Dog vomiting can be a huge concern, especially in a young puppy. Your first reaction might be to assume your dog has an infection or a virus, but that's not always the case. It's important to be aware of the various causes of vomiting in dogs – if the problem is being caused by something the dog has eaten, getting her to a vet quickly could be a matter of life and death. On the other hand, some vomiting may be entirely harmless and the problem will clear up on its own. Let's look at some of the causes of vomiting in dogs and what you should do about it.
Of course, there's no single cause of vomiting in dogs – you can't diagnose your dog with an illness based on vomiting alone. As already mentioned, it might be the result of her eating something she shouldn't have, or it may be a sign of a more long term health problem. Even if your dog could not possibly have ingested a poison that you know of, there are certain foods dogs react to quite adversely—chocolate, for example, can be extremely poisonous to dogs and can cause vomiting and even death if enough is eaten.
Something the dog has eaten should be the first consideration. Keep an eye on your dog to see if she vomits repeatedly, or if it's a one-off. If she only vomits once in the space of 24 hours, it's probably same to assume she got rid of whatever she'd eaten that caused her stomach problems.
Jody and Jean Lee
This is Tesla at 12.5 weeks old. We took this photo when he was taking a brief break during a game of fetch. He's a great dog and we love him dearly.
In some cases, when you know your dog has swallowed a poison, it's actually beneficial to induce vomiting on purpose to help purge the poison from her system.
Bear in mind that it's fairly normal for dogs to vomit every now and again, so it's not necessarily something to worry about. You've no doubt caught your dog eating rather undesirable food scraps on more than one occasion. Dogs have a tendency to eat things they shouldn't on a fairly regular basis – as long as the food item isn't poisonous and is merely causing a stomach upset, the vomiting shouldn't lead to any major complications. If the vomiting appears to be the result of a poisonous substance or it keeps happening repeatedly over a 12 hour period, you need to seek help from a vet immediately. (If the first vomit contains blood, seek help straight away).
Nevertheless, even if your dog only vomits once and then seems to go back to normal, it may still be wise to take her to the vet if she hasn't been for a check up in a while. It's always good to keep up a regular routine of check-ups, and a vomiting episode, even if it turns out to be harmless, could be a warning sign that your dog is suffering from a longer-term problem.
For more information about Aussie health issues see the Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute (ASHGI).
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