Bland food, medications, fasting can all help cure a dog’s vomiting. Learn home remedies for vomiting, how to treat a dog’s vomiting at home and when to visit the vet.
Vomiting is something that every dog owner will have to deal with at some point or another. Understanding how to treat this common ailment at home with special feeding procedures and supportive care can often mean the difference between a quick recovery for a vomiting dog or an extended bout of illness that leads to the vet’s office.
“Dogs are notorious for eating what they’re not supposed to, whether it’s an unfamiliar food, your shoes, a rock, or your child’s dinner, so vomiting is among the most common ailments you’ll see as a vet,” explained Dr. Michael Levine, DVM.
Gastritis or inflammation of the stomach lining is a leading cause of vomiting in dogs. Gastritis can be triggered by an unfamiliar food item, a non-food item or by a virus.
“The first step to treating a vomiting dog involves allowing the stomach to rest – food and large amounts of fluid are only going to worsen the inflammation that’s causing the upset,” explained Dr. Levine.
In the case of a dog with a minor stomach upset, food should be withheld for twelve hours. If the dog’s vomiting continues, an additional twelve hours of fasting is often necessary to allow the stomach to recover.
Preventing and Treating Hypoglycemia in a Vomiting Dog
During this time of fasting, it’s essential to maintain a dog’s blood sugar levels, or hypoglycemia may set in. Common symptoms of hypoglycemia in dogs include shivering, weakness, lethargy, and a general off-colors. Canine hypoglycemia can be avoided by providing maple syrup or honey, which can be rubbed into the gums (one teaspoon for a small dog, and up to three teaspoons for a giant breed dog) every six hours.
Preventing and Treating Dehydration in a Dog Who is Vomiting
Pet owners should also be providing the vomiting dog with small amounts of fluids on a constant basis, even when vomiting is occurring. When a dog is actively vomiting, offering ice cubes will prevent dehydration while also avoiding the dog from gulping down large amounts of water, which is a typical response to nausea and only promotes additional vomiting.
Once the dog has gone for four hours without vomiting, small amounts of water mixed 50-50 with unflavored Pedialyte can be offered to help prevent dehydration.
How to Offer Bland Food to a Vomiting Dog
When offering food, Dr. Levine recommends a soft, bland food that will be easy on the stomach, like boiled skinless chicken or boiled hamburger (with the fat strained away) served with plain white rice or cottage cheese.
“When you first offer food, you need to offer just a little – only a bite or two. Once four hours have passed with no vomiting, a little bit more can be offered. Repeat this process until the dog is eating one-third of his usual meal size, served three times a day for three full days. Then, gradually phase in the dog’s normal food over the course of three or four days, as a sudden food switch may trigger a relapse,” Dr. Levine recommends.
Over-the-counter medications like Pepto Bismol® can also be helpful in some instances. Always check with your vet before giving over-the-counter medicines to your pet, as certain drugs cannot be given to individual patients, mainly if a dog is already on another medication.
For dogs that experience chronic stomach upset and vomiting, bland prescription foods, like Hill’s Prescription I/D Food®, may be recommended.
In many cases, vomiting can be successfully treated at home with some simple measures, but it’s also vital for dog owners to know when it’s time to visit the vet. Warning signs that indicate a severe problem include vomiting blood, projectile vomiting, a distended, tender abdomen, pale gums, an inability to hold down fluids or repeated vomiting with no improvement within 18-24 hours.