What To Do If Your Dog Is Vomiting - Pet Emergencies

Vomiting is the #1 reason pet owners visit the animal ER. Not knowing what causes vomiting in pets can increase the fear that something is seriously wrong thus spurring immediate action – often a visit to the nearest vet. If you’re wondering what to do if your dog is vomiting, let’s have a closer look so you can be prepared for anything. As a note, the best safety precaution is always to call the vet if you suspect a problem with your pet. It helps to make sure that any potentially problematic issues are found and remediated before causing more issues.
pet sick vomiting

Is This An Emergency?

Just like in people, vomiting can be a natural response to a digestive issue. Once the offending substance is rejected by the stomach through vomiting, there is a good chance that the situation is over. However, there are plenty of circumstances that are not quite as easy to overlook and may require closer attention.

If you have not changed anything in their lifestyle or diet, your dog may be experiencing a bout of indigestion. Even so, there is a chance that something more serious is at hand. A few of the most common causes of vomiting in dogs are:

  • Foreign objects in the gut

  • Dietary issues

  • Bacterial infection

  • Car sickness

  • Heatstroke

  • Medication

  • Intestinal parasites

  • Bloat (from gastric dilatation volvulus [GDV])


There are more reasons, but these are the most common. Because these other more serious issues may be at the heart of your dog’s vomiting, it can make the event more concerning. When your dog is vomiting, pay attention to the frequency, time of day, substances in the vomit, any unusual ingestion, their normal dietary habits, and any other unusual behavior.

If you are ever unsure if the circumstances are favorable, contact your vet for immediate assistance. GDV, for instance, can kill a dog in as little as a few hours if left untreated. Car sickness, on the other hand, will likely pass without much concern. All things considered, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

When Should I Visit The Vet?

If your pup vomits and then resumes normal activity, diet, and behavior, it’s likely that it was a one-off situation that does not require any professional attention. However, if you notice any of the symptoms listed below, you should make sure to contact the vet to perform a more thorough diagnostic testing. If treatment is required, this process will help determine what is best for your pet.

What To Tell The Vet – Symptoms To Watch For

Because the potential causes for vomiting are so broad, making sure to observe all the symptoms can help inform your vet upon arrival. This can help expedite the diagnostic process and remove any barriers to treatment. Pay close attention to symptoms like:

  • Vomiting frequency

  • Diarrhea

  • Weight loss

  • Changes in diet

  • Dehydration

  • Changes in thirst

  • Changes in urination

  • Changes in defecation

  • Lethargy


When you can keep close attention to the issues surrounding the vomiting event, if any, you can be better prepared to inform your veterinarian. If you notice that your dog is trying to vomit frequently and nothing is coming up, you should contact the emergency center immediately. This could be a case of GDV and requires attention immediately.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to what to do if your dog is vomiting, observation and preparation are the keys. Unless it is a one-off situation, your veterinary team is prepared to look after your pet for you. Making sure to report all of the symptoms you’ve observed makes the process much easier to diagnose when you arrive at our office. If you suspect your pet is having an issue, please reach out to us here at Lake Emma Animal Hospital right away so we can have a look.