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Vomiting in Dogs

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Treatment of Vomiting in Dogs

Treatments for vomiting may include one or more of the following:

  • Eliminate predisposing cause (exposure to trash, change in diet, eating plants, etc).

  • An acute episode of vomiting in a playful pet, in the absence of other physical abnormalities, may be treated symptomatically without hospitalization (outpatient treatment). Outpatient treatment may consist of subcutaneous fluids, injectable antiemetics (drugs used to control nausea and vomiting) and a follow-up appointment if the symptoms are not resolved immediately.

  • Pets that have abdominal pain, diarrhea and act lethargic or have any other physical abnormality, may be treated with hospitalization. Hospital therapy may include intravenous fluid administration, 24-hour monitoring, and drug therapy. This is often combined with diagnostic testing to determine the cause of the vomiting.

  • Sick pets may require referral to an emergency or 24 hour hospital that offers around-the-clock care.

    Home Care and Prevention

    Follow-up with your veterinarian for re-examinations of your pet as recommended and administer any veterinary prescribed medications. If your pet experiences inadequate response to prior measures, a further workup may be indicated to determine the underlying cause of the vomiting.

    Treatments of vomiting are dependent on the cause. Symptomatic therapy of an episode of vomiting includes withholding food and water for three to four hours. If your pet has not vomited by the end of this time, offer small amounts of water (a few tablespoons at a time). Continue to offer small amounts of water ever 20 minutes or so until your pet is hydrated.

    After the small increments of water are offered, gradually offer a bland diet. Small frequent feedings of a bland digestible diet such as: Hill's prescription diet i/d, Iams Recovery Diet, Provision EN or Waltham Low Fat, are usually recommended. Homemade diets can be made of boiled rice or potatoes (as the carbohydrate source) and lean hamburger, skinless chicken or low-fat cottage cheese (as the protein source).

    Return to regular dog food should be gradual over one to two days. If vomiting continues at any time or the onset of other symptoms are noted, call your veterinarian promptly.

    If your pet is not eating, acts lethargic, the vomiting continues or any other physical abnormalities mentioned above begins, it is important to see your veterinarian. Your pet needs your help and the professional care your veterinarian can provide. If your pet is having the clinical signs mentioned above expect your veterinarian to perform some diagnostic tests and make treatment recommendations. Recommendations will be dependent upon the severity and nature of the clinical signs.

    Prevention is aimed at minimizing your pet's exposure to trash (bones, food products), foreign material (socks, strings, etc) or toxins. Leash-walk your pet to minimize exposure to foreign material that may be located outside. Monitor your pet's appetite and general health, as well.


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