By Dr. Andrew Jones
If your dog or cat is vomiting, you are wondering a few things. Is this serious? Is there anything safe that I can give my dog or cat to stop the vomiting now? In this article I’ll go into the detailed signs, and most common causes of vomiting in our pets. You’ll see how to distinguish between vomiting and regurgitation, and then assess whether or not it’s OK to treat your pet at home, or go to the veterinarian. Lastly you’ll find the my most effective at home remedies.
The first sign in many pets is nausea (drooling, increased licking and swallowing), followed by the vomiting with retching and contractions of the stomach. Additional signs include: abdominal pain, decreased appetite, weakness and lethargy. Often the vomited contents are frothy, with a dark yellowish tinge of bile, and occasional specks of blood. This is an indication that the stomach is irritated (ie gastritis) secondary to something your pet has reacted to, such as garbage, a plant or veterinary medication.
Vomiting can be chronic, such as the cat which throws up hair balls once a week, or acute and occurring every few hours. In general, sudden or acute vomiting is more serious, and warrants a veterinary visit if it persists for more than a few hours.
The list is large, although the most common cause is garbage gut. Your pet consumes something he should not have, resulting in vomiting. Other causes include: medications, parasites, food allergies, liver or kidney disease, pancreatitis, cancer, infectious causes (parvovirus), metabolic disorders (thyroid disease or diabetes), physical obstructions (a ball or a bone), and primary motility disorders (the stomach doesn’t contract normally).
It is an important clinical distinction that most clients are not even aware of- differentiate between vomiting and regurgitation. Vomiting is active in which there is retching, gagging, and then your pet’s body throws up the stomach contents. Regurgitation on the other hand, is very passive. The food will sit in your pet’s esophagus until it passively comes out at some time.
Most pet owners think they are there one of the same. The most common cause of regurgitation in dogs is megaesophagus (enlarged esophagus). While occasional vomiting can be normal, frequent bouts of vomiting mean your pet should be seen by a veterinarian.
If your pet is vomiting persistently and unable to retain even water, wait no longer than 24 hours before you take your pet to your veterinarian. This indicates a severe problem such as an obstruction that needs to be treated with IV fluids and possibly surgery. If your pet is still drinking and only intermittently vomiting, you can try some of these home remedies.
A 24 hour fast is the most important thing you can do to allow your pet’s inflamed stomach to heal. Allow access to controlled amounts of water, but no food. After 24 hours offer bland food such as plain cooked white rice; give equivalent amounts of rice as you do dog or cat food. After 48 hours mix their regular food with rice and do not switch fully back to regular food until after 72 hours.
Drinking is important in vomiting pets, but in moderation. Do not let your dog lap up a huge bowl full of water all at once. Give it to her in smaller quantities spaced throughout the day. You can also offer ice cubes. This may encourage drinking in animals reluctant to drink. It is important to animal continues to drinking to avoid dehydration.
Peppermint Tea is an old remedy used for upset stomachs in people. Brew up a strong cup of tea, but allow it to cool before offering it. Give your dog 1/4 cup per 10 lbs of body weight three times daily, give your cat 1 tablespoon three times daily.
Ginger is a tasty addition to a curry, and it is also effective for vomiting. The dried herb dose is 25 mg per lb of body weight or 1 drop per lb twice daily of the tincture. Ginger Tea is another option; peel inch section of ginger root, cut into small slices, and boil in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes. Give your dog or cat 1 teaspoon per 10lbs twice daily.
An easy way to treat hairballs and vomiting in cats is by using petroleum jelly (Vaseline). Place 1/4 inch in his mouth. If he is uncooperative, then you can place it on his front paws. Use twice daily for 5 days. Tastier versions are available from pet supply stores, such as Felaxin and Laxatone. These are flavored with added nutrients to make the petroleum jelly go down easier.
One homeopathic in particular has helped my pets, along with countless of other clients dogs and cats. It is called Arsenicum, and it is the major remedy for Garbage Gut and food poisoning. Dose 30C every 2 hours for 1- 2 days.
For dogs and cats with chronic vomiting, I strongly recommend a diet change. Preferably switch to a hypoallergenic food or homemade allergy diet. At the very least, change to a premium quality food. I find that some pets respond to a more natural diet, such as Innova or California Natural.
Now you should have a good understanding of the common signs and causes of dog and cat vomiting. You should be able to distinguish between vomiting and regurgitation, deciding if it is an active or passive motion. If your pet is only intermittently vomiting, and able to keep some water down, then you can consider treating them at home. Some of the more important remedies include the 24 hour fast, peppermint tea, ginger, petroleum jelly and the homeopathic Arsenicum.
Heal Your Pet At Home!
Dr Andrew Jones, DVM
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