When is Your Dog's Vomiting an Emergency?

Most of the time, a vomiting dog is nothing to worry about. However, in some cases, vomiting can be a sign that your dog needs to see an emergency vet. Here are 3 situations where your dog's vomiting constitutes an emergency. Remember that this list is not exhaustive; if your dog's behaviour is concerning or you're worried for any other reason, it's best to get your dog to the clinic for your own peace of mind.

When They've Come Into Contact With Poisons

If your dog begins vomiting and you're not sure what caused it, it's a good idea to figure out what they've come into contact with that day. You need to know if they've ingested something poisonous, because many pet toxins can be fatal if not addressed by a vet immediately. Common poisons include cleaning products, pesticides, and medicines, so take a look for missing, empty, or leaking bottles in your cabinets. Alongside this, think about meals your family have recently eaten. Your dog may have snatched a food that's harmful to pets from a plate when no one was looking. Poisonous foods include artificially sweetened lollies and drinks (specifically those containing xylitol), chocolate, alcohol, onions and garlic, grapes and raisins, avocado and macadamia nuts. Finally, check your garden for any missing flowers—plants like azaleas, daffodils, tulips and rhododendrons can all poison dogs. Remember that your pup could have ingested a toxin while out on a daily walk, too.

When It Looks Unusual

If, like most dogs, your pooch is a voracious eater, you've likely seen dog vomit before. Dogs often eat non-poisonous substances that upset their stomachs or wolf down food so fast that they feel sick. Vomit caused by a meal mishap will usually contain chunks of partially digested food, and this type of sickness is rarely a cause for immediate concern. If your dog's vomit looks different to this, however, it could be a sign of a serious problem. The two worrisome features you need to look out for are purely liquid vomit and vomit containing blood. Vomit that's completely fluid with no chunks (often clear, yellow, foamy, or slimy) can be a sign that something's wrong internally, and is often caused by damage to organs like the kidney, liver or pancreas. Surprisingly, vomit with blood in it (which may be red liquid or coffee-like granules) isn't always a serious matter. It may just indicate that the food was sitting in your dog's stomach for some time before it was regurgitated. However, it can also be a sign of internal trauma, so it's best to check with a vet as soon as possible if you do see blood.

When They Have Diarrhoea Too

When they occur separately, vomiting and diarrhoea are usually fairly innocuous. However, when your dog is experiencing both at once, you should get them to a vet at your earliest convenience. That's because both vomiting and diarrhoea can lead to dehydration. When they occur together, your dog is at risk of becoming seriously dehydrated, which can lead to serious problems like loss of consciousness, organ failure and even death. To make matters worse, nauseous dogs are often reluctant to drink anything to replace their lost fluids. To prevent the dangerous effects of dehydration, you may need a vet to administer emergency fluids.