When to worry about regurgitation


Advertise with us

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/04/2022 (407 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

One of my favourite memes depicts a dog 911 operator answering a call and saying: “OK, so you just threw up. Did you try eating it again real quick before someone could clean it up?”

Dogs can have digestive upset, just like we do. Considering what they try to eat, the surprising thing isn’t that they do vomit but how infrequently they do. In most cases, it’s not something we need to worry about. But there are times we should make sure everything is OK.

My best advice is always: “If you think it needs a vet visit, go to the vet.”

Many pets have sensitive stomachs but you can aid their digestion by making adjustments to what, when and how they eat.
Many pets have sensitive stomachs but you can aid their digestion by making adjustments to what, when and how they eat.

No dog was ever hurt by owners being overly cautious and seeking vet care proactively.

Some dogs have iron stomachs and can eat week-old roadkill without so much as a rumble. Others just look at a problem food and vomit. Knowing your animal and what is normal for them will help your decision-making process. That said, if your pet ever has blood in its vomit or diarrhea, or displays lethargy as an associated symptom, get to the vet immediately, especially if it is a puppy.

There are many kinds of vomiting episodes. From bile-only “hunger pukes” to “can’t keep anything down” regurgitations, each has its own trigger and many have simple remedies.

Most of the time, a key factor is what you feed, and when. Bile produced during the night or in the morning before feeding can be a function of when your pet was last fed. In some cases, if the belly is empty too long, it can become irritated. Simply giving the dog a small meal before bed can change everything. Not treats, as they can be too rich and cause other upset but, rather, a small portion of their everyday food.

Many dogs will need an acid reducer, either by prescription or an over-the-counter remedy, recommended by their vets. Most of these are simple, safe and effective.

Changing diet is another way to change digestion, and sometimes that is the best way of addressing the issue. If regurgitation happens directly after eating, it can be a food sensitivity or a reaction to the texture of the food. If the animal has a sensitivity to a protein, it can trigger a reaction. There are many products based on unique proteins, such as kangaroo or rabbit, or which do not contain grains or other ingredients known to be reactive.

Size and type of kibble, and temperature or coarseness of grind in a raw food, can also cause reactions. Even how the food is offered can create an issue. Raised dishes and slow-feeder bowls are sometimes all that is needed to correct a problem. If you have recently changed these, try changing back to see if that helps.

Gut health can also be improved through the use of probiotics. Many dry foods add these, but usually not in very high levels, and they might not survive the full “best before” life. Raw, freeze dried and canned foods rarely have probiotics added. Supplements are available, either in powder form or in the way of yogurt type products (I like raw goat milk kefir). Beware of human yogurts, as many contain sweeteners that can be dangerous to our pets, as well as dairy that may cause reactions. That’s why goat is such a great option. Prebiotics are also important, things like pumpkin, psyllium or larch can also improve gut health.

Again, if your pet’s tummy issues are accompanied by lethargy or blood, see your vet right away. If they are a one-off, it might just be that dead bird they found at the dog park. But if the issues are chronic, it’s well worth the time and effort to find out what is causing the issue, and putting procedures in place to correct it. Such action makes for a happier pet – and cleaner floors.

Jeff McFarlane

Jeff McFarlane
Pets Are People, Too

Jeff McFarlane is the owner of Thrive Pet Food Market. Contact him with your questions or ideas thrivepetfoodmarket@shaw.ca or visit www.thrivepetfoodmarket.com

Report Error Submit a Tip


Advertise With Us