Why does my dog gulp water then throw up?

You take your dogs on a long walk, get back to the house and they run right into the kitchen to get some water. They gulp the water bowl clean, drooling water from their mouths. stopping to catch their breath, and immediately throw up all the water they drank.

This has turned into a regular event after every long walk. You wonder is this common or are my dogs just weird or worse, sick?

Rest assured your dogs are normal and this is actually pretty common.

Is your dog regurgitating, or are they vomiting?

Vomiting and regurgitating are two different bodily functions in dogs, due to their anatomy. 

Dogs can't control when they vomit, but they can control when they regurgitate. 

Yeah that little terrier maybe regurgitating to get your attention…

Dogs have a voluntary muscle in their esophagus in their gullet, that they can control. Whereas, humans  internal muscles are used in response to our autonomic nervous system.  

Dogs, on the other hand can control the muscle of their esophagus.

This means that dogs can decide, 'I'm going to regurgitate my water or food,' and they can do this easily.

Regurgitation occurs when a dog empties the contents of their esophagus after not swallowing properly.

Vomiting is an involuntary muscle response controlled by the central nervous system.  Vomiting happens when a dog empties the contents of their stomach after not digesting properly.

Sometimes a dog may drink too fast. 

This can stimulate the dog’s gag reflex, causing it throw up the water it just drank.

Hot weather or strenuous exercise or both can cause regurgitation.

So, How Do You Stop A Dog From Regurgitating Water or Food?

Get your dog to drink slower is best way.

Now your wondering, how the hell do I do that?

Easier than you think, give your dog water in smaller amounts. Once they empty the smaller bowl, give your dog more water until it has satisfied its thirst.

Place a big chunk of ice in the water bowl. This will force the dog to drink around the object, causing it to drink slower.

Or before you leave the house for that log walk, filled the dog water bowl with ice cubes. As ice cubes melt slowly, drinking too fast magically stops as they have to drink around the ice cubes.

Why do dogs throw up so often?

Throwing up is one of the most common reasons dogs are taken to the veterinarian, in most cases, it's nothing to worry about and a result of their scavenging habits.. 

Dogs are natural scavengers, they've evolved to be very quick to eat something that they find.

That includes water. 

If a very thirsty dog gets from a long walk and eagerly gulps down a ton of water, their stomach will fill up faster than their body can handle it. 

Ice cold water increases the likelihood of their stomach contracting, which of course leads to regurgitation. 

What happens is their body automatically assesses what's in their stomach and makes a decision as to whether that's good or bad,

As a result, dogs are quick to vomit anything their body thinks could harm them, compared to some other animals.

Throwing up can mean other serious issues. If the vomiting occurs in-frequently, then it is usually not a cause for concern. If happens often, then it may be a sign of a more serious problem and you should contact a veterinarian to find the underlying cause.

Certain dog breeds are more prone to digestive issues

Certain breeds, particularly schnauzers, have naturally sensitive stomachs. 

Same with french bull dogs,  pugs, and any of the smushed-face breeds. 

If the water that your dog is throwing up has a yellow or green tinge, it's a telltale sign that their digestive tract isn't working at its best. 

The yellowish color comes from bile, the substance that breaks down food in the small intestine, and while it's not ideal for a dog to vomit bile, it happens regularly in dogs with naturally sensitive stomachs. 

If your dog is not a breed with a naturally sensitive stomach, and the water they're throwing up is clear, not yellow, this could instead indicate a thyroid issue or a kidney issue, both of which lead to excessive water consumption and vomiting. 

Consult your vet immediately if this is the case. A blood test will tell them about your dog's level of hydration, as well as some things like whether their internal organs are working properly, ranging from thyroid, liver and kidneys.

What OTC medications are safe to use for dog vomiting?

If you're can’t get to your vet  immediately, try over the counter Pepcid.

Pepcid is an antacid that is used to help settle your dog's stomach to stop the vomiting at home.  

Pepcid, (famotidine), is a pharmaceutical drug for humans, is perfectly safe for dogs, but you should consult you own vet before starting any treatment. 

Normally, this is given for four days, once a day, so if your dog is still vomiting after four days, definitely call your veterinarian and make an appointment.

You can also try changing your dogs diet for a few days to settle their stomach.  

Keeping your dog hydrated is important for overall health and joint health

Once dogs throw up water, they don't have enough water in their body to avoid dehydration, as a result. 

Dehydration is bad for dogs joint health. Dehydration can cause joint pain because of the lubricating effect it has on the joints. It’s estimated that 70 – 80% of joint cartilage consists of water. Synovial fluid is the thick lubrication located between the joints, giving our pets a cushion so the bones don’t come in contact.

Dehydration, can turn into a serious health issue. Pay attention to your dog's drinking habits, whether it's changing their water frequently, under-filling their bowl to avoid quick consumption, and of course seeking veterinary help if you think there's a bigger issue.

Bile

Bile is a fluid that is made and released by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Bile helps with digestion. It breaks down fats into fatty acids, which can be taken into the body by the digestive tract

How do you know if your dog is throwing up water or bile?

Bile is yellowish or greenish in color. 

Throwing up bile every once in a while is no big thing, but if it becomes a more frequent occurrence, definitely talk to your vet about it.

Stomach Acid

Bile and stomach acid are not the same things.

While the gallbladder stores bile, the stomach, of course, stores stomach acid.

You’ll know your dog vomited stomach acid because it smells incredibly strong.

Your dog is more likely to vomit stomach acid if he is sick and hasn’t eaten in a while, but his body still feels the need to purge.

Something may be stuck in or upsetting his digestive tract.

Or he could be suffering from one of a multitude of possible conditions, including but not limited to kidney failure, parasites, or a thyroid issue.

Just like with bile, if your dog vomits stomach acid once, it’s not really anything to worry about, but you should see your vet if it happens continuously.

Potential Causes of Vomiting in Dogs

Dogs can vomit for a variety of reasons, from an intestinal blockage to parasites to eating something they really should not have eaten.

Your dog may throw up because he is hungry, or because they are feeling stressed out.

Dogs may also throw up if they exercise right after eating or drinking.

Here are some less-common reasons why dogs may vomit, but that are still important to know about just in case.

Kidney or Liver Disease

The job of both the kidneys and the liver is to remove toxins from the dog’s body. If they fail to do this, then the toxins they don’t filter out of the dog’s system will ultimately make them sick.

Signs of liver disease can include lethargy, diarrhea, and a lack of appetite, and jaundice, which you can see as yellowing of the dog’s eyes or skin.

Signs of kidney disease can include depression, weight loss, and blood in the urine.

Stomach Ulcers

Dogs can get ulcers, just like their human parents do..

Dogs can get ulcers from such things as a poor diet, eating a chemical, or having a poor reaction to medications.

Other signs that you might be dealing with an ulcer include weight loss, blood in the vomit or stool, and abdominal pain, to name a few.

Pancreatitis

The main job of the pancreas is to aid in digestion and control the body’s sugar levels.

When a dog has pancreatitis, this can feel very painful.

In addition to vomiting, a dog with pancreatitis may also experience lethargy, diarrhea, a lack of appetite, and pain in the abdomen.

Stomach Tumor

In more severe cases, vomiting may also be a sign of a stomach tumor.

This is why it is important you take your dog to the vet if the vomiting doesn’t clear up, or if other symptoms accompany it.

Other signs your dog may have a stomach tumor include weight loss, a decrease in or total loss of appetite, and bloody vomit.

Checking the Vomit

It’s important to inspect your dog’s vomit to make sure there’s nothing in it that shouldn’t be there.

Some potential causes for concern that can appear in a dog’s vomit include:

  • Blood
  • Foam
  • Mucus
  • Foreign objects
  • Bile

If your dog did get into something he wasn’t supposed to eat, save the object, if you can, to show the vet.

Else, if the vomit is concerning, take a photo of it before you clean it up so you can present it to the vet when you bring him in.

Natural remedies that may help an upset stomach

When a dog has vomited, its stomach may be unusually sensitive to the foods it eats. In order to avoid further incidents, you can ease your dog back into a normal diet by serving a simpler diet.

Some foods that are good to serve after an upset stomach include the following.  You can find a more complete list here: What can I give my dog to settle their stomach

Rice

Rice is easy on the stomach and is commonly used to help a dogs stomach get back on track.

Simply boil white rice with a pinch of salt as you normally would. Let it cool and serve it a little bit at a time.Do not add any butter, fat or seasonings to the rice. 

If you like, mix it with a bit of chicken and green beans for additional flavor and texture to help settle their stomach..

Skinless boiled chicken

A bit of boiled chicken is a real treat. It can make a seemingly uninterested dog hungry.

Boil and shred the chicken. Let it cool. Then serve it either on its own or mixed with rice.

Do not add any spices as this can easily upset a dog’s stomach.

Sweet potato

Peel, cook and mash sweet potato. Do not add any spices. Let it cool and serve in small portions. Don’t overdo it.

Pumpkin

Similar to sweet potato, pumpkin can be used. Peel it and cook with no salt or other spices. Let it cool and serve in small quantities.

Bone broth

A simple broth can do wonders for your dogs stomach.

One of the best ways to settle and upset stomach and hydrate your dog is feeding them a bone broth. Making bone broth at home take up to 24 hours to make, Active Dawg offers a long shelf life powered, USDA Certified Organic chicken bone broth that contains probiotics and undenatured Type II collagen that helps settle and upset stomach and protects and repairs damaged collagen and joints. 

Make sure you do not serve hot broth to your dog, as it may burn your dogs mouth.

Do not give chicken bones to your dog as a treat.


When to call the Vet

Treat a vomiting dog like you would a vomiting child. If it is one time or rage occurrence, and your dog is acting fine, then you probably have nothing to worry about.

If your dogs behavior is off and the vomiting continues, then a vet visit is definitely needed.

Behavior is everything, and you know your dog best. If he is acting “weird,” this is a red flag for sure.

See your vet immediately if any of the following happen:

  • Your dog is a puppy (he can dehydrate or lose nutrients from vomiting in any instance) or, your dog is a senior or elderly dog.
  • Projectile vomiting can be a sign of an obstruction in their intestinal tract.
  • Your dog keeps trying to vomit, but nothing comes out, as this can be a sign of a potentially fatal condition known as bloat.
  • Vomits up blood, a foreign object, or anything else abnormal.
  • Refuses to eat or otherwise acts sick (lethargic and diarrhea).
  • Not urinating as much, as this may be a sign of dehydration.

You should definitely bring your dog to the vet if they can’t seem to hold anything down, including water.

Preventing Future Vomiting in Your Dog

If your dog has been regurgitating water, do not give them more water for about two hours after they last vomited.

Don’t get concerned that they’ll dehydrate, giving him more water may actually trigger their gag reflex and cause him to vomit again.

Wait two hours to give them any food as well.

When you do feed him, try something like rice, sweet potato, or skinless, boneless chicken breast or kibble coated with bone broth, which may entice them to eat.

Other ways to prevent your dog from vomiting again in the future include:

  • No sudden changes in their diet. If you have to change their diet, do so gradually.
  • Don’t give your dog table scraps, and don’t allow him to scrounge around the kitchen eating crumbs and who-knows-what-else from the floor that could make him sick.
  • Keep an eye on him during walks to make sure he isn’t eating grass, discarded food, or anything else that can make him sick, like standing water.

Allergies

Allergies can even make your dog vomit.

Dogs can become allergic to certain foods as well as certain drugs and even insect bites – just like people.

In addition to vomiting, your dog may also suffer from excessive licking, hair loss, asthma, swelling of the feet…the list goes on.

This is yet another reason to take your dog to the vet for consistent vomiting to determine the underlying cause.

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