Vomiting may be caused by eating too fast or too much, or even eating the wrong things (dietary indiscretion) and may not be much cause for concern. However, vomiting can also be a symptom of serious or even life-threatening conditions that require emergency medical attention.

It’s important to note the difference between vomiting (using effort to bring food/liquid up) and regurgitation (no effort demonstrated when bringing food/liquid up) as they have significantly different causes and treatments.

Prompt attention from a veterinarian should be sought if your pet vomits multiple times in one day or for more than one day in a row. In addition, you should seek veterinary attention if your dog shows the following symptoms accompanied by vomiting:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Change in frequency of urination
  • Change in thirst
  • Blood in vomit or stool
  • Unusual or severe lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Collapse
  • Pale or white gums
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss

Possible causes of acute vomiting

Acute and sudden vomiting may be a symptom of a variety of conditions, including:

  • Parasites in the intestines (intestinal worms, protozoa – Coccidia, giardia, cryptosporidium)
  • Bacterial infection – Campylobacter, Salmonella, Clostridium, E coli
  • Viral infection – Parvovirus, rotavirus, circovirus
  • Intestinal obstruction – from eating bones, toys
  • Kidney or liver failure
  • Bloat
  • Ingestion of a toxic substance
  • Addison’s disease
  • Pancreatitis

Chronic vomiting in may be a symptom of a variety of conditions, including:

  • Dietary allergies
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Metabolic disease (such as kidney or liver failure, pancreatitis, diabetes, Addison’s disease, etc)
  • Cancer


Treatment largely depends on the underlying cause of why a dog is vomiting. Veterinarians will often conduct a number of fairly simple diagnostic tests such as blood work, faecal analysis and x-rays to pinpoint an accurate diagnosis. In some cases, an abdominal ultrasound may be recommended to evaluate internal organs more extensively.

In more chronic cases or cases more difficult to diagnose, further diagnostics such as a blood test for pancreatitis, a test for Addison’s disease, or even surgery to obtain biopsies may be required to identify the underlying cause.

Common treatments for vomiting caused by an inflammation of the stomach or intestines (gastroenteritis), include feeding a bland diet and/or anti-nausea medication. More serious conditions often require more intensive therapy such as fluids, hospitalization with injectable medication, and in some cases surgery.

Promptly finding the right treatment plan for your sick pet can help get rid of symptoms faster. In many cases, such as vomiting due to consumption of a toxic substance, early treatment could save their life.