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.


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Here's a vet that still cares.
Just wanted to say I love Dr. Petcu's staff and his compassionate , caring way of taking care of my dogs.The staff is not only friendly and professional ,they know who you are when you arrive ,and they actually love animals. Is the first Animal Hospital that my dogs are at ease and feel comfortable.The place is very clean and the reception area very elegant and inviting. Exquisite services and Dr. Petcu always take his time to explain the disease and options and still finds time to play with my dogs. He's always treated both his animal and human patients with compassion and dignity,and would never recommend procedures unless he truly feels your pet will benefit from it. One of the vets that cares for your pet. The prices are reasonable and the services exceed all expectations. I Highly recommend Dr.Petcu and his hospital.

Reba S

Western Animal Hospital AMAZING! Western Animal Hospital is the best place in the valley .The staff is professional, friendly, caring and accommodating. The hospital is very clean and upscale. The customer service and the provided services are outstanding.Dr. Petcu is one of the most professional veterinarians that i have ever met in my 25 years of pet parenting. I drive across the valley just to see him( i live in Anthem) .He really cares about his animal patients and it shows in every visits . He is very knowledgeable , compassionate, friendly and always takes the time to answer any question i have and explaining in detail any situation we are dealing with. I had my share of visits to many animal hospitals in the valley but none of them had the last technology as Western - digital X-ray ( they send you home with a cd for you x-ray records ) every room has a computer monitor where the x-ray shows and Dr. Petcu can review with me every detail of it. Also they have the laser surgery and digital dental x-ray. Dr. petcu is one of the most
courteous and pleasant Vets I have ever met. The prices are more than reasonable and also they try to accommodate everybody. I cannot recommend them enough. You can rest easy knowing your pets are in their care.I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THIS HOSPITAL - THEY HAVE A CUSTOMER FOR LIFE IN ME! very good !

Betty K

Western Animal Hospital this doctor is making a lot of sense and will explain everything in details..
prices are great ....

.the best vet I met !! Pam M. 5 Western Animal Hospital - we are bringing our pets to Dr Petcu for 8 years. He was always helpful, many times we did not have the funds to treat our pets but he was fine with us paying when we had the money. He saved our cats in many instances and all I have to say is that I greatly reccomend Western Animal Hospital for any responsable pet owner .

Yolanda M

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