getting over-excited
  • Getting over-exerted
  • Being sick or in recovery
  • Stress and emotional distress

Dogs love food. Like, they really love food. They tend to eat so fast that we will refer to it as “inhaling their food.” This can lead to throwing it back up simply because the food gets in the way of breathing and functioning, so the body rejects it. Indigestion works in a similar way.  Their stomach can’t handle all of that food in less than 30 seconds. It might happen immediately after eating, or it may take 10-20 minutes. 

When it comes to getting over-excited, it depends on the trigger for it. If they see their favourite person, they can get so excited that their body just gets overwhelmed, and it can lead to them throwing up. Think about how you would feel if your favourite person came into the room when you didn’t know they were coming. It can make you feel excited, and even dizzy or nauseous, right? 

Being over-exerted can cause vomiting because your dog’s body is just overworked and can’t tolerate food until it calms down a bit. This is similar to how humans often can’t eat a full meal right after going for a long run. They should wait for a bit until their body calms down.

Finally, illness and stress can both cause the stomach to get upset and empty itself. It doesn’t mean that your dog is deathly ill; they’re just not feeling their best. When the illness and stress trigger calms down, their stomach normally will settle down.

When should I worry about my dog throwing up?

If you’re feeling really concerned about your dog throwing up, keep an eye out for other concerning symptoms that could signal a problem. If your dog is showing any of these (or a combination of them), it might mean that you should call your vet or bring your dog in for a detailed assessment. You’ll want to get a professional opinion if your dog is also:

  • Shaking
  • Panting excessively
  • Restless
  • Having diarrhea
  • Having multiple vomits in a single day
  • Unable to keep water or food down for any extended period
  • Acting disinterested in food, not eating as often compared to their normal patterns

Again, this doesn’t mean that it’s anything fatal, but it could potentially be a serious underlying issue. Since dogs can’t communicate with us in our own language, we must rely on them to communicate through these kinds of physical symptoms and behaviors.

The reason could be something as simple as eating something bad for them (human food, for instance), or it could be an illness or poisoning situation. That’s why a professional assessment is going to be well worth it, even if it’s just for your peace of mind.

A quick reminder

Dogs are notorious for getting into things that they shouldn’t, and this can sometimes bring on symptoms like vomiting. Even in the best-case scenario where your dog is simply throwing up because they’re too excited about a trip in the car, it’s easy to get frustrated and disgusted. It’s important not to blame your dog for throwing up. Regardless of the trigger, chastising your dog for throwing up can simply cause emotional damage between the two of you, and it won’t stop the behaviour, because they don’t understand anything about the vomiting, the cause, or your displeasure. If anything, it can cause your dog to hide it from you. 

In this case, hiding it from you could mean that they’ll physically throw up somewhere that you might not think to check, which can cause you to miss seeing important symptoms that your dog needs to go to the vet, not to mention damage to your home, if they do this inside!


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