dog sleeps after vomiting from gastro

Why is My Dog Vomiting… is it Gastro?


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Right from the start puppies poop, pee and regurgitate, and most of the time it’s harmless. But what happens if your dog is vomiting and pooping too much? How can you tell when it’s no longer the usual ins and outs and has instead progressed to becoming gastro in dogs (aka canine gastroenteritis)?

When you look at the statistics you realise how important this question is. Gastro was among PD Insurance’s top five types of pet insurance claims in 2021.

This tells us that gastro isn’t just common, it’s also pretty serious and pets can easily end up going to the vet in need of proper treatment. In other words if your dog is pooping or vomiting in a way that seems severe or ongoing, they may need a helping hand to put their best paw forward.

Why is my dog vomiting (and more)?

Gastro in dogs isn’t very nice. It’s the inflammation of your poor pup’s stomach and intestines. Just this week alone, our payouts for customers’ gastro claims ranged between $1,124 and $1,714. As these figures indicate, it can be stressful and costly to remedy if your dog has it.

This sneaky illness can take on many forms, from standalone vomiting or diarrhoea to vomiting and diarrhoea combined. Dog vomiting on its own is less likely. This is called gastritis as it generally affects only the stomach.

women wonders why her dog is vomiting and comforts it

Acute vs chronic gastro in dogs

As you can well imagine these facts on their own are bad enough. But unfortunately there’s more to the story – gastro in dogs can either be acute or chronic.

Acute gastroenteritis. This comes on suddenly and will usually, but not always, get better on its own. Sometimes though it gets worse without vet treatment.

Chronic gastroenteritis. This can continue over longer periods spanning weeks, months or even years.

Haemorrhagic gastroenteritis in dogs

If your dog has sudden and acute gastroenteritis with a bloody stool, this is specifically called haemorrhagic gastroenteritis or HGE.

Haemorrhagic gastroenteritis is a serious form of gastro in dogs that can be fatal and needs vet treatment right away. Even though it can happen to any dog, it’s more common in certain breeds at certain times of life. Watch this video to understand the scope of the condition:

Why is my dog vomiting yellow stuff?

As we have mentioned, the most basic noticeable indication of gastro in dogs is vomiting and diarrhoea. Then there are symptoms that often accompany these, including:

  • Dry heaving or gagging
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy (this may be due to stomach pain or not eating)

A word of caution, don’t read this next sentence if you’re eating or squeamish… Due to lack of appetite and not eating, once your dog starts vomiting and emptied their tummy, all that’s left is bile. Bile is a foamy yellow liquid that’s basically stomach acid.

If you’ve ever googled (as many have) ‘why is my dog vomiting yellow‘, herein lies the answer.

What causes gastro in dogs?

If your dog experiences vomiting, diarrhoea and the accompanying nausea it’s very possibly a viral gastroenteritis infection, or “stomach flu”. This type of gastro is caused by viruses but other things can also cause gastro. Gastroenteritis can in fact occur for several reasons, including:

You’ll notice some of these causes are more severe than others. In some instances serious underlying conditions like cancer or kidney failure can bring on cause your dog to vomit and have diarrhoea. That’s why until you’re sure of the cause a visit to the vet can be a lifesaver.

Also read why dogs eat grass (hint: it’s mostly harmless but can sometimes be related to gastro).

dogs with gastro sometimes eat grass to help ease their stomach ache

How to treat gastro in dogs 

Because gastro in dogs isn’t one of those tummy bugs that has one possible root cause, there are of necessity several treatments. The treatment needs to be based on the cause, which needs to be assessed case by case.

Ask a vet

If your dog is vomiting and/or has diarrhoea and it’s been going on for a couple of days ask your vet do a physical examination to decide on the best course of action. Your vet will be able to assess your dog’s case with the proper medical knowledge and training.

Food and medication

Depending on what’s at the bottom of the problem the solution may be something like not feeding your pup for 24 hours as their tummy (ahem, gastrointestinal tract) settles down. Your vet might also suggest switching medications if your dog is taking any or a change to their diet.


if your dog is vomiting or having diarrhoea then dehydration is the watchword. Dehydration is common with gastro in dogs. If your pet is dehydrated then your vet may feed them fluids via an intravenous drip to set them back on course towards being fully mended.

Medical care

If the condition is severe your vet may even need to keep your dog at the clinic to help them recover. In such a case you and your vet will need to discuss how you can take over the caring process once you bring Rover back home.

gastro in dogs is affecting this pup

Preventing dog vomiting and gastro

Even though there’s no sure-fire way to prevent gastro in pets, there are some ways to make it less likely to happen. Nutrition is a massive part of gut health. As humans, we’ve all heard about eating healthy food for a healthy stomach and gastrointestinal tract and it’s pretty much the same for our best friends too.

Vets often find that the very cause of gastro in dogs is just a poor quality of diet that contains ingredients your dog shouldn’t be eating. But getting the basics right is easy once you know how. Just like you or I can add yoghurt and fresh greens to our diet, read about dog gut health for the canine equivalents.

Your vet will probably recommend quality food that’s high in digestible fibre and low in fat. Pet proofing your home so your pets can’t eat things they shouldn’t is a good step too. As is regular parasite and worming treatment as well as pet vaccinations.

Protect your pet and your pocket

While you’re busy protecting your pet, protect your pocket at the same time. Getting a pet insurance plan will help cover non-routine vet visits, surgery, hospital stays, prescription medication and much much more!

If you discover your pet has a lifelong condition after you already have pet insurance and your waiting periods are done, your insurance can help cover the costs. That’s why it’s good to get your pet’s plan sooner than later. You get one or more months of free pet insurance when you sign up with PD Insurance, so why wait a moment longer.

Click below to start your pet’s plan today.

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