Why Does My Pet Throw Up?

There are a few reasons your dog or cat may vomit.

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Author: Christin Sander, Health Writer

The most common reasons for vomiting in pets is poor diet, overeating, food allergies and GI distress. Vomiting can also be a sign of illness, but is usually accompanied with other symptoms. If you have a pet that vomits regularly without other symptoms, it is likely due to a problem with the pet's diet that is causing inflammation or chronic gastrointestinal upset or distress.

Many commercial pet foods are produced using low quality ingredients. Most proteins used in commercial pet food are not fit for human consumption. They often consist of slaughterhouse leftovers like feathers, hooves, beaks and other items that are technically considered protein, but may be difficult for your pet's body to digest.

Other times, pets suffer intermittent vomiting over extended periods of time. This can be due to hidden food allergies that develop when a pet is fed the same food repeatedly. Cats are especially prone to periodic bouts of vomiting due to grooming and hairballs. If your pet is in healthy weight range with a normal energy level, but still vomits periodically, food allergies are the most likely culprit. Cats in particular are prone to developing allergies when they are fed the same protein over time and their protein source should be switched frequently to avoid this problem.

If your pet throws up but doesn't display any other symptoms that indicate illness, you can soothe his stomach with a 12 to 24 hour fast followed by a bland food diet of rice and white meat chicken with bone and skin removed. Kittens and puppies should not fast for longer than four hours. A bland diet should be offered in small amounts a few times per day until he feels better. As your pet shows improvement, gradually reintroduce a regular diet.

If your pet vomits again after introducing regular foods, contact a veterinarian. Your veterinarian will perform an exam or tests to determine the cause of the vomiting and may prescribe dietary changes, antibiotics, or antiemetics to control vomiting.

Vomiting can be a sign of serious illness if it comes on suddenly, reoccurs frequently or doesn't resolve itself within 24 hours. If your pet becomes lethargic, develops a fever, appears to be in pain or has a sudden, distended belly, a vet should be called right away. Diarrhea with vomiting should be monitored closely. Dehydration can be dangerous and can happen quickly, especially in small pets, puppies or kittens. 

There are natural remedies that can support digestive health in your pets. Psylium husks are a natural source of fiber that support digestive health. They cleanse the colon and promote regular bowel movements. Licorice relaxes the bowels, supporting waste removal and healthy digestion. It soothes the entire lining of the digestive tract. Other herbs that soothe and improve the health of the digestive tract include marshmallow and slippery elm.

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