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Acute and chronic vomiting in dogs: Causes

Acute and chronic vomiting in dogs

Acute and chronic vomiting in dogs

Understand the causes behind acute and chronic vomiting in dogs.

We all worry about our dog’s welfare. It is our job as dog guardians to do so. The most common causes behind dog vomiting is ingestion of something not meant for dogs. In some cases, vomiting may be a good thing. But this is not always the case. Hence, understanding the causes behind the acute and chronic vomiting in dogs can be a huge help.


Acute vomiting in dogs

Acute vomiting in dogs is a vomiting episode that happens suddenly and then stops. It is not recurrent tendency. Here are a few reasons why your dog might suffer from an acute vomiting episode.

Eating something that should not be eaten:

It is not unknown to dog guardians that dogs tend to eat things which they are not allowed to eat. Dietary indiscretion is something which is harder to control in younger dogs. If your dog has eaten from the trash or has eaten the leaves of a poisonous plant, you will soon know that your dog is sick.

As for eating something which bounces around in the stomach and is not going to get digested but also does not cause an obstruction, the dog’s body will try to throw it out as soon as possible. This type of situation can escalate and cause more harm if the item is not thrown out of the dog’s body.

Super fatty foods: these can lead to pancreatitis which can induce acute vomiting in dogs.

Contagious diseases

Contagious diseases can also cause vomiting in dogs. This is mostly common in younger dogs. One of the contagious diseases which cause vomiting in dogs is the parvovirus infection. It can be very serious. It is mostly governing puppies who live in a group setting. Certain breeds have been known to be more susceptible to parvovirus like Labrador retrievers, sled dogs, German Shepherds, Doberman pinschers and Rottweilers.

Parvovirus in dogs: causes, symptoms and treatments

Contaminated water

Dogs have a tendency to drink out of puddles of water, community drinking bowls, rivers and lakes. In case your dog drinks from a lake which has cyanobacterium (blue-green algae), it can be deadly. The initial symptoms of a cyanobacterium infection is vomiting but in severe cases it can progress to neurological signs and even cause death.


Bloating can cause vomiting in dogs. Bloating in not only observed in humans but in dogs as well. Gastric dilation volvulus or bloating is a life-threatening acute conditioners which requires dogs to be hospitalized and provided with aggressive treatment. In this condition, the stomach gets filled with air and the intestine starts to twist on itself. This can cause the circulation to be cut off to the stomach and your dog may land up going to shock. 

his disease is most commonly observed in dogs who belong to large breeds like standard poodles,  greetings, Labrador, Golden retriever and German Shepherds. If your dog has a tendency to quickly eat or drink excessively it can also lead to bloating

Now that you know all the cause behind acute vomiting in dogs it is time to discuss the causes behind chronic vomiting in dogs.

Other articles you may find interesting:

Dogs vomiting clear liquid. When and why?

Why is your dog vomiting and how to prevent the same?

Chronic vomiting in dogs

A chronic condition is one which goes on for months and is constant. Chronic vomiting in dogs can be a very frustrating condition for dogs and dog guardians, especially if you do not know the underlying cause. Some dogs are prone to regular vomiting. 

If your dog is young and is suffering from chronic vomiting tendencies, then it is most likely due to a parasitic infection or food sensitivity. Chronic vomiting can also be caused due to certain health or disease issues.

Usually the underlying reason behind the chronic vomiting tenancy can be diagnosed by conducting bloodwork, ultrasounds, x-rays or biopsies. Keep reading on to find out the most common causes behind chronic vomiting in dogs:


Megaesophagus refers to a condition in which the esophagus becomes abnormally enlarged. This can be caused by a number of conditions and can affect the dog belonging to all age groups. It has been observed that some dogs are born with this condition due to an improper development of the esophagus. Other dogs may acquire this condition over their lifetime due to diseases like myasthenia gravis, hypothyroidism or Addison’s disease.


Inflammatory bowel disease

As the name implies, inflammatory bowel disease is mostly associated with chronic vomiting and leads to inflammation of the bowels. Sometimes chronic vomiting is the primary symptom of this disease.


Pancreatitis is a very common cause of vomiting in dogs. However, sometimes dogs might suffer from chronic pancreatitis. This causes dogs to become prone to vomiting regularly. Such dogs must be fed a very low-fat diet. 

The dog breeds which are genetically prone to suffering from pancreatitis are Bischon frises, Schnauzers, Shetland Sheepdog, Poodles, and Yorkshire Terriers. Pancreatitis may eventually lead to diabetes

How do you know if you need to go to the vet when your dog is vomiting?

If your dog is vomiting, the most important thing for you to understand is

is it okay to administer home remedy to your dog ?

should you just wait for the vomiting to pass?

do you need to immediately go to the vet?

If your dog has been vomiting for less than 12 hours and otherwise is perky, is able to keep food and water down, then it is okay to wait and monitor your dog.

However, if your dog is unable to keep the food down, is constantly vomiting and shows other symptoms then it is time for you to take your dog to the. One of the biggest concerns with vomiting is your dog getting dehydrated. When a dog becomes dehydrated, essential body functions cease to function. So it is very important that you keep a check on your dog’s hydration levels. This is the reason why understanding the symptoms and causes behind acute and chronic vomiting in dogs can help guardians

Vomiting along with diarrhea

This is it situation in which you should immediately going to emergency. The case can be even severe if there is blood in the diarrhea or in the vomit. Your dog might require hospitalization in such cases

your dog becoming lethargic after vomiting or showing violent shaking symptoms post vomiting

This can occur as a result of cramping from electrolyte imbalances or severe abdominal pain. You must not waste a second in taking your dog to the hospital.


Your dog ate a foreign object or a toxin

If you are having an unlucky day and your dog ate something which he should not have eaten, you must inform the vet. Along with the vet, contact the poison hotline immediately (in case of toxin) to find out what kind of toxin it might be. This will help the veterinarian determine the course of treatment to be undertaken with your pup.



The best option is to keep your dog away from any item which can be harmful to him or her. However, sometimes dogs being the caricature experts that they are, still may land up ingesting something which may be harmful to them. Understanding the causes behind acute and chronic vomiting can help dog guardians identify when it is an emergency and when the vet appointment can wait a little. 

For such situations, have your veterinarian’s contact info not only on your phone but on the fridge door as well, so anyone who is with the dog when he or she starts to vomit can contact the vet at the earliest. If you found this article informative, subscribe to the blog so I can send you latest tips, tricks and advice directly to your inbox.

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Frequently asked questions

What to do if your dog ate a foreign object or a toxin?

Immediately contact your vet and poison hotline to determine the type of poison. This will help your vet administer the correct antidote to the poison.

When is a dog’s vomiting an emergency situation?

In the following conditions, you must take your dog to the nearest emergency pet hospital
Vomiting along with diarrhea.
Your dog ingested a foreign object.
The dog ate something which might be toxic.
If your dog is in puppyhood stages and is vomiting as it might be a risk of parvovirus infection.
If the dog is vomiting blood.

What are the other situations when veterinarian’s consultation is necessary?

You know it is time to consult your vet if your dog:
-is geriatric
-is doing projectile vomiting which can be a potential sign that there is an obstruction in the intestinal region of the dog.
-is dry heaving or tries to vomit and nothing is coming out. This can be a symptom of bloating which can be life-threatening in most cases.
-Vomiting blood
-Vomiting an entire object or pieces of a foreign object. There might still be pieces of foreign object stuck inside your dog
-is showing signs of lethargy
-is urinating very less which is a sign of dehydration.
-Refuses to eat food
-has an enlarged or tender abdomen. This is normally seen in serious cases of vomiting.
-Is unable to hold down minimal amount of water.
-is undergoing diarrheal vomiting. This can quickly lead to dehydration.
-has an underlying medical issue
-ate human food which dogs are not supposed to eat like chocolate etc.
-is suffering from chronic vomiting
-is losing weight due to vomiting often
-is suffering from a reduction in the overall demeanor.
-is showing clear-cut signs of dehydration like the skin does not snap back into place if gently pulled, dry state of gums

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