My dog is throwing up

Almost every dog vomits at times. An occasional episode of vomiting is usually not that serious, but if your dog regularly suffers from stomach problems or continues to vomit, it could be an important symptom of an underlying illness. By vomiting, your dog also loses a lot of fluids and important salts, which can cause rapid weakening. Vomiting is often accompanied by diarrhea. A dog that vomits is often also nauseous. Pharmacy4pets helps you support your dog with stomach and intestinal problems as best as possible.

Recognizing Nausea in Dogs

A nauseous dog does not always vomit. What are symptoms of nausea in your dog?

  • Lip smacking
  • Drooling
  • Yawning
  • Belching
  • Eating less or slower
  • Eating grass

If these symptoms persist for more than a few days or when your dog starts to vomit, it is wise to visit the vet.

Why does a dog vomit?

Vomiting is a body mechanism to protect it against harmful substances. After ingestion of a toxic or irritating substance, the body can get rid of it by vomiting. Vomiting can also be caused by viruses, parasites, or underlying conditions of the stomach, intestines, liver, uterus, pancreas, or kidneys. So, many possible causes!

Is it always vomiting?

When a dog regurgitates food, bile or mucus, it is commonly referred to as vomiting. By closely observing your dog, you may sometimes realize that what your dog is doing is not actually vomiting.


During vomiting, the stomach contents are expelled through a strong abdominal contraction: your dog retches one or more times, then his abdominal muscles contract, after which the stomach contents come out. It is thus an active process. The stomach content may consist of (partially) (digested) food, mucus, bile, watery fluid and/or blood. The vomit can be clear, yellow, green, brown, red or black.


Regurgitation is the return of stomach contents without prior abdominal contraction. It comes out, as it were, without warning. You may know this from yourself as the 'acid belch'.


Coughing is often confused with vomiting. A severe coughing fit can even turn into real vomiting, which makes it even more confusing. A coughing dog often mainly brings up white mucus, no abdominal contraction is seen and the gagging is more like a very hard scraping of the throat.

For a correct diagnosis and especially treatment, it is very important to try to observe your dog well to distinguish between vomiting, regurgitating and coughing.

Tips for Vomiting

Most dogs rarely vomit. One in five dogs vomits more than twice a month. Regular vomiting is never normal. It is therefore important to go to your vet if your dog vomits frequently. If your dog is otherwise fit and cheerful, eats and drinks well and does not continue to vomit, there are some things you can try:

  • Feed more often: a dog that regularly vomits bile (yellow fluid) late at night or early in the morning, can sometimes benefit from an extra meal late at night just before going to sleep. Sometimes an empty stomach for a long time can cause vomiting.
  • Good nutrition: incorrect storage or leaving food open for too long can lead to spoilage. This occurs quickly, especially with raw food or canned food that is kept for more than two to three days or kept out of the refrigerator.
  • Prevent eating from the street.
  • Prevent eating grass: grass is sharp and can irritate the stomach wall, which can lead to vomiting (and therefore to nausea and more grass eating... So the point is to break this vicious circle).
  • Regularly deworming.
  • Watch carefully what a dog plays with: many dogs' biggest hobby is playing with balls or destroying toys. Some dogs don't stop there, but also eat (parts of) their toys. There are even dogs that regularly devour a couple of socks from the sock drawer... Foreign objects in the stomach or intestines are a common (and dangerous!) cause of vomiting.
  • Puur Stomac: to maintain a healthy stomach and intestinal function, for example if your dog eats a lot of grass or suffers from a gurgling stomach or intestines.

When to see the vet for vomiting?

Vomiting once is not necessarily a big deal. If your dog is fit and cheerful, eats and drinks well, you don't need to go to the vet immediately after a single vomiting incident. However, if your dog keeps vomiting, is sick or if a puppy vomits, it's important to go to the vet. A visit to the vet is recommended if your dog:

  • Vomits multiple times a day
  • Vomits regularly over a long period (once a day or once a week for example).
  • Is sick, lethargic or weak.
  • Vomits blood or the vomit looks like coffee grounds (dark brown) or feces
  • 'Dry heaves': your dog tries to vomit and nothing comes up. This can be a symptom of gastric distension or torsion!
  • Has a larger belly than usual.
  • Has balance problems.
  • Drinks and urinates a lot.
  • Does not eat and/or drink (or can't keep the water down).
  • Has eaten something that it wasn't supposed to.
  • Has a fever (>39.5 degrees).
  • Has pale or very red oral mucosa that feels sticky: these are signs of dehydration.

The treatment of vomiting

Of course, your vet will thoroughly examine your dog if they come in due to vomiting. They will conduct a thorough physical examination with extra attention to palpating the abdomen. If necessary, a blood test will be performed or X-rays or an ultrasound of the abdomen will be taken. Depending on the (expected) cause of the vomiting and the clinical condition of your dog, a treatment plan will be initiated.

Medication for nausea and vomiting

Fortunately, there is very effective medication that quickly reduces nausea and stops vomiting. You can ask your vet to prescribe Cerenia tablets, which help with nausea and vomiting. The right medication will quickly make your dog feel better. Sometimes stomach protectors or antacids are recommended.


In case of vomiting, it is advised to feed and give water in small portions more frequently. It's also better to provide the water and food at room temperature. Fasting is only advised for severe, persistent vomiting and is usually absolutely not recommended! Your dog's stomach and intestines need nutrients to recover.

If your dog eats and/or drinks poorly, you can replenish the salts by giving ORS powder or if your dog also has diarrhea, Enterogelan paste, which contains extra salts and quick carbohydrates and helps to thicken the stool.

If the vomiting is also accompanied by diarrhea, a special easily digestible diet such as Sanimed Intestinal is often recommended. If your dog is suspected of having a food sensitivity, a Hypoallergenic diet will be chosen.

Other measures

Depending on the cause of the vomiting and its severity, your dog may receive an IV fluid treatment or a specific treatment for an underlying condition, such as a kidney diet or painkillers. Sometimes surgery or a gastric endoscopy may be needed, for example if your dog has eaten a toy or a chestnut, or if a uterine infection turns out to be the cause of the vomiting.

If you have a question about our products or about stomach problems in your dog, please contact us.

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