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Vomiting and Diarrhea in Dogs

It is quite a common things for dogs to have occasional bouts of vomiting or diarrhea as a symptom of some other illness or problem like food poisoning, or a stomach bug for example much like humans. While you can treat the two problems with medication without investigating what the cause is, it is still a good idea to visit your vet if it re-occurs as that underlying problem may not be going away and could lead to the symptoms coming back and you need to be careful with dehydration. With some investigation a better treatment can be found that takes care of the cause as well as the symptom.

Reasons for vomiting and diarrhea in dogs


In the digestive system of your dog the large intestine absorbs water from the gut but when the colon's normal function is disrupted by something it creates large quantities of liquid feces .It is ejected from your dog's body in the form of diarrhea.

Vomiting is when contractions of the muscles in the abdomen are so strong they cause the ejection of gastric juices and stomach contents from the mouth. Your dog will show discomfort when it occurs. Vomiting is not the same as regurgitation which is also something some dogs have trouble with. Regurgitation happens after your dog has eaten and something causes him to choke and bring back up the food he just consumed. With vomiting what comes out of the mouth is mostly liquid with some other matter. With regurgitation there is more solid with some amounts of undigested food which much to most owner’s dismay the dog will then eat again!

Causes of vomiting and diarrhea can be infections from bacteria, parasites or viruses as well as other factors such as stress, over excitement, a change in diet, eating something toxic, injury to the digestive systems and constipation.

Recognizing vomiting and diarrhea and what to do

Dogs will unfortunately eat pretty much anything they can get their snouts into, anything off the floor, garbage bins and so on! If they eat something they should not have sometimes their body will trigger a vomiting to eject it from the body before it causes harm. His abdominal muscles will contract and he will perhaps start salivating a lot just before he empties his stomach. With diarrhea it may be that he starts having accidents in the house as he cannot get outside in time, his stools will be thin and watery. He may go more often than he usually does but that is not always the case. Sometimes both only last a day or two which is possibly an indication he ate something he should not have and his system is getting rid of it. Either give no food or very small amounts of something plain and gentle on the stomach that is easy to digest like poached chicken with boiled rice. Most importantly make sure their water is fresh and they drink still.

But sometimes it can last longer than this. If your dog has been vomiting or has diarrhea and it has been monger than 2 days you really should take him to his vet. There are chronic problems that could cause these symptoms and you do not want your dog feeling unwell, losing weight, or becoming dehydrated.

When to go to the veterinarian

If it persists for longer than 24 to 48 hours this needs to be taken to the vet to be checked out.

If your dog is refusing to even drink anything while he has vomiting and/or diarrhea also this means he needs to be checked over as that much water loss without replacing his fluids is dangerous for the health of your dog.

If your dog is young, just a puppy, go to your vet sooner, within 12 hours, as puppies dry out a lot faster than older dogs and it could get serious a lot quicker.

If there is blood in either the vomit or the diarrhea contact your vet straight away.

If there is a black tarry color in the feces contact your vet straight away.

Do not try to give your dog human anti vomiting or anti diarrhea medications as some drugs that are safe for people are toxic to dogs and could cause serious health problems.

How your dog will be treated

If the symptoms have led to dehydration your vet will ensure he gets the liquid he needs along with essential nutrients and minerals he may be lacking in either giving it to him orally or via injection. Some vets may suggest an antibiotic treatment but keep in mind that it is rare for bacterial infections to cause vomiting and diarrhea. In which case antibiotics would not help and would kill any healthy bacteria your dog has left in his gut. However this is something your vet is aware of so talk to him or her about it.


If your dog has symptoms pass a couple of days your vet will also probably perform some tests to investigate the cause. Tests might include a stool sample being taken to look for intestinal parasites or bacterial infection. Blood tests may also be carried out to look at his kidneys and liver and check for signs of disease there. To look at the intestines an x-ray may be taken and the vet may also have an endoscopy on his intestine and stomach.

In most cases dogs with diarrhea and vomiting get better with 24 hours. Be sure to monitor them and especially be aware of keeping them hydrated. If you are at all concerned or symptoms last longer or are more serious call your vet straight away.