Puppies are constantly learning and exploring, often using taste as a way to understand their world. Their learning journey may occasionally involve eating something they shouldn’t or adapting to new foods. Your puppy may vomit occasionally, and it’s seldom cause for concern.
Here’s what pet parents need to know about vomiting in puppies and how to support their dogs when experiencing digestive distress.
Why Do Dogs Throw Up?
It can be a little gross when your dog throws up, but when you realize why your dog is throwing up, you may be a little more understanding. Dogs have very sensitive and alert digestive systems.
If your dog eats something they shouldn’t and their digestive system recognizes a potential threat, your dog’s body will induce vomiting as a natural instinct. Vomiting removes potentially problematic things from your dog’s body before they can cause more discomfort and distress as they pass through your dog’s body.
It’s better for your puppy to throw up soon after ingesting something that doesn’t agree with them than it is for the offending food, bug, or plant to reach your dog’s lower gut.
What’s Making My Puppy Throw Up?
If your puppy is throwing up, it’s usually easy to determine why. Identifying the cause will help you support your puppy through the situation and remedy their digestive upset.
Weaning and Acclimating
When you receive your puppy, they should already be completely weaned and independently eating solid food. If your puppy is still getting used to solid food, they’re too young to be away from their mother.
If your dog just had puppies and you’re helping them along until they’re ready to be adopted, you might notice that your puppies throw up or experience gastrointestinal distress during the weaning process.
To some extent, it’s normal for a puppy to experience some gastrointestinal distress during this transitional period. It should be short-lived, and it will resolve on its own as your puppy fully adapts to solid food. Make sure you use high-quality food specifically designed for puppies to reduce the potential for digestive upset.
A Change in Food
If you’ve ever looked at the back of a bag, can, or pouch of dog food, you might see instructions for transitioning your dog from a previous food to their new food. There’s a very important reason for that.
Your puppy craves routine. Dogs like to have predictable lives. Their minds and bodies adapt to their regular habits.
Switching up your dog’s food can change how their digestive system works until they adapt to new ingredients. Jumping from one brand of food to another may cause temporary digestive distress, including vomiting until your dog is used to the new food.
If you’re switching to higher-quality dog food, specialty formula dog food, or from puppy to adult dog food, slowly combine small amounts of the new food with their old food until you’ve fully transitioned to the new food. This will help your puppy’s digestive system adapt to the new ingredients and reduce potential distress.
Eating Things They Found in the Yard
Puppies are curious. They may find out the hard way that grasshoppers don’t taste good or that certain plants in your yard put stress on their digestive system. If they eat something that doesn’t agree with them, they may throw it up soon after.
Avoid putting plants in your yard that may be toxic to dogs. If you must grow potentially toxic plants, plant them in an area where it wouldn’t be possible for your dog to reach them. Sectioning off an area of your yard with a fence or a special gate can keep your dog away from your garlic plants or violet flowers.
Getting Into the Trash
Your puppy has a very sensitive, curious nose that’s still learning to interpret the world. The trash can has a lot of interesting smells.
Unfortunately, those smells are usually the result of food that has spoiled or dinner scraps. If your puppy gets curious and eats from the trash, their body may reject their unorthodox choice of snack.
Switching to a trash can with a closed lid can solve the problem. Trash cans with lids attached to pedals are harder for dogs to navigate. Since the lids close completely, they lock in most of the scents from your garbage can that may make your dog curious.
Being Fed People Food
It’s hard to resist the urge to give your puppy a special treat. If you feel like your puppy is the new baby in your family, it might seem a little mean-spirited to enjoy food like chicken nuggets in front of them without offering them a bite. Consider what’s in your dog’s best interest.
Approximately 90 percent of your dog’s daily caloric intake should come from an appropriate amount of high-quality dog food. The other 10 percent can come from wholesome treats. Occasionally, certain “people food” items can make for a good treat.
A bite of unseasoned, roasted sweet potato, unseasoned cooked chicken, or a plain scrambled egg won’t hurt your puppy. Avoid feeding your dog seasoned, processed, or fried foods that can lead to digestive upset. Your puppy has a sensitive stomach. Oily or spicy foods can cause significant digestive discomfort.
The whole world is new to a puppy. They’re still learning how they fit in. An important part of that discovery process is learning to distinguish friend from foe and a normal situation from a scary situation.
Your new puppy may need to get used to other animals, thunderstorms, car rides, and being left at home alone. It’s not too much different from helping a human toddler through a similar situation. Time, guidance, and support will make it easier for puppies to adapt to normal situations that may feel confusing or overwhelming at first.
Situations like vet visits, grooming, fireworks, car rides, and thunderstorms can be unavoidable. Your puppy might hear sounds or see the car and feel fearful of the situation. Once your puppy reaches 6 months, CBD + CBDA can provide mood support and help your dog calm enough to manage the stressful situation and with time understand that it is safe. ElleVet’s Calm and Comfort is ideal for these specific situations, although daily use is rarely warranted with a puppy.
ElleVet Sciences CBDA is specifically formulated for pets. It won’t make your puppy drowsy. They’ll feel like themselves — just a little bit calmer.
When Should I Worry About My Puppy Throwing Up?
Monitor your puppy after they throw up. A short observation period will give you the insight you need to determine if there’s any cause for concern. In most cases, your puppy will throw up once and carry on like normal.
If they exhibit other symptoms, it’s time to call your veterinarian.
- Frequent vomiting
- Vomiting in conjunction with diarrhea
- Swelling of the face, mouth, or gums
- Presence of a wound that may be infected
- Your puppy feels very warm to the touch
- Excessive panting
What Should I Do After My Puppy Throws Up?
If your puppy has an upset stomach, withhold food and water for about two hours. Attempting to eat or drink may cause them to vomit again. Begin by offering your puppy a small amount of fresh room-temperature water. Wait about half an hour to see if your puppy is able to hold it down.
If room temperature water doesn’t seem to be upsetting your puppy’s stomach, you can offer your puppy some bland food. Plain white rice and plain cooked chicken prepared without any seasonings, butter, or oil will be easy for your puppy to digest. If your puppy is unable to hold down food or water, call your veterinarian immediately as puppies can become dehydrated and hypoglycemic very quickly.
If your puppy is disinterested in bland food or has recently weaned, a few tablespoons of low-sodium chicken broth can make their bland food smell more enticing while adding some extra moisture.
Wait a few hours to see what happens. If your puppy seems to be tolerating food well, you can return to feeding them dog food you know they tolerate. If you recently tried a new food before your puppy began vomiting, don’t use that food again. It may have contributed to their digestive upset. Go back to their tried and true favorite brand.
Should I Induce Vomiting in My Puppy?
Don’t induce vomiting if your puppy eats something that can potentially harm them. The internet is full of dubious tips, and poor advice can seriously harm your puppy’s health.
Call your veterinarian before taking action if you believe your puppy ingested something dangerous. You can also call the ASPCA poison control hotline for advice. Your veterinarian will give you specific instructions for your situation, which may involve bringing your puppy in for an emergency visit.
Will My Puppy Stop Throwing Up When They Age?
Puppies have very small bodies and very sensitive stomachs. They’re slightly more prone to vomiting when they ingest something that doesn’t agree with them.
Adult dogs still have sensitive stomachs, but they may be able to handle digestive upset a little better. Overall, it’s normal for dogs to throw up at any age.
In Conclusion: It’s Normal for Puppies To Throw Up Sometimes
Occasional vomiting in puppies is rarely a cause for concern. Be mindful of what you feed your puppy, provide them with mood support in distressing situations, and puppy-proof your home and yard to prevent accidental exposure to things your puppy shouldn’t eat or drink.
Your puppy may continue to occasionally vomit even after they grow up to be a healthy adult dog. It’s a sign that your dog’s digestive system appropriately responds when it detects something that shouldn’t be there. However, when in doubt, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA poison control hotline.