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Last time, I told you about the problems with a vomiting mini poodle dog who’s been throwing up for over six weeks.  As mentioned, lately I’ve learned a lot about why dogs throw up – both from my vet as well as from my research.  Over the next several posts I’m going to share this information in case you, too are dealing with a dog who’s throwing up.


First off, if you’ve owned poodles or any other dogs for any length of time, then you know they vomit on occasion – and usually it’s no big deal.  You clean it up and move on with life.

Sometimes they vomit to rid themselves of an irritant now so that it doesn’t bother them later.  Sometimes they don’t even really throw up – they just regurgitate food that’s sitting in the esophagus (perhaps because they ate too quickly). Either way, it’s generally not a big deal.

However, you’ll know if there’s a problem, such as:

  • A dog that vomits more than a couple times.
  • A dog that vomits two or more days in a row.
  • A dog that vomits multiple times per week.
  • A dog that has unproductive vomiting. (NOTE: This could be bloat, which is an extreme emergency. Get to your vet now.)
  • A dog that exhibits other symptoms of illness while throwing up, such as lethargy/depression; refusal to eat or drink; fever; or any other symptom that suggests that the dog doesn’t feel well.  Call your vet ASAP.
  • A dog whose vomiting is accompanied by diarrhea (check for fresh blood or a tarry look, which suggests digested blood in the stool).  (Again, call your vet – your poodle dog can dehydrate very quickly!)
  • A dog who’s vomiting but is unable to pass stool. (The dog could have an intestinal obstruction – get to your vet NOW.)
  • Bloody vomit or vomit that includes specks of blood.  You may also see a “coffee grounds” look to the vomit, which indicates the dog is throwing up digested blood.

Again, some of these are real medical emergencies, so it’s always best to call your vet. The call is free – they’ll let you know whether you should come in.

Now, if it’s not an emergency, then you’re probably scratching your head and wondering why your poodle won’t stop throwing up.  There are dozens of reasons.  And if your poodle is anything like my poodle, the answer won’t come easy. That means your vet will need to run plenty of tests to uncover the cause of the vomiting – it often becomes a process of elimination!

Here are some of the tests your vet might run:

Blood panel.  Your vet wants to know how your poodle’s organs and other functions are working, and a blood panel helps him or her to see this.

For example, a blood panel can help reveal liver or kidney problems. It can help diagnose infections.  It can even point to “red flags” for certain disorders like Addison’s disease (which causes vague symptoms like vomiting – you’ll need to do a follow up blood test to get an accurate diagnosis).

If your poodle has vomited a lot, he or she is probably dehydrated and his or her electrolytes are out of balance.  This will show up on a complete blood panel – and your vet will give an electrolyte solution to your poodle under the skin or by IV.

X-ray. The vet uses the x-ray to see if your poodle has swallowed anything obvious, like a paperclip or something.  However, many items don’t show up easily on an x-ray. Like if your poodle swallowed a bit of filling from a stuffed toy, it might not show up at all.  That’s what the barium is for…

Barium study. Here your poodle drinks barium, which shows up really easily on an x-ray.  Your vet can then take periodic x-ray images to track the barium going through your dog’s system.  This study can help your vet diagnosis motility disorders.  It can also reveal blockages caused by items not seen on the ordinary x-ray.

That’s just for starters.  If these items don’t reveal a cause, your vet may suggest other tests (depending on other symptoms and your vet’s own experience) as well as treatments commonly treat the problem:

For example:

  • Your vet may want to do an ultrasound.
  • Your vet want to take a look inside the dog’s stomach using an endoscope.  The endoscope can remove foreign matter in the stomach, look for ailments like ulcers and even take a little sample of the stomach lining to look for unwanted bacteria.
  • Some vets may want to do exploratory surgery (if s/he suspects a blockage or other problem).
  • Your vet may suggest that the vomiting is due to food allergies or food intolerance, in which case you may start on a prescription food or other home cooked (bland) diet.
  • If the poodle tends to vomit yellow foam, especially at night, it might be as simple as too much acid on an empty stomach. A small snack before bed — even a few dog treats — might help.
  • If the vet suspects bacterial overgrowth, you may get sent home with a course of antibiotics for your poodle.
  • If your vet suspects a stomach ulcer, your poodle may need to take an anti-vomit drug (such as Cerenia) alongside something that coats the stomach. You may also get an acid-reducer (something like Pepcid AC).

In other words, a poodle that’s vomiting isn’t always an easy case to treat!  You may need to run lots of tests. And you may need to even do a little experimenting.

Stay tuned – more about vomiting poodles coming soon… (plus an update on Eddie)…

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