It’s always concerning when your pet is poorly, and even more so when they’re only a puppy. Vomiting is pretty common in puppies, this is partly because they’re incredibly inquisitive and tend to investigate everything with their mouths, meaning they will often try to eat things that they shouldn’t do. Unfortunately for many pet owners, this can include their puppy’s stomach-churning tendency to go and mop up his vomit from the floor too!
Puppies can also vomit because of a number of other problems, including intestinal parasites (worms), infectious diseases (such as parvovirus infection), abnormal movement or position of the intestines (like intussusception, where one piece of intestine gets trapped inside another) or even congenital problems (present from birth) like liver shunts.
What to do when your puppy has vomited once or twice but seems well?
A lot of the time, puppies will have one or two short episodes of vomiting either a bit of food or just some stomach liquid, and nothing more. Often, they’ve suffered a very mild irritation of the stomach (gastritis) and it sorts itself out without them becoming unwell, and they continue their normal habits and are back to normal the same day.
It’s always a good idea to give your vet a call if your puppy is vomiting, so they can advise if anything further needs to be done. Make sure you have his vaccination and worming details on hand if he’s already received any care, this can help your vet figure out if he needs further care.
What should you do to help your puppy if he is vomiting?
For very mild cases of vomiting, it can be helpful to rest the stomach. Preventing your puppy from eating anything further for a short time can help the digestive tract to recover, first reintroducing water and later small meals of a light diet, for example, with cooked plain rice and chicken. However, the period of rest does depend on the age of your puppy, because we have to balance this rest with the risk of dehydration and the risk of his blood sugar becoming too low. That’s why it’s best to give your vet a call and they’ll help you navigate this period.
What if your puppy eats his sick?
Aside from being gross, your puppy eating his sick can cause further irritation to his stomach. Resting the stomach means resting it from re-ingested vomits too, this is particularly important where there is concern over having eaten something irritant, because re-ingesting the vomited material is re-exposing the stomach the irritative substance, after the body has tried to protect itself by expelling it. This means that if your puppy is in the habit of eating his vomit, you need to be monitoring him carefully until he’s back to normal, clearing up any sick straight away and discouraging him from eating any.
What about when your puppy is vomiting continually or seems depressed?
When vomiting continues or if your puppy appears otherwise unwell, they’ll need a visit to the vet. Often, it’s just that the vomiting has produced a vicious cycle of vomiting and irritation, that they need some help to break. Owing to their small size, they’re more susceptible to adverse effects like dehydration and low blood sugar levels, so might need some help where an adult dog would not.
Additionally, because in many cases the vomiting is preceded by eating something unusual (which may or not be known), puppies with continued vomiting need to be assessed for the possibility of more severe adverse effects from the ingestion of a foreign material, that may be causing either severe irritation, toxicity or obstruction.
Get some help
One of the most important steps in getting a new puppy is finding a local vet to develop a trusting, lifelong relationship with, which will benefit both you and your new puppy. This might mean visiting a couple of local practices to see which meets your needs, where you feel comfortable, and getting to know their services, facilities and their staff. This can help you choose the right vets for you, who can help you in times of need such as this, but it’s a good idea to start looking even before your puppy comes home.
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