How to Treat a Vomiting Dog – Is Starving them Really the Answer?

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Dogs get sick every day. But when does it become so severe that you have to see a vet? Thankfully, mild cases of vomiting are the most common and can be treated very easily at home with a bit of time and lots of love. There are a few things to consider when your dog is sick. **If your dog is vomiting to the point that he or she can’t stop, or if it has diarrhea or is shaking, take it to a vet – at least CALL a vet – it is an emergency!** As I assume that it is not a life-or-death situation, we’ll talk about how to treat a vomiting dog.

How to Treat a Vomiting Dog – Why Are They Sick?

There are so many different reasons why dogs vomit. While humans usually have a virus or have eaten something that has gone bad, dogs’ stomachs work a bit differently.

  • A regular tummy ache can cause vomiting, as well as diarrhea. Usually, a stomach ache will get better after a few hours. Your fur baby may want more attention from you, or he (or she) may want to be by herself for a while, waiting for the feeling to pass. Either way, never scold your sick dog. They can’t help it, as much as humans can’t. The worst thing that you can do is yell at them.
  • Many dogs are chewers. They chew on everything and anything that they can get their teeth on. Unfortunately, this leads to pieces of toys being chewed off and swallowed or even shards of wood or bones. (My best friend’s puppy decided that she loved the taste of their couch one day, and yes – she would sneak off and  nibble on the arms and legs, as well as the cushions 🙁 )

Unfortunately, when something like this happens as a pet parent, you should look at the vomit and make sure whatever they ate came out. It may very well come out of the other end as well. You might want to call your vet and let them know the situation; they may be able to give you additional advice on this one.

Other Reasons for Dog Vomiting


  • Worms are a widespread problem when it comes to dogs, especially puppies. There are a few different types of these parasites, and some of them do cause vomiting.
  • Remember getting those rounds of vaccines for your puppy? Or taking them to the vet for their ‘shots’ that, unfortunately, some people insist their dog doesn’t need… those vaccines protect your dog from very nasty illnesses like parvo or distemper. Suppose your dog is throwing up uncontrollably and may also have diarrhea or is becoming lethargic very quickly. In that case, there is a very good chance that they have one of these viruses, and it is crucial to get them to a vet or clinic as soon as possible.
  • Many dogs suffer from motion sickness. That nasty, queasy feeling that suddenly explodes. (Unless you have motion sickness, you’ll never understand… that’s the only way that I can describe it.)
  • Stress is very common in dogs. While some pups are so laid back that they don’t seem to care about much of anything, the majority of dogs suffer different stressors in their short lifetimes, and many of us never even realize it.
  • One of the most common reasons a dog gets sick is a fast diet change. I don’t mean like sneaking a piece of food under the table is going to make your pup sick (it might, so be careful). I mean, if you change the dog food that you regularly feed your dog. If you have to change their food, do it gradually.

An extreme change (a new food all at once) could make them very ill. If you have to change your dog’s diet, you should do it gradually. If you look at the bag or can, it will tell you how to do this safely.

Canine Vomiting Treatment

Although it can be a bit frightening at times, especially if you have never seen a dog get sick before, it is usually a one-time event. As soon as the unwanted stuff is out of their stomach, it will start to settle down. Let your dog eat grass if he wants it.

How to Treat a Vomiting DogI have often wondered why my dog ate grass (especially tall grass) before she would throw up. In my research, I have learned that the grass will often help protect their throat if they swallowed a bone or piece of plastic.

As my title asks, ‘Is starving your sick dog really the answer?’ It depends on why your dog is getting sick and how long it lasts. A good piece of advice is to take the food away for a day or two but keep clean water available at all times. I don’t think you should never really starve them. That’s just like the adage ‘starve the fever’ or ‘starve the flu’ in a human being. If the vomiting continues, your dog may start to get dehydrated, and that will lead to more problems.

How to Treat a Vomiting Dog – Food and Drink

In my years of parenting fur babies, I have always been told that rice and boiled chicken (unseasoned) are the best options. I would begin with just a little bit and see how it goes. Just a little bit at a time, making sure it settles in their stomach. Even when they’re feeling better, it’s best to stick with rice and chicken for a day or so.

Pumpkin is also recommended when you need to know how to treat a vomiting dog. I have mentioned pumpkin for sick dogs in other articles as well. This stuff is a super-food! I honestly can’t tell you why, but I CAN tell you that it saves a dog’s belly from many troubles. (Diarrhea and constipation, as well as vomiting.) I have always used canned pumpkin at room temperature, but some people use ‘real’ pumpkins – boiled until very soft and then pureed either in a blender or food processor.

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When Should You Call the Vet?


  • If this is the first time you have ever seen a sick dog, give your vet a call. They will probably offer some of the advice above, depending on the situation. *Usually* they will have you wait a day or two, as long as the vomiting isn’t intense. Make sure they stay hydrated and do not become lethargic. (Lethargic meaning they cannot or will not move or walk.)
  • Suppose you see black or red streaks. These streaks are probably blood. It could be internal bleeding caused by a trauma of some kind, or it could be something as simple as a piece of food or object going down your pup’s throat and scratching it. Either way, it’s blood, and you need to call the vet.
  • Sometimes a dog vomits so much that they start to ‘dry heave.’ Their stomach is trying to purge something that isn’t in there anymore, and it won’t stop. Give your vet a call.
  • If your dog has been throwing up for more than a day, please call a vet. I know a few people who won’t call a vet for much of anything. But vomiting in dogs can be caused by many different things, and it’s sometimes hard to tell.

If it is a case of a type of worms, the worms can (and will, if given enough time) eat every bit of nutrition out of your dog’s system.

If it is accompanied by fever, diarrhea, or lethargy, it could very well be deadly. It could be parvovirus or distemper or another devastating virus.

  • As I will say in every article I write about dogs (or animals in general) – whenever something is amiss, or you just have a feeling that your dog’s trying to tell you something, give your vet a call. Depending on the symptoms you describe, they may want to schedule a visit.

How Can You Make Your Sick Dog Feel Better?

When your dog is sick, she’ll want to lie around. She doesn’t feel well. Do you want to do anything when you’re sick? I don’t. When I’m not well, I want to be left alone until I feel better. Your dog may feel this way as well, or they may go to the other extreme and become extremely needy. She (or he) doesn’t know what’s going on, except for the fact that they don’t feel good, and they may be afraid.

how to treat a vomiting dogGive them a little extra love, and make sure that they don’t think they’re wrong if they throw up on the floor. Cleaning up puke is never a nice thing, but it isn’t very nice to be on the other side, either. (Being the one who is sick.)

Do you have any other advice on how to treat a vomiting dog? If you have any other tips, please leave them in the comments!

I wish you the very best and hope your pup feels better fast!



  • Joe

    Wow! I love your article here. I’ve been mainly concerned with how to keep your dog healthy through diet and for certain diseases as well, but never though about when the dog is sick and what to feed them. Thank you for this information. Very insightful. I will definitely follow along side your articles, not copy mind you. but look for advice.

  • Nuttanee

    Thank you for such an informative post! When I got my Shiro from the kennel for the couple first few days he would vomit and I did not know what to do. So, I am researching like crazy so I know what to do in the future if that happens again. It is a relief that it is normal and you can treat it, phew! Never cross my mind to take a look at the vomit, but it doesn’t gross me out so I will take a look. 

    Lol I wondered the same thing! My Shiro would go and eat the GRASS! Quick question what about rice and chicken liver? He loves it even though Unseasoned but just want to make sure that the meat is better than the organs. 

    • Haze

      Rice and boiled chicken are great for sick dogs. I had to do some research on the chicken liver, thank you for asking! 

      I have learned that much like most animal livers, they can be good for dogs, but only in small amounts. I think it would be best to stick with boiled chicken breast to be on the safe side, especially when sick. When he is feeling better, you can definitely give him some liver, it is actually high in protein and other vitamins that are very beneficial.

  • Katie

    What a great article on how to treat a vomiting dog. I have a fur baby of my own and he’s been ill a few times and it wasn’t nice at all. One time he had to be kept at the vets overnight, I didn’t get much sleep that night! But he was ok the next day. The other times we just didn’t give him any food for the rest of the day then gave him boiled chicken and rice for a couple of days after. He was soon back to his usual yappy self!

    Great section about eating grass as well, I’ve always wondered why they do that!

  • Jackie

    Ah, this is a very good one on how to be able to treat a dog that is vomiting. I have a friend whose dog has been vomiting for days now and he doesn’t know how to help his dog but now that you have shared this, I will definitely be looking to use the information that I have learnt here to help him. Thanks.

    • Haze

      I’m glad that you found this helpful. However, if it has been a few days, your friend really should see a vet. I wish you and your friend well, and hope very much that his dog feels better soon!

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