The Gross Factor: When A Dog Vomits In Your Hands

by Kimberly Gauthier, Keep the Tail Wagging

What is the measure of the gross factor?

If you really take the time to think about what we do on a daily basis, living creatures are gross. We’re pretty gross. Dogs are gross and don’t care. While I’m burying my farts in the sofa, Sydney and Rodrigo are having a Fart Off during their afternoon nap. We spend $4.50 on a bottle of air freshener and our dogs stick their noses in dog poo because they’re curious to know who walked by today. And have you been in a ladies restroom recently? Wow!

The point is that there are so many things humans do that make me cringe, but when our dogs do it, I don’t bat an eye.

The Gross Factor: When A Dog Vomits In Your Hands

The other day the dogs were napping after a morning of running, playing and exploring (we live on 5 acres, surrounded by wooded areas). Blue sat up and started the dry heaving – I jumped into action, grabbing as many tissues as possible … only to end up with vomit in my hands; a lot of it.

I saved the carpet though!

When Your Dog Vomits

Part of me recognizes that this is gross, but I don’t take the time to dwell on it, because I have mental work to do. Whenever one of our dogs vomits I…

    • Make sure they’re okay – is it over, is there more coming, are they comfortable? Are they behaving listless or do they seem to be in pain?
    • Check the vomit – yep, grossssss; but I have to check the vomit for blood or foreign objects.
    • If there’s blood – what color is it?  If it’s bright red, then they probably broke a vessel during the heaving; if it’s dark, then something may be wrong.
    • If there’s a foreign object – what is it? Rodrigo likes to swallow the squeaker from toys – we take them out before he gets a toy, but we’ve missed one.
    • What did they eat recently? – Sydney tosses her cookies after eating raw bones, so she doesn’t get raw bones.
    • What time is it? – Is the veterinarian’s office still open?

Our veterinarian trained me well; she’ll ask all of these questions when I call so I get prepared.

Over the past three years, we learned that sometimes dogs vomit. Blue was fine moments after clearing his stomach contents in my hands and once we confirmed this we had our gross-out moment as I washed my hands then chased my boyfriend around the house screaming “I love you, I want to touch you!!!”

Why Dogs Vomit

Dogs vomit (or regurgitate food – food hasn’t reached the stomach yet) for various reasons:

    • eating something that’s indigestible (Sydney has trouble with raw bones)
    • over eating or eating too fast (this happens with Blue when he drinks water too fast)
    • exercising / playing too soon after eating
    • motion sickness (we give our dogs doggy frozen yogurt after a trip to soothe their tummies)
    • stress

Is it Serious when a Dog Vomits

It can be serious, which is why I go through the mental routing I shared above. If our dogs vomit once and then they’re fine, I don’t worry about it. But if it’s ongoing, it could be a symptom of something more serious and it’s time for a visit with the veterinarian.

The one thing I’ve learned not to do is to diagnose by Google. I do research for my own blog, but I try and stay away from the Internet when we’re in the midst of health drama with our dogs because every search freaks me out.

What’s the grossest thing your dog has done recently?

Related articles:
Vomiting
What’s in the Vomit?

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.

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