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Dog Vomitting - Urgent or No Big Deal?

by Meghann
(Bourbonnais, IL )

picture taken last summer

picture taken last summer

When I got home from work today I noticed that my dog had vomited in his crate. I took him outside right away he seemed ok and went to the bathroom (1 & 2).

When he came back inside he wouldn't take his treat and proceeded to vomit up yellow mucous once and then had a few more coughing fits without anything coming up.

About a half of an hour later he vomited again. This time it was white mucous with a marble-sized dark spot that wasn't liquid but was not hard (I'm not good with vomit, so I didn't explore more).

After that episode he was very upset and almost anxious. For the past half hour he has been by my side resting, and he doesn't feel warmer than usual.

Marley is a 3 1/2 year old chihuahua pug mix and weighs 10 pounds.

The reason I'm so concerned is in December he had an episode where he was sick for 5 days. The symptoms started the same as this, but the last three days diarrhea started and the last day there was just a slight runny stool. The vet said he probably just had the dog flu, no cause for alarm and to wait it out. If he didn't get better in 7 days to come in, and to take away food for 24 hours and slowly introduce white rice then bring back normal food after three days slowly.

I'm wondering if this a huge concern - should I just wait it out? Take him in? Get a new vet? I don't want to over exaggerate something that is just a slight upset stomach.

I guess my question is how do I know if its urgent or if its just an slight upset stomach?

Comments for Dog Vomitting - Urgent or No Big Deal?

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Mar 08, 2012
Marley update
by: Meghann

Over the night marley slept soundly woke up overly thirsty gave him some water he seems better right now. I'm at work and he's in his crate.

Mar 09, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Vomiting-Urgent or No Big Deal?
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Meghann,
Thank you for submitting such a cute photo of Marley!! To answer your question on "Dog vomiting-Urgent or No Big Deal", it depends on the physical exam. Here are some things to look for when this happens:

1. Check his gum color. Lift a corner of his lip above the canine teeth, the gums should be a PINK color. NOT white, not a blue or purple color, not yellowish, but a healthy pink. If his gums are pink, it is no big deal.

2. Press lightly on the gum area for one second. The gum will 'blanch' to white, and then it should return to the original pink color in one second. If it takes 3-4 seconds to become pink again, it means that Marley has become very dehydrated because of too much vomiting (and/or diarrhea) and should be taken to a veterinarian ASAP. If he is NOT dehydrated, there is no big deal.

3.Take his temperature. It is sometimes easier to do this with a (human) rectal thermometer and put some vaseline on the tip. NORMAL dog temperature is 101-102 degrees Farenheit. If he has a normal temperature, there is no big deal.

4. Monitor his energy level. If all of the above are NORMAL, but Marley is very depressed, quiet, refuses to eat, take him in to see a veterinarian. If he has a GOOD energy level, there is no big deal.

The BIG question though is WHAT is triggering these episodes? Certainly, your veterinarian has given you a good plan to follow, once he gets sick:

"Take away food for 24 hours and slowly introduce white rice then bring back normal food after three days slowly."

I would add that if he is vomiting food AND water, that you may need to also take away water, and allow him to have only ice cubes. Sometimes you can place 'chicken broth' in an ice cube tray, and make chicken broth ice cubes, to give him something to chew on.

Also, I would then offer some white rice about 1/4 cup plus 1/2 jar of chicken or turkey baby food, for a 'first' meal, to see if he can hold down bland food. Feeding 3-4 small meals daily, and observe if he is able to hold it down.

If he seems to be improving, I would then add 1-2 capsules of Acidophilus is available in capsule form, such as PB8 to his food, to help replenish the normal flora to his intestinal tract. Continue the acidophilus for about 2 weeks. This may also prevent the occurrence of diarrhea.

If he is on a DRY DOG food, that may be the culprit, since DRY DOG food is MORE difficult to digest. See if the brand of food you are feeding comes in a canned version. Then gradually add the canned dog food to the rice and baby food, and decrease the rice and baby food as you increase his canned food (And consider avoiding DRY DOG FOOD altogether).


Mar 09, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Vomiting-Urgent or No Big Deal? PART TWO
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Meghann,
Here is the continuation of my response.

Gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestine) can be triggered by many things. Change of diet, 'indiscriminate eating of non-food items, reaction to a vaccination, stress if you are working longer hours, and if Marley is prone to separation anxiety, etc. This is the point where a holistic veterinarian will have the advantage over the conventional veterinarian.

Rescue Remedy to help with stress, behavior modification, homeopathic remedies and improved nutrition are all methods to keep Marley healthy. See our page on alternative medicine for dogs for more information.

You might want to seek the help of a holistic veterinarian for a more in-depth work up and to try to prevent any more gastro-enteritis attacks from occurring. Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Vomiting,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Vomiting Section

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