Why Is My Dog Throwing Up?

February 25, 2021

Why Is My Dog Throwing Up?

Seeing your dog show signs of sickness can bring up feelings of anxiety and stress. Since there are many reasons why your canine could be throwing up, figuring out which affliction is affecting your animal is difficult. 

If you have an adult canine vomiting, it may be an unpleasant but mild reaction to something they ate. However, if the behavior continues after a few days, it could be a warning sign. 

If you have a young puppy, vomiting can be a much more serious matter. Puppies are prone to dehydrate quickly and lose critical electrolytes. 

Continued vomiting in both adult dogs and puppies can be a concern. Here, we discuss the different reasons why dogs vomit and when it is something you can treat at home versus a significant problem that requires a vet appointment. 

Let's dive into the potential why's behind dog vomit. 

Why Do Dogs Vomit?

Similar to human vomit, dog vomit happens for a variety of reasons. Before getting started on treatment options, observe your animal for a few days. Look at their eating patterns, how they interact with the environment during walks, and how they are outside. 

Common Causes

Common causes of adult dog and puppy vomit include:

  • Gastric irritation
  • Inedible food
  • Spoiled food
  • Overly rich foods
  • Eating too much too fast
  • Motion sickness (e.g., during car rides)
  • Swallowing dangerous objects

Most cases of your dog throwing up will have to do with food. If the food doesn't sit well in their stomachs, the situation will most likely clear up within a day. 

If your pet has swallowed an object, such as a toy, you need to go to the emergency veterinarian.

Medical Conditions

In some cases, dog vomit could be a sign of an underlying condition. 

Medical conditions leading to vomiting include:

  • Addison's disease
  • Organ dysfunction (liver & kidney)
  • Anatomic abnormalities
  • Gastrointestinal ulcers
  • Pancreatic
  • Abdominal infections
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Sometimes, specific breeds will have issues. For example, breeds with deep chests could be suffering from bloat, which occasionally leads to unnecessary vomiting.

Consider talking to your vet if you suspect something amiss with your animal's digestive tract. Don't wait while your dog suffers. 

Puppy Vomit

If you're dealing with puppy vomit, consider how far along they are in their vaccination series. Vomiting in puppies could indicate:

  • Canine distemper virus
  • Canine Parvovirus
  • Stomach worms

These diseases can be life-threatening, so you need to schedule an appointment with a vet if you see your puppy throwing up excessively.

Different Kinds of Dog and Puppy Vomit

There are different types of vomit. Understanding the specific types could help you determine what is ailing your pet. If you're taking your animal to the vet, take photos of the puke to help them diagnose the issue.


In some cases, the spit-up will look granular. Think of coffee grounds or dirt. The throw-up will look somewhat liquid, and you might see blood. For these situations, the issue is most likely food-related. 

Your canine could be eating their food too quickly, or their meals could be upsetting their stomach. On the other hand, granular puke could be a sign of a medical condition, especially if you notice dark spots of blood.


You'll see bits and pieces of food with chunky puke, which is a sign of indigestion. 

Causes of chunky vomit include the dog eating too quickly or moving/running around too much immediately after eating. Wait to take your dog for runs until they've had time to digest their meal fully. 

Liquid Bile

Liquid vomit looks foamy or slimy. The puke will appear yellow or clear, depending on the condition. 

Bile could be a sign of kennel cough syndrome or vomit since the two are similar.

Keep track of the type of dog vomit. Knowing what it looks like will help you determine your course of action.  Through the observation phase, you'll also figure out whether your animal is vomiting or merely regurgitating. 

Is Vomiting Different from Regurgitation?

Sometimes, the issue is not finding out why do dogs vomit. It could be that the problem is regurgitation, instead. The two are different processes caused by different issues. 

Vomiting is an active process in which your furry friend retches and has abdominal contractions. 

Regurgitation is a passive process. Your canine might seem surprised to see its food come up and out of its mouth. The immediate minutes or hours after your animal eats food is when regurgitation happens. The puke mostly consists of undigested food, and it might even be tubular, like the shape of the esophagus. 

If you're unsure of which condition your furry friend is suffering from, go to the vet. The symptoms have different causes and treatments. Once you've determined that throwing up is the issue, you're ready to try treatment methods. 

Treatment & Prevention

Vomiting is a symptom of various reactions and illnesses. But even in the absence of an underlying condition, throwing up can cause severe dehydration and other issues. 

Puppies are especially at risk from excess vomiting. If left untreated, puppy vomit could lead to loss of essential nutrients, and in the worst scenarios, death.

Besides monitoring the dog vomit, you can figure out the underlying issue through specific methods. Prevention and treatment can look similar in many ways, for example:

Only Feed Them Mild Foods

A mild diet can help your canine if its vomiting is a reaction to rich foods. 

Sometimes, people feed their pets human food, but animals' stomachs cannot handle the heavy starches, grains, and oils that we eat. To prevent adverse reactions, stick to dog food. 

If a specific brand seems to be the issue, you can also change up their food. 

If your pet is recovering from a recent sickness, you can purchase mild food directly from your vet. You also can create a simple diet of boiled chicken, carrots, and white rice. Remove the skin and bones from the flesh.

Also, ensure that your canine drinks plenty of water while they recover. If the diet is not enough, and you continue to see dog vomit, go back to the doctor. 

Make Them Eat Slowly

Eating too fast also can cause dogs to throw up. Observe your canine during feeding times to see how they eat. If you notice them wolfing down the food and puking immediately after, train them to eat slower.

Here are a few tips to get you started,

  • With multiple animals, feed each creature in a separate room. Competitive eating leads to digestion issues.
  • Place a sizeable inedible object in the middle of the bowl so that your canine has to eat around it. The item will slow down their eating and should stop the puking.
  • Change the portions of their meals. Rather than a few large meals a day, switch to more frequent feeding times with smaller amounts.

Medical Treatment

When the dog vomit happens multiple times a day, becomes chronic, or includes diarrhea and lethargy, contact your vet. 

At this point, if you have other pets, isolate your ill animal. If the issue is something like Parvo, you want to ensure no illness spreads. 

The veterinarian will diagnose your pet and guide you through the treatment options. In most cases, you'll have to feed your pet medicine daily. You'll also need to help them relax and recover. Added stress could cause them to vomit up their medicine and exacerbate the conditions. 

If the illness is severe, you might have to hospitalize your pet. In those cases, stay by your pet's side as long as you can. Bring their favorite toy, blanket, and bed to help them feel comfortable. Your furry friend should recover well in the hospital and will soon be ready to go home. 

When to Induce Vomiting in Dogs

Part of owning a dog is dealing with them chewing unknown objects. All dogs, but puppies especially, sometimes ingest things that they shouldn't. It means that occasionally, you may need to induce vomiting in your pet. If the animal throws up the offending objects, they won't ingest toxins. 

However, only induce vomiting in specific circumstances. If your animal eats something sharp, something caustic such as drain cleaner, or they lose consciousness, don't make them throw up. Before trying to make your furry friend puke, consult your vet. 

Want to Learn More?

Seeing your pet throw up is never a fun experience. However, you don't have to sit around waiting for your dog to feel better. You can take steps to find the source of your puppy's illness and treat it. 

If you still have questions, concerns, or want to know more about dog vomit, join our mailing list! We provide informational content related to pet care. Don't wait to learn what you can about your pooch—join today! 

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