Vomiting is a normal, healthy function for dogs and cats. On occasion, pets eat things that do not agree with their stomachs or cats need to expel a hairball, and purging brings the body back into stasis, eliminating toxins within the stomach. This sort of sporadic vomiting is not cause for alarm; however, if vomiting is occurring on a regular basis, it could be indicative that something serious is wrong with your pet.

In determining if your pet has vomited and whether or not it is a serious health concern, you must first establish whether the hurling is vomit or regurgitation. Vomiting involves physical retching and heaving from the stomach, and the product expelled is fully digested and typically has a yellowish fluid (bile) present within it. Regurgitation is hacking from the throat, and the substance is not fully digested, remaining tubular in shape; usually you will see pieces of whatever your pet has swallowed within it. During regurgitation, a pet will lower their head and dismiss the food without a lot of effort. Regurgitation is often considered less serious than vomiting, though continual regurgitation and the inability to hold food down does indicate the need for immediate veterinary attention.

An interesting fact for pet owners! - Horses, rabbits, and rats are among the few pets that possess muscles around their esophagi that prevent them from vomiting.

Three stages of vomiting in pets 

  1. Nausea – indicated by drooling, frequent swallowing, yawning, or lip smacking. Most pets will also find a space in which to hide.
  2. Retching – the contracting of the stomach in a way that prevents them from relaxing so nothing comes from the mouth.
  3. Vomiting – when food physically expels from the mouth.

Pets need immediate veterinary care if they: 

  • Also have diarrhea and lethargy. 
  • Are vomiting multiple times per day. 
  • Are vomiting though they have not eaten in several hours. 
  • Have a fever. 
  • Have projectile vomiting. 
  • Have vomit containing bright red blood, or if vomit looks like coffee grounds. 
  • Show signs of depression or physical agony. 
  • Vomits once in a day and continues to vomit the following day.

Any of these symptoms can signify serious illness including ulcers, kidney or liver failure, distemper, cancer, diabetes, poisoning, or Addison’s disease.

Treatment for vomiting pets

Treatment for vomiting varies, depending on whether the vomiting is acute or chronic. Acute vomiting is vomiting that has occurred occasionally over a period of less than two weeks, whereas chronic vomiting has lasted frequently over a period of at least two weeks. During your pet’s physical evaluation, the veterinarian will discuss which form of vomiting your pet has been exhibiting and will ask questions about symptoms, such as whether food or bile was present in the vomit. Blood tests can be performed to determine the functioning of the pancreas, liver, and kidneys and can also determine if there are any toxins in the bloodstream. Digital imaging can discover any foreign bodies that might be present in the stomach or intestines.

Treatment will ultimately depend on the cause of the veterinarian’s findings and could range from medication to control vomiting to treatment for cancer if a tumor is found. Regardless of the diagnosis and treatment plan, pay close attention to your pet after treatment is implemented, and if any drastic changes occur, be sure to notify the veterinarian. Keep our office informed of any improvement or worsening of the condition, and follow-up with all appointments until the problem subsides.

Keep in mind that the following foods are harmful to most pets’ digestive tracts and can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea: 

  • Alcohol. 
  • Avocados. 
  • Baby food. 
  • Chives. 
  • Chocolate 
  • Citrus. 
  • Coffee or tea.
  • Dough containing yeast. 
  • Eggs. 
  • Fruit seeds/pits. 
  • Garlic. 
  • Grapes and raisins. 
  • Liver. 
  • Macadamia nuts. 
  • Milk. 
  • Mushrooms. 
  • Onions.
  • Salt.
  • Tomato. 
  • Tuna. 
  • Xylitol.

If you have any questions about vomiting in pets, please contact our office.


Read what people are saying about us.

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We took our 5 month old puppy in to get neutered today and had a great experience. They educate you on expenses without making you feel guilty if you decide against extra options. We were able to pick him up 5 hours after dropping him off which was also amazing. Would highly recommend to anyone looking for a vet.

Chelsea G.'s

Dr. Genova has been my 4 legged daughter's doctor for her whole life (10 years). He is very personable, informative and kind. I seriously cannot say enough positive things about him.. Why else would I trust him to take care of my baby girl?

The rest of the staff is also very kind. Most of them have changed throughout the years but one thing that hasn't is that you can immediately tell how much they all love animals.

This is definitely one of this places that I wish I could give more than 5 stars to.

John L.

We had our first experience at Village at Main Veterinary Hospital today and I couldn't wait to write a review because of how pleased I was with the entire staff and environment. I arrived way early for my appointment but they took me anyway since it was open with no problem at all. As soon as we walked in the door my puppy and I were greeted with smiles and even staff that didn't run the counter came out and greeted and loved on my puppy as well which really put her at ease. Every staff member acknowledged our presence at some point. We were taken back to an exam room and we saw Dr. Tran who was warm and loving toward my puppy, she really took her time and you could easily see that she loves what she does. Dr. Tran covered all of my questions I had planned to ask as well as asked if I had any others. I would highly recommend this clinic to anybody who has had a bad experience at another clinic because it will totally make up for it as it did in our case. Thank you so much again for making us feel right at home and loving what you guys do, I will continue to drive 30 minutes just to have my pooch continue to see you guys :)

Tiffany B.

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