My Dog Is Sick: What To Do If Your Dog Is Vomiting
Just like humans, a dog can be sick for a number of reasons. If your dog is sick it can be very worrying for everyone involved, so a little bit of background reading can be of help. Here, our experts explain what to do if your dog is vomiting.
My dog is vomiting yellow bile – why?
If your dog has vomited yellow frothy bile, don’t worry. Bile vomiting, or regurgitation, indicates that either your dog's stomach is empty, perhaps because of a long period between meals, or the food’s fat content is too high. It can also happen if your dog has drunk a lot of water or eaten too much grass, which they do to help digestion.
The bile is produced by the liver, stored in the gallbladder and released into the small intestine below the stomach, causing irritation to the stomach lining with the resultant frothy vomit.
What is Bilious Vomiting Syndrome (BVS)?
Bilious vomiting syndrome is a condition that occurs when the stomach doesn't empty properly and may cause your dog to vomit frequently. The bile accumulates in the stomach and causes inflammation, which can lead to pain, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
BVS might be triggered by:
- a lack of fibre in your dog’s diet
- drinking a lot of water
- eating fatty foods
- eating grass
- certain medications
But it is most common in dogs who are fast eaters or have anxiety disorders.
There are a number of things you can do to help your dog if they are suffering from BVS:
- feed smaller meals more often throughout the day instead of one large meal
- give them a diet that is high in fibre and low in fat
- try a calming supplement to reduce their anxiety
As with all problems, if it persists, seek your vet’s advice.
Other causes of vomiting in dogs
If your dog is sick frequently this needs further investigation as there could be another underlying reason including:
- exposure to a toxin (anything from a cleaning product to plants in the garden)
- indigestion due to wrong type of food being fed
- gastrointestinal blockage
- inflammation of the GI tract
- liver disease
- gallbladder issues
- kidney disease
Can a change in diet help?
For pets on dry or tinned foods, it is useful to lower the fat content and increase meal frequency, as feeding little and often will help in most cases. For some pets, a switch to a more digestible food is also helpful. Complete foods like Poppy’s Picnic are more digestible than dry or tinned foods.
When making the transition to raw feeding, the change from their previous kibble or canned diet can cause initial bile reflux. It all depends on the fat content of the food. The best option is to feed a low fat food (Poppy's Picnic RAW POWER Chicken, MIGHTY MINCE Chicken and POWER BALLS Chicken) from the start.
If you buy food from another manufacturer you should always check for high bone content, or poor mineral balance (in particular zinc) as this can contribute to vomiting. Poppy’s Picnic is one of the only fresh raw pet food companies to balance our food by FEDIAF, the European standard in great nutrition for your pets wellbeing.
How to reduce vomiting in dogs
There are many things that you can do to minimise bile regurgitation:
- feed smaller meals more often
- check that your dog isn’t eating too much grass (some is good as it is a natural cleanser for their system)
- keep treats to a minimum
- check the plants in your garden
- be careful of cleaning products, especially cleaning fluids for solid floors
- don’t use plugin air fresheners (their sensitive noses pick up on smells differently than us and can make them feel unwell)
- keep human food out of reach
- provide your dog with plenty of fresh water
- watch for signs of stress or anxiety and take steps to reduce any stress levels
- always watch your dog when they are playing with toys, and remove any damaged or frayed chews as these can be a choking hazard
And it goes without saying, stop your dog from eating or chewing dangerous items.
For dogs who gulp their food, you can reduce the amount of air swallowed by using slow feeding bowls or likkimats. There are plenty of different types of bowls and mats on the market – make sure you get one suitable to the size of your dog.
What can I do at home if my dog is vomiting? How to settle a dog's stomach after vomiting
If your dog has been sick, there are a few things you can do to help settle your dog’s stomach:
- feed them a small meal of boiled rice and chicken – the rice is bland and easily digestible, and can help absorb excess stomach acid, and chicken provides protein
- ensure they drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
- apply pressure to the dog's stomach by rubbing their belly – this can help relieve indigestion, bloating, gas and nausea
- take them for regular walks, which helps to stimulate the digestive system and can move things along if they're constipated
With any case of vomiting, it's important to visit your vet if:
- it is preventing your dog from keeping food down
- causing weight loss
- goes on for longer than 5 days, or
- your dog is a bulldog, frenchie, pug or other short nosed breed – especially in hot weather