Why is My Puppy Throwing Up?
Taking care of a puppy is a tremendous responsibility: feeding them, training them, playing with them and taking care of them when they are sick. If your puppy is vomiting, it is important to know why.
Puppies can throw up for many different reasons. It may be that they are sick, but it might also be that they simply ate something they shouldn’t have – and puppies are always eating things they’re not supposed to. It may even be motion sickness. Knowing the different reasons puppies throw up can save you an expensive visit to the veterinarian.
When Vomiting Is Acceptable
The dog’s brain has a well-developed vomiting center that makes it far easier for them to vomit than most animals.
All canines are instinctive scavengers, whether they are a coyote, a jackal or a domestic dog. A vomiting reflex was a necessary adaptation to keep their populations from getting sick.
Wild dogs are opportunistic eaters. They catch and kill prey when they can, and scrounge for scraps when they cannot. Although domesticated dogs generally have enough food to eat, they are still driven by instinct to eat whatever they stumble across, even if they don’t need it. Because it is not uncommon to come across food that is rotten, dogs learned to puke up bad food to keep from getting sick.
Adult dogs usually know what is good for them to eat and what is not. Puppies have not yet learned this. Much as a human infant learns about the world by crawling around and touching everything she finds, puppies develop their senses by smelling and devouring everything they find.
When puppies eat things they shouldn’t be eating and swallow them, they will often vomit them up later, and this is a good thing. If your dog swallows something harmful such as a poison or other foreign object and does not vomit, it may be necessary to induce your dog to vomit. It could save their life.
You may have noticed your puppy eating very quickly. This is also an adaptation. Dogs in the wild have to eat quickly to ensure that other, larger animals such as lions or bears did not steal their food.
The problem with eating quickly is that puppies in particular have a hard time digesting their food when they do so. As one website explains, “The most common cause of vomiting in dogs is gluttony.” Fortunately, this does not present any health risks to your pet.
If your puppy is eating too fast and keeps throwing up as a result, there are a lot of different tricks you can try. Dog trainer and psychologist Cesar Milan offers several tips that might help. If these don’t work, something else might.
While vomiting may be common in dogs, it should not be considered normal. If none of these solutions work, or if your puppy is vomiting more than once or twice a day, you may need to take them to the vet. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
When You Should Be Concerned
Although dogs usually vomit for gastric reasons revolving around food, there are other possibly serious reasons why your puppy could be vomiting. This is particularly true if you notice any changes in the puppy’s behavior. If the puppy stops playing or behaving normally, there may be something wrong.
If you are concerned your puppy is sick, watch for other symptoms. Does the puppy seem to be running a fever? Are you having problems with diarrhea? Do you notice loss of appetite or energy? All of these point to an infection.
Check the Vomit
You can learn a lot about what’s going on by taking the time to look at the vomit before cleaning it up. This may sound gross, but paying attention and taking notes may be able to help the vet make a diagnosis. This can mean your puppy gets healthy sooner.
Check to see if the stool in the vomit is broken. Look for any signs of blood in the vomit. Is there any food in the vomit, or is it mostly just water and stomach acid? If there is little to no food, that is a pretty clear sign of an infection.
A common infection for dogs is parvovirus. The symptoms include heavy vomiting and diarrhea. This is a very contagious disease, and while it can be treated, it is very expensive. The best way to prevent parvo is to vaccinate your puppy before they get sick.
There are a variety of reasons that puppies vomit, some more serious than others. Vomiting does not always indicate sickness, but it is important to pay close attention to your pet.