At some point in your dog’s life, they will probably experience a bout of vomiting. It could be because they ate something that didn’t agree with them, they were exercising too soon after eating, or because of a variety of conditions that aren’t serious. An occasional, isolated episode of vomiting is usually normal. Or it could be a sign of something more serious, requiring prompt medical attention.

Vomiting can be caused by a disorder of the gastrointestinal system (stomach and/or intestines) or it can be a secondary symptom of another disease such as cancer, kidney failure, diabetes or an infectious disease. Because of the wide variety of possibilities, it can be a challenge to pinpoint the cause.

What to Watch For

Vomiting can be defined as acute, meaning coming on suddenly, or chronic, lasting one to two weeks. Watching for other signs will help you and your veterinarian determine the next steps. Monitor the time span and frequency of the vomiting. If your dog vomits once then returns to eating normally, acting playful and has a normal bowel movement, the problem may have taken care of itself. If your dog continues vomiting and is acting lethargic or isn’t interested in eating, then you will want to visit your veterinarian at the earliest possible time.

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Other signs to watch for include blood in the vomit, diarrhea, dehydration, and weight loss. Some of these can be determined by simple observation, but dehydration is a bit trickier. You’ll want to look for loss of skin elasticity. When the skin along the back is gently pinched, lifted and then released, it should return to the normal position right away. If the skin does not return to normal quickly, your dog may be dehydrated. If this, or any of these other signs are present, you will want your veterinarian to determine the cause.

Treatment of Vomiting

The treatment of vomiting depends on the cause. At one end of the spectrum, your dog may have gotten into the trash, didn’t adapt well to a diet change or ate a non-toxic plant. The vomiting was a one-time occurrence, and they show none of the more serious signs. Common sense tells us to simply eliminate those causes and watch for any further vomiting or signs of it being more serious.

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If more serious signs are present, your veterinarian will need to examine your dog and possibly run a few tests to help diagnose the cause. If it’s nothing requiring hospitalization, you may be sent home with a prescription to control the nausea or an antibiotic for a bacterial infection, as well as instructions on feeding a bland diet for the first few days.

Commonly, vets will recommend a period of fasting before introducing small amounts of water and starting the bland diet. The purpose of this highly digestible diet is to calm and settle the digestive tract so they start to feel better and keep their food down. If your dog is also having diarrhea, the bland diet will also help to firm up the stool.

Homemade diets can be made of boiled rice or potatoes (as the carbohydrate source) and lean boiled meat such as chicken (for the protein source). Continue to feed the bland diet for several days until the vomiting is gone and your dog’s stool is back to normal. Then slowly reintroduce them to their normal food over several days.

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A Convenient Solution

There are many recipes for making a bland diet on the Internet, but many times our busy lives or lack of confidence in the kitchen make it easier to purchase a more convenient product. We’ve just introduced a ready-made option of freeze dried 100% white meat chicken and quick cook white rice called Under the Weather™ Chicken & Rice. All the ingredients are human grade quality, and are sourced and manufactured in the U.S.A. The packages have a long shelf life, so you can keep a few on hand for the next time your vet recommends a bland diet for your dog.

This blog is brought to you by Under the Weather™, provider of products for sick pets.

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If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.