When you see your kitty or pup is throwing up, it’s natural to feel concerned. In fact, vomiting is one of the most common reasons pet owners take their pets in for emergency care. Costly emergency care is not always necessary. Read on to learn more things you can do to care for your pet at home, as well as signs that it is time to take a trip to the vet.
There are many things that can cause your pet to vomit, from gastroenteritis (an upset tummy) to more severe conditions such as pancreatitis, organ failure and cancer. If your pet vomits continuously, becomes lethargic, is vomiting blood or develops diarrhea as well, you should take them to the vet as these may be signs of a more serious condition. For simple cases of stomach upset, follow our guide to home care.
If your pet isn’t feeling well and starts to vomit, be as comforting as you can. Don’t get mad or frustrated as this type of reaction will not help your pet to feel better. Some pets will actually ask to go outside when they are feeling sick, and you should definitely allow them to do so. Sick dogs will often eat grass as a natural way of soothing their stomachs, and you won’t have to scrub puppy vomit out of your carpet. If your pet stays inside, encourage them to be sick in an area that is easier for you to clean, such as a bathroom with tile floors.
Just like when we are feeling ill and want to give our stomachs a rest, your pet will probably not want to eat anything for a little while. Refrain from giving them more food, but NEVER limit access to water. It is very important for your pet to stay hydrated when they aren’t feeling well. To encourage more fluid intake, you might want to add a little chicken broth to your pet’s water. Electrolyte fluids such as Pedialyte or Gatorade may also be given if dehydration is a concern, but their flavors tend to be less tempting for our furry friends. You might also consider an electrolyte solution made especially for pets.
When your pet has stopped vomiting for 6 to 12 hours, slowly start to give them small amounts of bland food. A little bit of plain boiled chicken and rice is a perfect meal to get your pet’s tummy back in shape. Only give your pet about ¼ the amount of food you normally give as a meal. Give dogs about half chicken and half rice. Cats need a little more protein so you should give them about a 3:1 ratio of chicken to rice. If your pet keeps their first little bit of food down for 4 hours, offer them another portion. If your little friend readily eats several meals in a row of this size, gradually transition them back to their normal food over a period of 1 to 3 days.
Most over-the-counter human medications are not safe for dogs and cats; avoid giving any type of pain medication or anti-inflammatory medication. Some gastro-protectant medications such as Pepcid and Zantac may be administered, but dosages vary substantially and should always be discussed with your veterinarian. If your pet’s tummy troubles persist, or if your pet presents any more serious symptoms, such as vomiting blood, lethargy or diarrhea, take them to the vet’s office as soon as you can. A veterinarian can diagnose a serious condition or can recommend a dietary supplement for dogs or cats with reoccurring digestive upset.