My Dog Vomited … Why Examine Your Dog’s Vomit?

I get that nobody likes playing with puke. But if your dog does throw up, examining what came out can be quite useful.

My Dog Vomited ... Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit?
But they were so nice and chewy …

And for a fresh real-life example?

Cookie’s leg had been sore off and on (more on that later), and our vet recommended giving Tylenol for the time being. I was not thrilled with the idea, but yesterday there was a good reason to give some.

I gave her one yesterday afternoon and one in the morning.

Cookie threw up a few hours later.

The first thing I’d suspect was the Tylenol. But I decided to examine the vomit anyway. At first glance, it just looked like a thick chyme kind of thing.

Scrutiny, though, revealed small pieces of wood!

That paints a different picture, doesn’t it?

Cookie tends to chew on whatever happens to be nearby, which happens to include sticks and wood chips. So we were watching her and trying to prevent her from actually eating any of that.

Clearly, somehow she sneaked some by us anyway.

In her defense, Bruin and JD used to do the same thing and quite regularly would throw up a pile of wood pieces after a day at the farm. (one of the main reasons we got insurance for JD) One can watch them only so much.

JD stopped doing that. Hopefully, Cookie will, too, before it bites her in the rear end.

She’s looking good and eating and pooping normally, so I’m hoping she threw up all that didn’t belong into the system.

It’s always a good idea to examine the puke.

Cookie, honey, please stop eating sticks.

Saran wrap pieces extracted from vomit.

When JD threw up the other day, I examined the vomit, as usual, looking for pieces of wood. It all seemed quite normal, except for some strips, which seemed like chicken strips but were so strong that they couldn’t be pulled apart. When washed and “unwrapped,” it turned out to be saran wrap.

Little rocks found in vomit.

The vomit containing these rocks looked quite inconspicuous, too–until closer examination. (I added the coin for scale)

The complete list of things that don’t belong in the stomach and my dogs threw up overtime includes:

  • dead mouse
  • sock
  • pieces of a toy
  • pieces of a dental chew
  • small rocks
  • small sticks
  • bone fragments
  • grass
  • horse poop
  • food packaging
  • partridge feathers and entrails

So why examine your dog’s puke?

There are two main reasons you want to know what your dog’s puke contains:

  • to learn what your dog is into to prevent them from eating that
  • to assess whether what they ate came all out or whether there could be more stuff left in the GI tract

If you’re lucky, the inedible object(s) make their way back out on one end or another. But if they don’t, you might have a more serious problem on your hands. If your dog continues being ill, you will need to involve your veterinarian.

Some things are dangerous because of their size and shape; some might be poisonous.

They ate what?

Dogs eat or swallow the strangest things. Often, it is a mystery they survive. However, the issue is so common that Veterinary Practice News has an x-ray contest where veterinarians share radiographs of the strangest things they discovered in their patient’s stomachs!

Want examples?

My Dog Vomited ... Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? Fish-hook
Fish hook in a dog’s stomach. Image Veterinary Practice News
My Dog Vomited ... Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? Rubber duck heads
Rubber duck heads in a dog’s stomach. Image Veterinary Practice News
My Dog Vomited ... Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? Fork
Fork in a dog’s stomach. Image Veterinary Practice News

When I look at some of these things, I can’t even imagine how the dog got it down, such as a kitchen knife.

Further reading: 15 X-ray images of items dogs have swallowed but shouldn’t have….

Did your dog ever throw up anything strange?

Related articles:
My Dog’s Vomiting

Categories: ConditionsReal-life StoriesSymptomsVomiting

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

6 Comments
  1. You are so correct we should check what is making them vomit, I am fortunate though Layla does not eat anything off the ground and does not chew much but it does concern me when she vomits and I do check it. Thanks for the great post

  2. What you say makes perfect sense and I hope people take notice of this. Wood I can understand but saran wrap adds a whole new level of mischief! Good grief.

    As for those X-rays, my jaw dropped. They are a powerful message for any dog owner, take care AND check the puke.

  3. robincrittear

    Wow! It is really amazing what dogs will swallow. Checking out their vomit is a great idea. Taking a look could tell you if your dog needs to see the veterinarian right away or not. That fishhook x-ray is pretty scary!

  4. I hope Cookie is better. I’ve heard horror stories from veterinarian friends growing about what dogs can swallow. It’s truly amazing! I tend to always inspect vomit and poo. They can’t tell us what they did or how they feel, but what comes out can certainly say a lot. Great article on why to inspect your dog’s vomit!

  5. That is quite a list. Dogs can be so gross sometimes. I do inspect my dogs’ vomit too, as gross as it is. Now that my dogs are out of the puppy stage, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve found anything interesting in their vomit. The only ‘nonfood’ thing my older dog eats is grass, and my younger dog is so picky he barely wants to eat dog food most days, let alone things he’s not supposed to eat.

  6. Wow! You laid out the perfect reasons to inspect your dog’s vomit. I hope Cookie’s doing better and yes, those X ray images are shocking. You had me stumped at the fork! Paying attention to what comes back up is important to decipher if potential is there for a vet visit indeed.

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