Little boy and his dog on bed, it is sunday morning and they just wake up.

Vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs.

Vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs

When you have a dog, you know that occasionally they’re going to eat something they shouldn’t. But unless you see that happen, you can’t be sure if their vomit or diarrhoea is simply because they used poor dietary judgement, or if it’s the initial marker of illness.

Common causes of your dog vomiting

The common causes for your dog vomiting can be:

  • Eating foreign objects like toys, bones, sticks, or stones
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Viral infection
  • Signs of disease like stomach ulcers, diabetes, or cancer
  • Ingesting poison
  • Motion sickness
  • Excessive excitement, stress, or anxiety
  • A change in diet
  • Eating too fast
  • Eating something they shouldn’t have, like rubbish, fatty foods, or food scraps

Vomit or regurgitation?

Dogs do tend to throw things back up, but there’s a difference in whether it’s simply regurgitated
food, or vomit.

  • Regurgitation generally includes indigested food and saliva, and comes out in a cylindrical
    shape. It typically comes out easily, without any signs or muscle contractions.
  • Vomiting is usually accompanied by the sound of your dog retching, their whole body
    contracting and spasming, and then expulsion of partially-digested food and bile.

Common causes of diarrhoea in dogs

Common causes of diarrhoea in dogs can be:

  • Eating something they’re not supposed to
  • Dietary allergies
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (yes, dogs have this too)
  • A sudden change in diet
  • Stress
  • Viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections
  • Signs of a more serious diseas

When to visit the vet

You want to make sure your dog is okay, so it’s important to visit your local Sage Vets whenever you
think is necessary. 

However, you should definitely bring your dog in to see us if:

  • They’re vomiting regularly, they’re lethargic, or they’re in pain
  • Their diarrhoea is frequent, watery, contains significant blood, or is dark and tarry
  • Either has been occurring for more than 24 hours, or


While an occasional bout of vomiting or diarrhoea might not be concerning, frequent or chronic
bouts (more than once a day) of either should be checked on. When you bring your dog in to see us,
we will undertake a series of diagnostic tests to determine what could be the matter.

This typically includes:

  • Doing a blood test to check their blood work
  • Undertaking a faecal analysis
  • Giving them an x-ray to look for blockages and foreign objects
  • Abdominal ultrasound to evaluate their internal organs
  • Testing for specific diseases
  • Surgery to obtain a biopsy

These last two are only for situations where an initial diagnosis proves inconclusive.


The treatment for your dog will depend on the diagnosis. Typically, we will advise:

  • Increased fluids (fluid therapy)
  • Antibiotics
  • Medication to help control vomiting (Antiemetics)
  • Other medication, depending on the diagnosis
  • A short diet of bland foods, like boiled potatoes, boiled chicken, or rice
  • A long-term change in their diet
  • Surgery if a blockage or foreign object.
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