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4 Proven Vet Tips to Help a Dog who Vomits and Has Diarrhea

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In our veterinarian clinic, it is typical for me to see at least 2 to 3 owners each day whose dog is vomiting or has diarrhea. Vomiting and diarrhea are very common reasons that your dog may need to see a vet.

At some time during your dog’s life they will get sick, vomit and have diarrhea. Many times this is because your dog ate something that they should not have. This leads to gastroenteritis or pancreatitis.  

Typical symptoms

If your dog is vomiting and having diarrhea you may notice some of these symptoms:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Straining to poop

The most frequent causes of vomiting and diarrhea in dogs

A retrospective study in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine found that the most common cause of chronic diarrhea in dogs were due to dogs eating things that they should not.

These are some other reasons that your dog may be vomiting or having diarrhea:

  • Gastroenteritis: gastroenteritis is an infection in your dogs intestines. This can be cause by a bacterial overgrowth leading to inflammation and vomiting and diarrhea. You can try some of the tips and tricks below to help with mild cases at home.
  • Pancreatitis: Dogs who eat fatty foods or human foods can develop pancreatitis. This is an inflammation of the pancreas. This often causes your dog to vomit, have diarrhea and be very painful in their abdomen.
  • Foreign body Obstruction: Puppy are known for eating things that they should not. This includes socks, underwear and toys. Many times these are too big to pass thorough your dog’s intestines. If they get stuck along the way through your dog may start vomiting and having diarrhea.
  • Parvo Virus: In puppies who have not been vaccinated, parvo virus is very common. These dogs has bloody diarrhea and will vomit. Without treatment many of these puppies will die. If your puppy is having bloody diarrhea, it would be best to see your vet right away for a parvo test and treatment.

4 proven tips for when your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea

If your dog is vomiting and having diarrhea, these are some things that you can do at home to help treat this.

1. Withhold food for 6 hours: If your dog ate something that they should not have ate, often withholding food for 6 hours will allow their stomach to calm down.

2. Offer a bland diet: Many dogs are vomiting and having diarrhea because they ate food that did not settle with their stomach. Offering them a bland diet for a few days will help calm their stomachs. This bland diet will be very easy to digest and usually consists of boiled chicken, white rice and a scrambled egg.

3. Offer over the counter medications: In mild vomiting and diarrhea cases you can offer over the counter medications. Things such as Immodium or Pepto are generally safe to give to your dog to help calm their stomach and stop them from having diarrhea:

Please note that you should always consult with your veterinarian before giving any new medication to your dog.

4. Give your dog probiotics: Most gastrointestinal diseases can cause an overgrowth of bad bacteria. Probiotics will replace the good bacteria that is found in your dog’s intestine and may stop their diarrhea and vomiting.

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WATCH: 3 Important Tips To Care For an Old Dog [VET VIDEO]


When to visit your veterinarian

Many times when your dog is vomiting and having diarrhea you may wonder if this can be treated with just at home treatments or is this an emergency that should see my vet right away. This is an easy way to determine how urgent your pet needs to see your vet.

Signs you can treat your dog at home first: When your dog is still active and has only had one episode of vomiting or diarrhea you can try at home treatment first.

Signs you need to see a vet (office hours): If your dog continues to vomit and has diarrhea for more than 1 day or more than 5 times in 12 hours your dog needs to go see their vet. If your dog is still active and still interested in eat and drinking this can often wait until office hours

Signs you need to go to vet emergencies: Sometimes vomiting and diarrhea can be an emergancy. These are some signs that you need to go to the emergancy vet right away:

  • Vomiting for more than 24 hours
  • Vomting or having diarrhe more than 5 times in one day
  • Bloody vomit or diarrhea
  • Pale or blue gums
  • Extermely lethargic and unresponsive

These cases will need quick medical intervention by your veterinarian for your dog to fully recover.

Veterinary treatment of vomiting and diarrhea

Depending on how severe your dog’s symptoms are, your vet will preform a physical exam, run bloodwork, take x-rays or ultrasound, check a fecal sample for parasites or run other test.

What is the prognosis for gastroenteritis?  

Dogs with gastroenteritis will often quickly recover with medication. If your dog is severely dehydrated, they will need to stay in the veterinary hospital on IV fluids for them to recover. Many dogs with gastroenteritis may also have other issues that would make their prognosis not as good.

Cost of treatments for vomiting and diarrhea

The cost of treatment will varry depending on where you live and if your dog is at the emergany vet or your regular vet office. For testing and at home treatment you can expect to spend $400 to $500 where if they need to stay over night in intesive care or had to see the emergancy vet expect to pay $1500+ for their care.

You can ask your vet for a breakdown of cost and an estimate of their overall stay before proceeding with treatment. Many vet office have payment options to help with medical expenses.

More tips to prevent diarrhea and vomiting from re-occuring

Many times vomiting and diarrhea can easily be prevented. These are a few things that can help prevent vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.

  1. Do not feed table scraps.
  2. Make sure your dog cannot get into any chemicals.
  3. Take away any toys that your dog destroys.
  4. Make sure your dog is fully vaccinated before taking them to dog parks.
  5. Make sure your dog is dewormed frequently.
  6. Slowly change foods over 3 to 5 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

What medicine can I give my dog for vomiting and diarrhea?

There are not many over the counter medications but you can give your dog Imodium or Pepto Bismol for vomoting and diarrhea. Before starting any new medications it is best to talk to your vet. They can also give you the proper dosage for your dogs size.

For Immodium a good dosage to follow is:

  • Small dogs (Under 25 pounds): 1/4th tablets a day
  • Medium dogs (30 to 60 pounds): ½ tablet a day
  • Large dogs (over 80 pounds): 1 tablet a day

How do you treat a senior dog for diarrhea and vomiting?

Older dogs who are vomiting and having diarrhea you need to monitor very closely. For certain types of cancer vomiting and diarrhea are the first signs that you may notice. These dogs also do not recover as quickly from these issues and may need to see your vet sooner to help them fully recover.

How do you treat a puppy for diarrhea and vomiting?

Puppies are known for eating things, having parvo virus and parasites. These three things can all cause your puppy to vomit and have diarrhea. Puppies are more susceptible to disease and do not recover as quickly as adult dogs since their immune system is not as developed. If your puppy continues to vomit and has diarrhea, especially bloody diarrhea, it is best for your puppy to see your vet.

Disclaimer: This website's content is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your local veterinarian for health decisions. Learn more.

3 examples of dogs vomiting and having diarrhea (with vet diagnosis)

Example 1: My dog has has thrown up about once a day for the past 2 days. He now has diarrhea, but is drinking, eating and acting normal. What does this mean and what should I do?

Vet answer: Some dogs will have mild Gastrointestinal issues and only cause them to vomit once a day. It would be best to offer them a bland diet for a few day to see if this helps. As longs as your dog is eating, drinking and acting normal, you can monitor them at home for signs of improvement.

Example 2:  My 2-year old lab had diarrhea yesterday but normal poop today. Today he started having diarrhea again and also vomited once. What does this mean and what should I do?

Vet answer: Many young labs are known for eating things that they should not such as socks and toys. A bland diet and probiotics will help calm his stomach. If he continues vomiting, it would be best that your vet takes an x-ray to make sure that there is not a blockage causing these issues.

Example 3: My 10 week old puppy is vomiting and having bloody diarrhea. His is still interested in food and water. What does this mean and what should I do?

Vet answer: This could be parvo virus that is causing your puppy to be sick. Make sure that your puppy stays fully hydrated and offer them a bland diet. Parasites can also cause puppies to have bloody stool so having your puppy dewormed to get rid of any parasites can help firm up their stool.

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Author

  • Dr. Ochoa earned her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from St. George University and completed her program with excellent scores. She has been working as a veterinarian since 2015 for Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital in Whitehouse, TX.

Disclaimer: This website's content is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action. Read More.

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