Why Is My Puppy Vomiting?

Bringing home a new puppy and becoming a puppy parent is a thrill that I encourage everyone to experience at least once in their lives. There’s something special about puppies that brings out the best in humans, igniting our maternal or paternal instincts like few other creatures (besides a baby) can.

Of course, as fun, exciting, and satisfying as it is to raise a puppy and teach them about the world, watching them suffer from a sickness, disease, or condition can be horrible. A puppy that’s sick or hurt is one of the most pathetic and sad things on earth for many people. That’s why, as a new puppy parent, knowing how to prevent your puppy from getting sick is essential.

Even more essential than how to help a sick puppy is to know what’s making them sick in the first place. Your vet can help, of course, but if it’s the middle of the night, weekend, or there’s no vet around to help, knowing what to do with a sick puppy is critical to their health and welfare.

That’s even more true if your puppy starts acting strangely or showing signs of distress out of the blue. Crying out in pain, for example, refusing to eat, drooling profusely, and many other signs point to something being wrong with your precious pup, some of which might be life-threatening. (Not all, but some.)

I talked about this subject the other day with a friend whose puppy was sick. It was his first time being a puppy parent, and he was completely beside himself watching his puppy vomit, convulse and cry out in pain. His question to me was one I frequently get from readers like you: why is my puppy vomiting?

This particular puppy-related question has a relatively extensive number of answers. For example, a puppy might vomit because they ate something they shouldn’t, and it didn’t sit right in their stomach. Several other situations and conditions can cause a puppy to vomit, and knowing all of them is your job as their fur-less parent.

If you’re interested in knowing why your puppy is vomiting and what to do if they are, read on. I’ve collected practically all of the possible reasons below to help you help your pupper when they’re sick. If you dread the thought of watching your furry new friend suffer, the information and advice below will go far towards putting that fear out of your head.

Different Reasons a Puppy might Vomit

There are more than a couple of reasons why a puppy would start and continue to vomit. Some are relatively benign, while others are more serious. Knowing the difference between the two is essential so that, first off, you don’t freak out unnecessarily, and secondly, you can seek a veterinarian’s assistance if necessary. I’ll go into all of them below, separated into categories of severity. 

Non-Severe Causes of Vomiting in a Puppy

  • Eating their food much too quickly. In their excitement to eat, many puppies gobble their food so fast their stomach can’t handle it. Eating fast has the unwelcome effect of causing them to vomit. Once they’ve puked everything back up, they will quickly get back to normal, hopefully having learned a valuable lesson about eating too quickly.
  •  An abrupt change from one dog food to another. If your puppy is used to eating one type of kibble, abruptly changing to another can sometimes cause a reaction in their stomach that, in turn, causes them to vomit. As with eating food too quickly, things will typically get back to normal quickly after everything comes back up.
  • Human food that upsets their stomach. There’s no denying that feeding a puppy “human”  food is not a good idea. The occasional snack, maybe, but if you often feed them table scraps, the chance they will vomit is significantly higher. The best way to avoid it is only to feed your puppy high-quality and nutritious puppy chow and other foods specifically designed for puppies.

Moderately Severe Causes of Vomiting in a Puppy

  • Any food that causes severe inflammation or infection in their GI tract. Some puppies and dogs react differently to different foods, and if they react with a severe inflammatory response, it can cause vomiting. Noting which foods they have eaten and keeping those foods away from your puppy is the best prevention.
  • Allergies. Like humans, some puppies and dogs have allergies caused by certain foods. If eaten, those foods can often cause your puppy to vomit. Prevention entails determining what that food is and not feeding it to them in the future.
  •  A reaction to stress or anxiety can cause a puppy to vomit. Not exposing your pupper to stressful or anxious situations is the best way to prevent that from happening.
  • Heat stress can often cause a puppy to vomit. If it happens, getting your pup out of the sun as quickly as possible is essential. Also, ensuring they have plenty of water on hot days is vital.

Severe Causes of Vomiting in a Puppy

  • Bacterial and viral inflammation in your puppy’s stomach or intestines can cause them to vomit.
  • Vomiting is often seen if your puppy has parasites, including roundworms, whipworms, and other nasty critters.
  • Endocrine disease, which is rather uncommon,  can cause your puppy to vomit.
  • If your puppy eats something toxic, their body will often vomit that substance back up in an innate response to save them. (Especially plants.)
  • Cancerous tumors can sometimes cause a puppy to vomit. Luckily, cancer is very rare in puppies.
  • Stomach torsion, which deep-chested dogs often have, can cause them to vomit.
  • Kidney, liver, and other metabolic disorders can often cause vomiting in puppies. Thankfully, they are quite rare.

When Should I be Worried about my Puppy Vomiting? 

If this is your first time as a puppy parent, you might not realize that there are different types of vomiting. Depending on which type your puppy is experiencing, you will typically have two choices; clean it up and give them some water or call your veterinarian. The examples below are the most severe types of vomiting and will, in most cases, require that you call a veterinarian for help, including:

  • Projectile vomiting. This type of vomiting is where your puppy vomits so hard it spews out like a fountain.
  • The so-called dry heaves, where your puppy makes vomiting gestures and noises, but nothing is coming out.
  • If you can’t figure out what’s causing your puppy to vomit, like they’ve eaten too quickly, you’ve changed their puppy food, etc.
  • If they vomit multiple times a day. 
  • If the vomit coming out of their mouth is black-ish and color.

How to Determine What’s Causing Your Puppy to Vomit

Determining what’s causing your puppy to vomit takes a little bit of Sherlock Holmes-type skill. In other words, you’re going to have to search for clues. Those clues can give you the information you need to decide whether or not to ride the vomiting out with your pup or call a veterinarian for help.

For example, is there anything missing in your home they might have eaten? Animal bones, chocolate wrappers, corn cobs, corks, needles, squeaky toys, and other small objects can get lodged in your puppy’s stomach or intestines, causing an obstruction and, in turn, causing vomiting.

You should also check anywhere your puppy had access, including mudrooms, laundry rooms, the garage, etc. The thing is, puppies don’t know the difference between toxic chemicals and things that are okay to eat. 

Antifreeze, rat poison, household cleaners, and other chemicals can cause severe reactions in your furry friend, including vomiting. Toxic plants can do the same so make sure to check and see if any of your plants look like your puppy has chewed on them.

Lastly, if you have children at home, question them about anything they might have given to your puppy. Not knowing any better, it’s possible they gave your puppy chocolate, pretzels, nuts, and other foods that can cause vomiting in puppies even though they’re not toxic to humans.

Final Thoughts 

The question “why is my puppy vomiting?” is not one I enjoy reading or hearing for obvious reasons.  The good news is that most puppies vomit when they do silly things like eating too fast or eating foods that don’t sit well in their stomach. Yes, several other conditions can cause your puppy to vomit, but they’re relatively unlikely and uncommon.

I hope today’s blog has set some of your fears aside and given you the information you need so that if your puppy does vomit in the future, you’ll know what to do. 

If you have more questions or would like to learn more about how to care for a puppy, please see my other blogs. I fill them as much as possible with excellent information, data, and advice to give you, their new puppy parent, the tools you need to raise a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted dog.