All animals vomit from time to time. Vomiting can be nerve wracking for pet owners to witness, particularly as our pets can’t communicate if there is something dreadfully wrong with them. This can make vomiting a worrying symptom, even when sometimes there is a fairly simple and innocent reason as to why your pet is throwing up.

There are a range of different things and circumstances that can cause your pet to vomit, and some are more serious than others. First, however, it is important to understand the difference between vomiting and simply regurgitating.

The difference between vomiting and regurgitation

One of the biggest misconceptions about throwing up is that vomiting and regurgitation are the same thing. They are most definitely not. Regurgitation is when food or fluid is expelled from your pet’s esophagus or mouth, before it makes contact with the stomach.  In contrast, vomiting involves the forceful expulsion of stomach contents which occurs when the stomach muscles rapidly contract. Stomach acids are usually always expelled alongside the partially digested food.

Reasons why your dog is throwing up

There could be many different reasons why your canine pal is puking, but in many instances, it is simply a case of the fact that something that shouldn’t have been eaten was ingested! Dogs are well known for their lack of fussiness when it comes to their diet, and most will happily chow down on anything they come across that smells good whether it is edible or not! When something was ingested that should not have been, the stomach will probably expel it fairly quickly.

Another common cause of canine vomiting is travelling. While some dogs love a trip out in an automobile, it can make others quite unwell either through fear of the journey, or from motion sickness.

In more severe cases, your dog throwing up could indicate she is suffering from an underlying medical problem, including:

  • Addison’s disease

  • Diabetes

  • Exposure to toxic substances

  • Food intolerances

  • Gastrointestinal problems such as an ulcer or gastroenteritis

  • Head trauma

  • Infections (bacterial, viral or fungal)

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

  • Intestinal obstruction, which could be cause by a tumor, displacement or foreign body

  • Kidney disease

  • Liver disease

  • Pancreatic disorder

  • Parasites

  • Side effect of medication

  • Some varieties of cancer

When vomiting means that your dog needs to be seen by your veterinarian

Knowing when to seek professional help is something that even experienced dog owners will struggle. In most instances, a single episode of regular vomiting that your canine seems to recover well from does not require you to visit your vet.

Nevertheless, if your pet experiences any of the following, we recommend that you schedule an appointment to get assessed by a veterinarian as soon as possible:

  • A bloated/swollen abdomen

  • Attempting to be sick but is unable to produce anything

  • Blood in her vomit

  • Decreased urination

  • Diarrhea

  • Fever/chills

  • Green vomit

  • Gums that look pale or yellow

  • Lethargy

  • Obvious pain

  • Projectile vomiting

If your dog has thrown up once, there is almost certainly nothing to worry about but if they are exhibiting any concerning symptoms, it is definitely important to seek the advice of the veterinarian.