> Vomiting in dogs and cats

Vomiting in dogs and cats

Vomiting in dogs and cats

Vomiting is something that everyone with a dog or cat has experienced. It is often caused by eating spoiled food, which is not something to really worry about. In this article you can read all about vomiting, its possible causes and how to best deal with it.


Vomiting is an active reflex removal of the stomach and/or intestinal contents through the mouth. Vomiting is different from regurgitating. In contrast to vomiting, the food comes back up from the oesophagus without any nausea or exertion and thus the food has not yet entered the stomach. It has other causes than vomiting and we will not discuss this in this article.


Vomiting consists of several steps and you can often recognize the following symptoms:

  • Nausea in which behavioural changes are regularly seen. In addition to excessive salivation, your dog or cat may withdraw, feel uncomfortable, eat grass, and sometimes even whine or shiver.
  • Gagging, which involves an active contraction of the abdomen.
  • Finally, the contents in the stomach and/or intestinal system are actively brought out.

Occasional vomiting

Usually dogs and cats vomit because of an inflammation of the stomach, for example after eating spoiled food or a change of diet. Vomiting once is not an immediate cause for concern and is a regular occurrence. Vomiting can happen at many different times: on an empty stomach or right after eating. Even hours after a meal, undigested food can be thrown up. Yellow or white mucus, (bile and/or gastric juices), is regurgitated on an empty stomach.

Different stimuli

Vomiting is regulated in the brain and can be triggered by a wide variety of stimuli, both from the gastrointestinal tract and more. You can think of chemical substances, such as medicines or substances that are released because of the malfunctioning of certain organs such as the kidneys and liver. In addition, anxiety, pain, acute stress, motion sickness or eating foreign objects can also lead to vomiting. If your dog or cat is vomiting excessively and is sick, it is always important to contact your veterinarian. We will highlight several possible scenarios below.

Eaten something wrong

If it is suspected that the animal has eaten 'something' wrong (which is edible, not if there are inedible objects), you can do the following:

Don’t feed your dog or cat for a few hours, water is allowed. Then give several small portions of easily digestible food, like Eukanuba Intestinal or Veterinary HPM Clinical Diet or one of the other commercial brands. It is sensible to offer a complete meal and not to start cooking food yourself (unless after consulting your vet with a recipe for a balanced meal). After a few days, you can usually slowly switch back to the old diet.


In addition, a virus (similar to stomach flu) can cause vomiting, often accompanied by diarrhoea. If your dog has vomited several times and also has diarrhoea, it is wise to visit your vet for treatment. This treatment will aim to decrease vomiting and diarrhoea and to ensure that your pet does not lose too much fluid. Sometimes it may be necessary to conduct further research.

Object swallowed

Dogs and cats are still prone to swallow foreign objects. Many strange things have been swallowed by dogs and cats. Such as dogs that like to eat socks, gloves, tennis balls, rubber toys, flossing ropes, sticks or skewers. Cats are more likely to eat rubber earplugs or threads of wool. These objects can cause blockages in the gastrointestinal tract and often cause vomiting. If your dog or cat has persistent vomiting symptoms, is too lethargic and does not produce any stools, this may be an indication of a blockage in the intestine. If you experience these symptoms, contact your vet as soon as possible.

Organ failure

When liver failure or kidney failure occurs, 'toxins' that build up in the body will trigger a vomiting stimulus. Often these animals also show other symptoms of general lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss. If you suspect this, we advise you to contact your veterinarian.

If the vomiting persists, worsens (several times a day), your dog or cat seems sick, if your pet can’t seem to keep any fluid in its body, vomits blood or stools, etc. then it is always advisable to consult your vet.

Share this article