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Diarrhea & Vomiting in Dogs: When to Call Your Veterinarian
Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.
Race Foster, DVM
Digestive System
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At one time or another every dog has a bout of vomiting or diarrhea. Usually they have eaten something disagreeable, eaten too much, too fast or exercised too soon after eating, are overly excited or nervous, or their body is reacting to any of a number of other non-serious conditions.

If your dog is not showing other signs of illness, you can save yourself a trip to the vet if you wait 12 hours and do the following:

  1. Take away all food and water so that the irritated intestinal tract can settle down. Nothing makes a vomiting dog vomit more than a big drink of water or a large meal. You may allow the dog to drink very small amounts, and in this short time, if your dog is otherwise healthy, you do not have to worry about dehydration. If the diarrhea resolves, after 24 hours, you may give your dog very small amounts of a bland food, such as drained, cooked hamburger mixed with an equal amount of cooked rice.

  2. Observe your dog closely. Is behavior and activity otherwise normal? Think about and try to identify the cause of the problem. Could your dog have eaten something (like grass, garbage, or a dead animal) that upset its digestive system? Has your dog been wormed lately? Watch how your dog vomits or eliminates so you can describe it to your vet if symptoms persist. Examine the stool or vomit. Collect samples if you believe you will need to take your dog in. Monitor the dog's weight for possible weight loss.

When you should call your veterinarian

Vomiting:

  • blood in vomit
  • vomiting accompanied by diarrhea
  • vomit looks and smells like stool
  • vomiting is projectile
  • vomiting is sporadic and there is no relationship to meals
  • multiple bouts of vomiting occur over a short period of time
  • ingestion of a poison (like antifreeze or fertilizer) is suspected
  • vomiting persists more than a day or two
  • stomach bloating occurs or your dog tries to vomit but can not
  • dog also appears listless
  • there is weight loss
  • dog is showing other signs of illness such as labored breathing or pain

Diarrhea:

  • bloody diarrhea
  • diarrhea accompanied by vomiting
  • multiple bouts of vomiting occur over a short period of time
  • ingestion of a poison is suspected
  • fever and other signs of toxicity are present
  • diarrhea persists more than a day or two
  • dog also appears listless
  • there is weight loss
  • dog is showing other signs of illness such as labored breathing or pain
 

RELATED ARTICLES:
Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment of Diarrhea in Dogs 
Click here for a pdf version of this article.  See related products at DrsFosterSmith.com Pet Supplies  
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