Why is my dog vomiting?
Vomiting can have a wide variety of causes, ranging from dietary indiscretion or viral illnesses. It may even be a sign of more serious problems such as intestinal obstruction, pancreatitis, or cancer. The list of possible diagnoses is extensive.
While many cases of vomiting can be self-limiting, within a few days some may require medical intervention to prevent serious consequences. The seriousness of the vomiting will determine whether your dog can be managed at home, or needs to be hospitalised for treatment and diagnosis.
Answers to the following questions will help us determine the cause of your dog’s vomiting and how it should be managed:
- How long has the vomiting been going on?
- Is your dog still holding down water?
- Is your dog still bright and full of energy or lethargic?
- Does your dog have diarrhea? Is it passing stools at all?
- Does your dog have a history of chewing up toys or other objects?
- Does your dog seem to be in pain?
- Is your dog vomiting blood or coffee ground-type material?
If the answers to the above raise concerns we will likely advise you to bring your dog in for a medical assessment. If your dog is dehydrated and unwell, hospitalization and investigations may be required. Some dogs may just need treatments with anti-vomiting medications in the consulting room.
If your dog is still bright, happy, and keen on drinking, home management may be appropriate. This may involve withholding food for 24-48 hours, followed by bland food and strict monitoring of water intake and vomiting.
Why is my cat vomiting?
Cats’ vomiting is relatively common, and the occasional occurrence of vomiting in a healthy adult cat may not be anything to be too concerned about.
Cats vomit hair semi-regularly as a normal part of managing hairballs. Obviously, if the vomiting changes suddenly in frequency or appearance, or your cat is also unwell, then the vomiting can be of significant concern.
Many things can cause vomiting in cats, viral illness, food intolerances, obstructions, and endocrine disturbances just to name a few. If your cat is becoming unwell, losing weight, drinking excessively, or vomiting more than usual it is best to come in for a consultation and check-up. More testing may be required to fully get to the bottom of things, such as blood testing or abdominal ultrasounds.
What should I do if my dog eats chocolate?
You have probably heard that chocolate is toxic to dogs, so it’s scary to find that your dog has just wolfed down the family’s dessert. There’s no need to panic yet, it may not be a life-threatening emergency.
It all comes down to how much chocolate your dog has eaten, and what type of chocolate it was. There are many different types of chocolate, milk, dark, white, baking chocolate and drinking chocolate are a few to look out for. Each type of chocolate has a different potential for toxicity. Generally speaking, baking chocolate and dark chocolate are the most dangerous.
The compounds in chocolate that are harmful to dogs are theobromine and caffeine. These compounds have similar effects, but theobromine toxicity issues last much longer. These compounds can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, hyperactivity, heart arrhythmia issues, seizures, and even death, depending on the dose ingested.
The first thing to do if your dog eats chocolate is to try and work out roughly how many grams have been eaten, and what type. If you have the packet that’s even better, you can give us a call with this information and the rough weight of your dog so we can plug it into a calculator that will let us know if your dog has eaten enough theobromine to cause poisoning. If this is the case, you will be asked to come down to see us immediately. We will make your dog vomit if possible, and commence emergency treatment. If the level of theobromine is low and in the non-toxic category, we may advise that you monitor your dog at home.
Even if theobromine toxicity isn’t a concern, the high-fat content of some chocolate treats can trigger pancreatitis and other gastrointestinal upsets.
Does my dog have a bone stuck in its stomach?
There are certainly risks involved with feeding your dog bones. Getting a bone stuck in its stomach, or further down the gastrointestinal tract, is a possibility. Signs of gastrointestinal blockage are inappetence, vomiting, abdominal pain, and lethargy. If your dog regularly eats bones and is displaying any of these clinical signs, please get in touch with us as soon as possible.
Other potential issues that can arise with bone feeding are:
- Choking or getting bones stuck around the throat area
- Cuts or wounds to the mouth and throat
- Breaking or cracking of teeth
- Gastrointestinal upsets such as vomiting or diarrhea
Please take care if you choose to feed your dog bones and be aware of the risks, there are no bone types that we can recommend that are risk-free. There are many safer chew toys and dental treats on the market so please come and see us for some other options.
My dog has eaten a toy!
Dogs unfortunately have the tendency to eat and chew up things that they shouldn’t – their own toys, or even your kids’ toys are often high on the list. Dogs love to play and chew, and accidental swallowing often occurs
Younger dogs seem to be the most at risk, but dogs of any age can find themselves in this predicament. The most common items we see that are eaten are toys, balls, socks and underwear, shoes, corn cobs, and bones, but the list is endless. Every vet probably has an interesting tale about an item they have removed from a dog’s intestine, but that’s a story for another day.
Depending on the size of what was swallowed, these items will either pass through in a day or two or unfortunately become stuck. Pieces can even hang around in the stomach for weeks before moving on and becoming stuck, so it’s hard to give an exact time frame of when you will be in the clear.
If the eaten toy or foreign item becomes stuck and causes a full or partial obstruction, surgery will be required to remove it, and the sooner the better. These patients will become lethargic and unwell fairly quickly, along with a refusal to eat and vomiting, so be on high alert for these symptoms.
An ultrasound or x-ray will be used to diagnose a foreign body in the intestinal tract. If we move quickly, the item can be removed from the intestine before damage occurs. Unfortunately, some foreign bodies can lead to problems such as necrosis or rupture of the intestine, followed by life-threatening peritonitis.
Be sure to supervise your chewing pups where possible. We recommend searching your yard and house for any sign of half-eaten toys or household items. If you see the item being swallowed, we may be able to induce vomiting, but only if it is safe to do so. Try and keep your dog toys high quality and safe – we have lots of these on offer so come and see us for some good options.
My cat has eaten a toy
Cats seem to be less likely than dogs to chew up and eat things they shouldn’t, but it is still a risk. Some cats seem to be repeat offenders when it comes to chewing up and swallowing things.
Toys, decorations, ribbons, and strings seem to be especially attractive to cats. As with dogs, these items will either pass through or unfortunately become stuck. Pieces can even hang around in the stomach for weeks before moving on and becoming stuck, so it’s hard to give an exact time frame of when you will be in the clear.
If the item becomes stuck and causes a full or partial obstruction, surgery will be required to remove it, the sooner the better. These patients will become lethargic and unwell fairly quickly, along with the refusal to eat and vomiting, so be on high alert for these symptoms. An ultrasound or x-ray will be used to diagnose a foreign body in the intestinal tract. If we move quickly, the item can be removed from the intestine before damage occurs. Unfortunately, some foreign bodies can lead to problems such as necrosis or rupture of the intestine, followed by life-threatening peritonitis.
The fact that cats and kittens are highly attracted to string, ribbons, and yarn makes them more at risk of linear foreign bodies – this is where a long piece of string or fabric becomes stuck in the intestine. As the intestine attempts to move it through, it bunches up along the length, like pulling on a drawstring. This can occur when a cat swallows a piece of string and a loop gets stuck around the tongue, while the rest reaches out along their intestine. We can sometimes see a piece of string under the tongue in this scenario.
Ensure you supervise your cats around toys if they tend to be chewers, and remove long pieces of fabric or string when they are unattended.