Dog Stomach Problems - Vomiting and More

Dog stomach problems can range from the occasional vomiting of dog food and/or grass ....(See this little Boston Terrier chewing on a stick) vomiting over and over with dark blood in vomit and stools.

See also Bloating in Dogs.

Occasionally my small dogs, a Chihuahua and a Boston Terrier mix, have a spell of throwing up.

If one of them has gotten into the cat food then I understand what the cause of the problem is.

Cat food is much higher in protein than dog food therefore cat food is very bad for dogs. It adversely affects their liver and kidneys.

I have friends who say their dog gets into the cat food and eats it about once a week. Just because you don't immediately seen a negative effect doesn't mean it isn't harming you dog.

Vets tell me there will not be any immediately apparent consequence to this but what is happening inside the dog is still dire.

The high protein attacks the dog's kidneys and eventually the dog will die earlier than necessary from renal failure.

Don't let your dog eat cat food - dry or wet!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stomach problems in dogs are sometimes hard to define or to figure out what is causing it. See Dog Fart..

Symptoms, besides vomiting or throwing up, can include pain if the dog's stomach is touched or when the dog is lays down.

Watch carefully and write down any behaviors that are abnormal no matter how subtle.

This way you can give the veterinarian a better picture of what is going on.

**If vomiting persist for more than a day then it is time to evaluate seriously and you should consider taking the dog to the vet.

See also Dog Parvo.

Other Dog Stomach Problems

While vomiting is the most common of all stomach problems in dogs it is important to consider signs that might indicate an ulcer, stomach blockage, or tumors.

Ulcers are just one of many serious dog stomach problems because they can develop and cause other complications like internal bleeding.

Ulcers can develop as a result of overdoses of medicine such as ibuprofen or aspirin.

***If your veterinarian prescribes a medication and he/she advises you that this could cause stomach problems please take it seriously and watch for side effects.***

Be sure to give the medication with the proper, prescribed amount of time between doses to prevent overdosing.

If your dog has not been receiving medication then stress, kidney problems or liver disease could be the underlying cause.

See also Dog Illnesses.

Vomit with dark blood which looks like coffee ground, or fresh blood and/or blood clots in the vomit could indicate ulcers.

Note whether your dog has been losing weight or looks poorly.

Get your dog to the vet promptly and expect for the vet to do a complete medical exam with blood work to get to the root of the problem.

Treatment may include, just like treatment for people with ulcers, antacids and histamine blockers BUT DO NOT SELF PRESCRIBE FOR YOUR DOG - SEE A VET!!!

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Gastritis - Another of the Dog Stomach Problems

Gastritis is an irritation of the lining of the stomach.

It is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders in dogs and occurs in different forms.

Gastritis is most commonly associated with eating the wrong thing, for example "people food", eating out of the garbage, or having a change in their food brand.

It can also be caused by an infection.

Stomach Blockage

Otherwise known as gastric outflow obstruction, another possible dog stomach problem is a stomach blockage.

These happen when there is a problem with the stomach emptying itself.

It can be caused by an infection, by the dog eating something like a small ball and having it get stuck or even a tumor can cause it.

Symptoms are also vomiting with food and blood expelled.

These types of dog stomach problems usually require surgery.

Older Dog Stomach Problems

Older dogs are subject to the same problems as younger dogs but there is a possibility of more complications.

Also tumors can take years to grow and not display symptoms until the dog is over 7 or 8 years old. See Aging Dogs..

Be sure to have your older dog checked at least once a year for a routine checkup.

Take notes ahead of time of any concerns that you have and advise the vet of any behaviors that do not seem normal.

The vet may do a gastronomy test to determine if a tumor exists.

If it does , the portion of the stomach containing the tumor will be removed in surgery. See Senior Dog Health.

More serious dog stomach problems is something called bloat or gastric dilation volvulus.

This condition is extremely serious and should be cared for immediately as almost 50% of dogs suffering from bloat do not survive.

Appearing most often in older dogs it is caused by the stomach filling with fluid and then rotating and taking the spleen along with it.

This stops fluids from leaving the dog's body by vomiting or excretion.

Addison's Disease - The most serious of all dog stomach problems!

This disease is found by the vet through blood work.

The good news is that there are treatments available.

The vet will prescribe medication that the dog must take for the rest of his life.

Motion Sickness

Ahhhhh yes! Motion sickness, also commonly called car sickness.

I have had only 2 dogs in forty years that had motion sickness.

My little Susi Q, the Boston Terrier mix that I have had now for 10 years, was terrified of riding in the car when I got her.

She still doesn't like it a lot but she has learned to settle down after a few minutes. I crate her in the van and that seems to make her feel more secure. I also make a special effort to not show my stress at her being stressed. That creates a vicious cycle.

Instead, I adopt the attitude that she will be just fine. The short ride is not going to kill her so I just need to chill out.

Professional trainers recommended that I take her for short rides, around the block and back home, to condition her to the fact that riding was OK.

Poor little thing... she would get so scared at first that you could see the whites of her eyes...

They looked like big plates with a little dark spot in the middle.

I also took Peanut, the 5 pound Chihuahua, with us because he LOVED to ride.

He would keep looking at her as if to say,

"Isn't this Fun!!! Huh? Huh? Isn't this the MOST fun you have EVER had in your life!!!?"

Meanwhile Susi Q still had that deer in the head lights look.

Eventually she came to tolerate riding in the car.

I make a point of not feeding her much if we are going for a long ride.

Sometimes I put a crate in the van and let her ride in that.

She seems to feel more protected and safe.

Dogs Who Eat Grass - Is this a serious dog stomach problem?

See Dog Illnesses

This is always a hot topic with dog owners.

Some feel it is ok for their dog to eat grass and that it is a normal part of being a dog. Some of my research indicates that dogs may be looking for a particular plant that soothes their stomach.. kind of like mint does for us.

Other dog owners get very upset when their pooch eats grass which is usually followed by throwing up.

So I asked my veterinarian.

He said it is a common myth that dogs eat grass to cure an upset stomach.

Probably the most common of all dog stomach problems grass eating or, eating any non-food item, is called Pica.

A couple of vets told me they have had to do surgery on dogs who ate grass because the grass got stuck in the dog's intestines necessitating the removal of part of the intestine!

Their advice was "Do Not Let Your Dog Eat Grass!"

If I see one of my dog's eating grass and suspect they are experiencing dog stomach problems (even if the vet says they don't) I give them a little bit of Pepto Bismal.

(No, I do not receive any compensation for saying that!)

The Pepto Bismal was suggested by my vet and he said if the problem continued for more than a day then the dog should be seen by a vet.

Dogs that seem to be a little more predisposed to digestive tract issues are:


Great Danes


Australian Shepherds


Labrador Retrievers

Terriers and small dogs like Chihuahuas.

Are there any breeds that are NOT included?

I guess there are but any dog can experience dog stomach problems.

Excessive Gas - Owners hate this particular dog stomach problem

Maybe even more gross than throwing up, and one of the most complained about of dog stomach problems, excessive gas hits the top of the list.

Some owners tell me their dog just about runs them out of the house.

Sounds funny unless you are the one experiencing it... especially if you are embarrassed because you have friends over.

Having a nervous dog can cause gas but usually the cause of the problem is the dog's diet. See also Dog Fart.

Learn to read the label of the dog food and watch for corn and wheat in the food.

Check with your vet to see what food suggestions he has to minimize the problem.

Also ask about over the counter remedies, similar to people's meds, that your local pet store may have.

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Please remember that this site and the information expressed in it are to be seen as suggestions only.

I am not a veterinarian, simply someone who loves animals who wants to help you and your dog.

Be sure to seek professional medical help from your local veterinarian and be sure to take your dog in for REGULAR checkups.