As icky and worrying as it is, puppy vomiting is actually pretty common, and
can happen for lots of different reasons - some potentially serious,
If your puppy is throwing up, it's natural to be worried. After all, he's your baby.
So, let's start with what's most important... and that's finding out what is making him sick.
Sometimes that can take a little detective work!
Puppies can vomit for a whole slew of different reasons, and his throwing up could be a sign of
illness or poisoning, the result of trying a new/different puppy kibble, or
just sneaking a midnight snack from the trash can, even too many dog
treats can upset your puppy's tummy!
If you want to jump straight to treatment options click here!
Okay, so what is it that's making your puppy vomit?
Here are a few of the most likely culprits:
An empty tummy!
strange as this may sound, one of the most common types of puppy
vomiting happens when your little guy's tummy gets too empty (such as
overnight). A classic sign that this is the problem is if your pup
throws up yellow liquid (or it may be white/yellow and frothy), usually
first thing in the morning.
A worm problem a bad case of puppy worms
can cause your pup to throw up. If this is the case you will probably
find worms in his vomit - maybe just one or two, maybe a whole lot
(disgusting I know!). If he's recently been given deworming medicine,
then he should be fine once all the worms are out of his system, but if
he hasn't been dewormed you need to get him to your vet right away as
there's a serious infestation going on.
Eating something they shouldn't have
this is one of the most common reasons for puppy vomiting. They are
eternally curious, and in their eyes everything is edible until proven
otherwise! You would be surprised at what a puppy can ingest... but
ingesting and 'digesting' are two entirely different things. Your puppy
may be physically able to eat three plastic grocery sacks, or a pair of
ski socks, but he isn't going to be able to digest them. There are also a
lot of common household products, plants, and human foods that are poisonous to dogs
Illness or disease vomiting is one of the first symptoms of many different canine illnesses. It could be something simple such as a mild bacterial infection, or something as serious as the potentially deadly Parvo Virus. There are usually (but not always) other signs of illness along with the vomiting, such as diarrhea, lethargy, a fever, loss of appetite and so on.
certain medications can cause your puppy to throw up. Classic examples
include de-wormers (mentioned above), antibiotics and some medications
prescribed for bone/joint issues such as Aspirin or Rimadyl.
An allergy or sensitivity sometimes the ingredients in a particular dog food can cause a puppy or dog to throw up. True dog food allergies
normally cause skin irritation such as 'hot spots', excessive itching,
hairloss and so on. But, a sensitivity to a certain ingredient can cause
digestive upset, including vomiting and/or diarrhea. Occasionally a
reaction to vaccination, or medications (such as certain antibiotics or
deworming medications) can cause puppy vomiting
Ugh! I don't feel so good :(
So, how do you know whether your puppy needs veterinary help or not?
It can be tricky, but here's a start....
If your little guy managed to eat a plateful of peanut butter
sandwiches or/and a block of cheese, throwing it all up should make him feel
better and it's unlikely that he'll have any long term effects from his
And, if he's eaten something that was moldy, contaminated or old, he could get a bacterial infection that makes him sick, just the way you would if you'd eaten food that had gone bad.
also tend to swallow a lot of things that are simply not meant to pass
through a digestive system (think tennis balls, rocks, balloons,
By some miracle, most of the time these weird snacks manage to defy nature and work their way through your pups innards and out the other
end without incident!
But when an inedible object gets 'stuck' inside your puppy's intestines or bowels, then it's a BIG problem and your little one needs veterinary help right away.
Emergency surgery is a distinct possibility!
These types of vomiting need to be evaluated by your vet right away...
Vomit that contains blood
Repeated vomiting that empties your pup's tummy and yet he continues to retch and gag and can't hold down any food or water
Throwing up that is accompanied by ANY other signs of illness such as puppy diarrhea
Extreme lethargy, listlessness or exhaustion
A seriously distended belly, dry-heaving or signs of stress(such as whining, pacing, panting). This could be a sign of bloat.
There Are Actually Different Ways Of Throwing Up!
Vomiting a dictionary definition of the word 'vomiting' includes 'to eject the contents of the stomach through the mouth', 'send out forcefully' or even 'to eject violently', and all of these pretty much paint a good picture of what's involved!
usually what you see when a dog is car sick, ill, or has food poisoning
and so on. Your pup may drool first, then start to
heave (caused by the strong contractions of his stomach
muscles)....and eventually he'll just vomit.
Regurgitating the dictionary definition of regurgitation include the descriptions 'to rush or surge back', and 'to pour back'. Definitely sounds less violent doesn't it?
a dog regurgitates it's food, it usually takes a loss less effort than
vomiting does, almost as though the food (or whatever else is
returning!) is coming back up by itself. It may seem to just pour out
with little help from your pup. If your puppy eats too fast, or too
much, he may well regurgitate his food, and health conditions such as
Megaesophagus can also cause this.
can also be called 'retching' and looks similar to choking. If your dog
is gagging, he may be hacking or coughing in an attempt to bring
something up. In this situation you'll see more muscle movement in his
chest than in his belly.
If your dog has tried to swallow
something that has got lodged in his throat, has certain esophageal or
heart/lung problems, bloat or an intestinal obstruction he may hack,
cough or even gag in this way. Gagging rarely results in food (or much
else) coming back up though.
Sometimes a puppy (or dog) who has problems with his esophagus or teeth, or even has neurological issues, won't be able to keep food or water in his mouth.
sort of 'fall out' or 'pour/drip out' when he tries to eat or drink.
Getting The Right Treatment Is Very Important
All the information on this page should help you to decide whether or not your puppy's vomiting is an emergency, but it's not always easy to be sure.
If you're in any doubt, it's always much better to be safe than sorry - and I'd recommend getting your pup seen by a vet right away if you're at all concerned.