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Puppy Vomiting

Causes of puppy vomiting can range from eating something indigestible to more serious health concerns such as worm infestation or infections. This page looks at some common causes and how to treat puppy throwing up.

French Bulldog Puppy
It is rather common for puppies to vomit, and there is a wide range of possible causes - some more serious than others.

How can you tell if your puppy is going to throw up? There are some telltale signs when your puppy perceives a need to vomit. Usually the puppy becomes anxious and may come to you for comfort and reassurance. He then begins to drool and swallow repeatedly. He may have his tail down and his ears pinned back.

So why is your puppy throwing up? Is there a need to rush him to the veterinarian? It depends on the cause ...

Causes of Puppy Vomiting

Perhaps the most common reasons of puppy throwing up are the results of some form of digestive problem caused by food:
  • Eating Something Indigestible or Toxic: One of the most common causes of puppy vomiting is eating indigestible substances (e.g. grass) that irritate the stomach lining. Sometimes the puppy may even have eaten something inedible, such as small toys, pieces of wood, etc.

    Even worse, your puppy may be throwing up because he has ingested some poisonous substances, such as antifreeze, or some toxic foods for dogs, such as chocolate.

    If your puppy is vomiting, the first thing to do is to take a look at the vomitus to see if you can figure out whether the cause of your puppy throwing up is due to eating something he shouldn't have. Also pay attention to other symptoms that he may be showing.
  • Eating Too Much to Too Quickly: Overeating can also cause vomiting in dogs and puppies. Also, puppies who eat their food too fast and exercise immediately after are likely to vomit.

    If you have several puppies and you feed them from a single food dish, and some of your puppies frequently have after-meal vomiting, it's likely that the puppies are eating too much and too fast since they feel they are competing for food. Separating them or feeding them smaller meals can eliminate the problem of gorging.
  • Food Intolerance or Allergy: Dogs and puppies vomit if they develop food allergy against certain ingredients in their food. Food allergy is also accompanied by other symptoms such as chronic ear infections, and intense itching.

    Sometimes, some puppies simply cannot tolerate certain food items (e.g. lactose intolerance) and ingestion of such food items can cause vomiting, usually accompanied by diarrhea.
Besides digestive problems, puppy vomiting may also be due to other health problems, such as:
  • Worm Infestation: Heavy roundworm infestations may cause a puppy to vomit, accompanied by diarrhea, and you may find worms in the vomitus and/or fecal matter.
  • Acute Infectious Diseases: Vomiting is also a common symptom of various acute infectious diseases. Common ones that may wreak health havoc in puppies include puppy distemper, parvo, giardia, and others.

When to See a Vet

As you can see, there are a lot of possible reasons for a puppy to throw up, and not all causes are serious enough to warrant an emergency trip to the veterinarian.

However, you should definitely take your puppy to the vet immediately if:
  • Vomiting continues despite food and water are withheld.
  • Vomiting recurs when food and water are reintroduced.
  • Vomiting is accompanied by diarrhea.
  • The vomitus contains blood.
  • Your puppy looks weak and dehydrated.
  • Your puppy's stomach is distented (bloated).
  • Your puppy has a fever of over 103°F.
  • You have reason to believe that your puppy has ingested something toxic or inedible.

Treatment of Puppy Vomiting

If your puppy is vomiting but is otherwise active, alert, and playful, you may want to first monitor his condition carefully at home. However, remember that puppies (especially the very young ones) do not have as strong an immune system as adult dogs and therefore can succumb to diseases more quickly.

Take your puppy to the vet if he does not stop vomiting within 12 to 24 hours. Make sure that your puppy is not dehydrated.

In the meantime, unless your puppy is very young, you may want to withhold food and water for 12 hours. If vomiting stops, give your puppy ice cubes to lick every three to four hours, then gradually increase the amount of water if vomiting does not reoccur. You may also want to give your puppy small amounts of a pediatric electrolyte solution in addition to the water.

After 12 hours and the puppy does not vomit any further, small amounts of a bland low-fat food can be given 3 to 6 times daily for a few days, with a gradual increase in the amount fed and a gradual transition back to your puppy's normal diet.

An example of bland food is two parts boiled rice mixed with one part boiled ground turkey, chicken, or beef.
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