Dog vomiting: Just another day at JustAnswer

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Why do dog owners come to JustAnswer? Why, because their dog’s vomiting, of course.

This is the canine health issue that led the pack in reader interest in January. As always at JustAnswer, pet health is one of the busiest topics, with thousands of worried pet owners checking in on questions that customers have already asked, hoping to learn something that will help their own pet feel better.

And while dog vomiting is a common problem, in January, more than 2,700 Internet visitors focused on when a dog isn’t vomiting:

My dog is making sounds like he is going to throw up – but he isn’t. 

The customer couldn’t get the dog to a vet right away and needed guidance: “We can’t tell if it is his digestive system or his lungs.” That’s not an uncommon dilemma for dog owners who consult Veterinary Experts on JustAnswer, because there are several illnesses that can cause dogs to cough or dry heave.

Jane Leffler, a dog breeder, behaviorist and former veterinary assistant, was the Expert who fielded this particular question. As Leffler explains it, there are a number of possible explanations, all involving the dog’s digestion or lungs:

  • Something stuck in the dog’s throat: If something is stuck in your dog’s throat, Experts advise you to use a tool to see if the object can be removed – you don’t want to put your hand in the dog’s mouth and risk being bitten!
  • Upset stomach: This is a sign that your dog’s body is trying to expel something, and you don’t have to do anything but make sure he stays hydrated. You can also give the dog bone broth or canned pumpkin.
  • Bloat / gastric dilatation, which may or may not involve stomach torsion (twisted stomach)

Other than unsuccessful attempts to vomit, common symptoms of this very serious condition include a hunched-up posture, anxiety and restlessness, a distended stomach that is tight like a drum, and gums that may be dark red in early stages and white or blue in later stages. 

Dogs displaying these symptoms should be seen by a vet as soon as possible.

  • Kennel cough: Kennel cough, which has multiple causes, sounds terrible – like a goose honking – but isn’t usually a serious problem. It usually resolves itself. However, keeping the dog in a well-humidified area can ease the cough.
  • Canine influenza: Like human flu, canine flu is highly contagious. Symptoms also include a thick nasal discharge and fever, lethargy, eye discharge and reduced appetite. If your dog is displaying these signs, he needs to see the vet as soon as possible.


Dog vomiting and metallic breath


 Of course, dog vomiting is a common problem in itself, not least because dogs can and will eat pretty much anything they can get their jaws around. Questions about dogs vomiting yellow liquid, dogs vomiting blood and dogs vomiting bile are among the most frequently-asked at JustAnswer.

And from the sound of the #2 concern of JustAnswer visitors in January – just over 2,000 of them – you might think a dog had eaten something truly bizarre:

My dog’s breath smells like metal. Why is that?

But in fact, metallic breath in your dog has nothing to do with swallowing your car keys (though if you’re a dog owner, you wouldn’t be surprised if your pet did just that).

Rather, the most common cause of metal breath is bad teeth, a very good reason to take your pet to the veterinarian. But if the dog is young, the cause is more likely to be cuts in the mouth – in the roof of the mouth or along the gum line – especially if your pet has been chewing on bones, toys or rawhides.

As Lisa, a certified vet technician who is an Expert on JustAnswer, explained, if you don’t see any cuts in your dog’s mouth, other causes could be:

  • Kidney failure (uremia is the cause of the smell)
  • Anal gland infections (the dog licks the rectum and in return gets that odor in the mouth)
  • Problems in the stomach, such as ulcers

These issues are all reasons to see a veterinarian.

And of course, if you’re at JustAnswer looking for information on that previously-mentioned canine calamity – “My dog just ate …”, well, that’s a topic for another article, and we’ve already got you covered.

That leaves just one question remaining. What will dogs get up to in the coming months at JustAnswer? Whatever your dog’s problem, at JustAnswer you’re usually in good company – by the thousands!

What’s your experience with a dog vomiting – or not vomiting? Please share your stories with other dog owners in the comments below!


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