Vomiting and Diarrhea in Dogs: A Comprehensive Guide

Dogs are known for their curious nature and tendency to snack on things they shouldn’t. As a result, it’s not unusual for them to experience occasional bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. While most cases are mild and resolve quickly, it’s important to be aware of the common causes and treatments, as well as when to seek veterinary care. In this article, we’ll explore these topics in detail, ensuring that you have the knowledge to care for your pup when they’re not feeling their best.

Understanding the Symptoms

Vomiting and diarrhea often go hand in hand and are usually signs of gastroenteritis, which is inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Alongside these main symptoms, your dog may exhibit other signs such as reduced appetite, increased drinking or no drinking, lethargy, abdominal pain, changes in behavior, absence of feces, and signs of nausea like drooling or lip licking. Paying attention to these additional symptoms can provide valuable insights into the underlying cause and help determine the severity of the situation.

Identifying the Causes

Mild cases of vomiting and diarrhea are often the result of a change in diet, poor-quality food, dietary indiscretion, or stress. However, more serious cases require veterinary attention and may be caused by parasites, viruses (such as parvovirus), bacterial infections, poisoning, food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, obstructions, pancreatitis, liver or kidney disease, or even cancer. It’s important to be aware of these potential causes and seek appropriate treatment from a veterinarian when needed.

Treating Vomiting and Diarrhea at Home

If your dog is experiencing mild symptoms and is otherwise healthy, there are a few home treatments you can try. Firstly, give their stomach a break by withholding food and water for approximately 6 hours. After this period, gradually reintroduce small amounts of food and water to see if the vomiting persists. However, if your dog continues to vomit despite the break, it’s crucial to seek veterinary care. Diarrhea may take a little longer to resolve, but there should be a noticeable improvement within 12-24 hours.

See also  Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? Unraveling the Mystery Behind this Canine Behavior

Feeding your dog a bland diet consisting of easily digestible foods can help soothe their upset stomach. Divide their meals into smaller portions throughout the day and avoid feeding them treats or milk, as these can further irritate their digestive system. Additionally, incorporating prebiotics and probiotics into their diet can restore the balance of good bacteria in their gut, especially if there’s been a bacterial infection. However, it’s important to consult your veterinarian and purchase supplements from trustworthy sources. Fiber supplements like psyllium husk and pureed pumpkin may also be beneficial, but seek advice from your vet, especially if your dog has underlying conditions.

It’s worth noting that administering any human medication to your dog is strongly discouraged unless specifically advised by your veterinarian. Human medications can be toxic to dogs and potentially fatal if given in incorrect doses. If your dog is stressed, consider using a pheromone diffuser or discussing calming medications or supplements with your veterinarian.

Knowing When to Seek Veterinary Care

While many cases of vomiting and diarrhea resolve within 12-24 hours, it’s important to seek veterinary care if symptoms persist or worsen. This is especially true if your dog displays other concerning symptoms or if their condition is severe. Dogs with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes or chronic kidney disease, should be brought to the vet without delay, as vomiting and diarrhea can exacerbate these conditions. When in doubt, it’s always best to contact your veterinarian. They will conduct a thorough examination, perform necessary tests, and provide appropriate medication based on their findings.

Prevention is Key

Preventing vomiting and diarrhea in dogs starts with maintaining their overall health and well-being. Opt for dog foods with limited ingredient lists as they are less likely to cause stomach upset or trigger food allergies. It’s essential to be mindful of broken toys or sharp objects that could be harmful if ingested. If your dog has a history of ingesting foreign objects, never leave them unsupervised with toys and ensure that their environment is safe and free from potential hazards. Regularly deworming your dog is also crucial in preventing parasite-related gastrointestinal issues. Consult your veterinarian for appropriate worming control treatment.

See also  Pigmentary Keratitis in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


Vomiting and diarrhea are common issues that dogs may face throughout their lives. While most cases are mild and transient, some may require veterinary attention. By recognizing the symptoms, understanding the causes, and implementing appropriate home treatments, you can provide effective care for your furry companion. Remember to keep up with your dog’s worming treatment and feed them a high-quality diet to minimize the risk of gastrointestinal problems. And, as always, if in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian for guidance and support.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What should I do if my dog has diarrhea and vomiting?
A: Offer them a bland diet in small meals throughout the day and continue to provide water. You can also consider giving them a probiotic supplement recommended by your veterinarian.

Q: When should I take my dog to the vet for vomiting and diarrhea?
A: If your dog’s symptoms haven’t improved within 12-24 hours, it’s advisable to bring them to the vet. Seek veterinary care sooner if they exhibit severe abdominal pain, refraining from drinking, lethargy, or if there is blood in the vomit or feces.

Q: What does it mean when your dog is having diarrhea and throwing up?
A: It indicates that your dog’s digestive system, including the stomach and intestines, is inflamed and irritated. This could be due to something they’ve eaten or an underlying health condition.

Q: How long do sickness and diarrhea last in a dog?
A: Mild cases typically resolve within 12-24 hours. However, more severe cases may last longer. If your dog’s symptoms persist for over 24 hours or they appear very unwell, it’s important to visit your veterinarian for a thorough examination.

Remember, keeping your dog healthy and seeking timely veterinary care are crucial in minimizing the impact of vomiting and diarrhea on your pet’s well-being.