What Your Dog's Vomit Could Be Telling You!

What Your Dog's Vomit Could Be Telling You!

Dogs vomit sometimes, and it could just be down to eating something their stomach doesn’t agree with, and it passes. Or, it could be down to something far more serious.

If your pup is vomiting frequently for over a day, there’s a high chance that medical attention is needed. It’s possible they’ve eaten something that’s toxic to them, or they could be suffering from Gastritis.

What Is Gastritis?

Gastritis is the inflammation of the walls of the stomach, and it can be acute (lasting for up to 24 hours) or chronic (lasting for weeks or months).

Acute gastritis can resolve itself most of the time, within 24 hours, but it can be extremely painful and uncomfortable for your poor pup! Chronic gastritis, however, can last up to a few months and may be associated with other serious health conditions. 

Symptoms Of Gastritis

The clearest symptom of gastritis is frequent and severe vomiting. But there are a few other symptoms to look out for. You know your pup better than anyone, so if you notice any of these symptoms, don’t ignore them:

  • Vomiting, possibly with blood or froth
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Dehydration or excessive thirst
  • Abdominal pain, the discomfort may cause them to curve the spine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss or anorexia

A few of these symptoms you would only see in chronic gastritis, such as weight loss, but noticing sudden changes in mood and behavior are key to early diagnosis of health conditions such as this.

If you’re ever concerned about your dog’s health, start making a food and behavior diary for them, and take note of when they may have eaten something alien from a garbage can for example. It will give you and the veterinarian more of an idea of what could be wrong. 

Causes Of Gastritis

Acute gastritis is usually caused by the consumption of an object or food that is toxic to your dog’s digestive system. Perhaps it’s raw or gone-off food or something that’s not digestible, such as a toy or piece of garbage. Most dogs are adventurous beings, tasting and smelling anything they come across, so it may be wise to dog-proof certain areas!

Overfeeding can also be a cause of acute gastritis, so keep control of portion size. Our furry friends don’t have the same dietary considerations that humans have, so they won’t know when they’re full. Indigestion they experience could turn into gastritis and result in severe barfing and abdominal pain. Keep bags of dog food, and any human food, out of reach if your pup is particularly sneaky.

For more on what foods can cause serious stomach upsets, read our blog: 5 Common Foods That Are Actually Fatal For Dogs

Chronic gastritis can be caused by an array of things and can be linked to other health conditions. You’ll know your dog has chronic gastritis if the symptoms don’t fix themselves within a day.

Like acute gastritis, it can be caused by eating foreign objects, which the stomach struggles or refuses to digest. But here are a few more potential causes of Chronic Gastritis:

  • Indigestible objects, including toys, some plants, moldy food, and more
  • Viral or fungal infections
  • Kidney disease
  • Poisoning
  • Pancreatitis*
  • Tumors**

*Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, which sits in the stomach. The symptoms are similar to gastritis, like vomiting, diarrhea, and tiredness, and can be treated over time with nursing and medication.

**If you’re worried that your dog’s stomach problems could be down to a cancerous tumor, take immediate action, and bring your dog to the vet. Cancer can be fatal, and the treatment process can be traumatic for dogs, so it’s important to catch it early.

Related: Canine Cancer! 10 Early Warning Signs To Watch Out For

Diagnosis Of Gastritis

Seeing your pup feeling unwell can be a worrying time for any pet parent, but you need to stay calm for your dog. Panicking will do neither of you any good.

Acute gastritis usually doesn’t require medical intervention, but you will need to be very observant of your dog’s behavior. Follow these steps if your dog has acute gastritis: 

  • Hold off from feeding your pal any food for 24-48 hours
  • Offer them small amounts of water every now and then – but, if they can’t drink the water orally, seek medical attention immediately
  • If they don’t vomit for 24 hours, offer a tiny amount of easily digestible food
  • Start feeding meals of smaller portions than you would usually, and gradually build them up
  • If vomiting reoccurs, take your dog to the vet!

Chronic gastritis will need medical treatment in most scenarios because there is often an underlying problem. You’ll know if it’s chronic because symptoms build up over time, which is why it’s important to take note of any behavioral changes!

The most immediate action they’ll take is usually to provide your dog with rehydration and electrolytes, to replace the hydration lost in vomit and diarrhea. Once the vet has assessed what could be the underlying problem, they’ll do what’s necessary for that particular case.

If the cause is something environmental, such as toxic cleaning products or certain plants in the garden, remove these things immediately. If your dog is allergic to a certain type of food, ensure it’s removed from their diet. Once the vet examines your dog, they will discuss with you what action to take.

If you’re ever unsure what is wrong with your four-legged friend, take them to the veterinarian for proper testing. They’ll know how to deal with the problem and what action to take if it's needed. 

Can I Prevent Gastritis In My Dog?

As pet owners, there is only so much we can do to take care of our pet’s health. It can be down to luck, but it’s also good to be cautious of potential threats to their health. 

A healthy diet that contains a lot of antioxidants and protein will keep your pup strong physically and mentally, which keeps them younger for longer! Dogs don’t actually need too much carbohydrate in their diets, and it leads to weight gain, especially in older dogs. Excessive weight can be a catalyst for health issues, such as joint pain, heart failure, and kidney disease.

If you’re unsure that your dog is getting all the good nutrients, try the Petlab Co.’s Multivitamin Chews – they’re full of vitamins that help build up your dog’s natural defenses, boosts heart and organ health, as well as improving the condition of their skin and coat.

Ensuring your dog isn’t eating things that could be toxic to them is the best way to avoid gastritis and other stomach problems, as well as controlling how much and how fast they eat. Keep food out of easy reach and use portion control – don’t give in to those puppy eyes begging for more food! 


Clara Hallifax

A lover of all animals, especially dogs! I love to learn about the way they think, and what we as pet owners can do to better their lives. So what better way, than to write fun, informative content?! When I’m not typing away, you can find me trying to cook a new recipe (and failing), or of course playing with the dog

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