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What Warrants an Emergency Visit?

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Dog Upset Stomach Emergency Visit

Seven Dog Upset Stomach Conditions that Warrant an Emergency Visit

Not all cases of dog upset stomach can be treated at home! This is why we have disclaimers on each page of this site warning about the dangers associated with waiting out canine digestive issues in hopes of them getting better on their own or trying home remedies.

Fortunately, many dogs vomit and then they go on with their lives unaffected, but it's always good to keep in mind that not all cases of vomiting and/or diarrhea are innocuous and being aware of these emergencies can help dog owners readily recognize some signs of trouble.

Exposure to Toxins

Vomiting often occurs when the dog's stomach recognizes that the dog ate something potentially toxic. Dogs are naturally drawn to eating things they shouldn't and this often includes foods that are toxic, plants and chemicals. Gastrointestinal signs of exposure to toxins may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling and loss of appetite. If you suspect your dog was exposed to toxins, see your vet immediately or call the ASPCA poison control at 888-426-4435. Have your credit card ready as a $65 consultation rate applies.

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Non-productive vomiting, also known as dry retching, can be a sign of bloat, a life threatening condition seen in deep-chested dogs such as the Doberman, German shepherd, Saint Bernard and great Dane. The abdomen appears often distended, and the dog is nervous, pacing, breathing rapidly and drooling. Dogs around the age of 7 to 10 years are mostly affected. This condition is often seen after dogs eat a large meal and exercise or from excessive eating of large volumes of food all at once.

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In the case of blockages, dogs tend to vomit because food cannot make it past the blockage. Vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhea and straining to defecate may be signs of a complete blockage. Blockages are most often seen in puppies and dogs with a reputation of swallowing foreign items such as socks, pieces of toys or rocks or gulping down and barely chewing foods such as corn cobs and bones. In older pets, a blockage may also be caused by tumors.


This potentially fatal viral disease is often seen in puppies. For unknown reasons, certain breeds like the Rottweiler, German shepherd, Doberman and American pit bull terrier are more susceptible to this disease. Clinical signs include lethargy, appetite loss, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. The stools may contain blood and mucus.


The inflammation of the pancreas can cause severe bouts of vomiting with dogs often barely able to keep water down. The abdomen may be painful too causing the dog to nervously pace, whine and act uncomfortable. This condition is often seen in dogs who have ingested fatty foods such as table scraps, leftovers, butter, cheese, bacon fat or a greasy steak. At times though, a precise culprit may not be found. This condition can become life threatening because of the severe vomiting potentially causing dehydration, weakness, shock and collapse.


[adinserter block="5"]Any time an intact female dog (non-spayed) is vomiting, pyometra should be considered. Pyometra is a life threatening condition, especially when it is closed. Generally, expect a case of pyometra to show up about 4 to 8 weeks following a dog's heat. Affected dogs may become lethargic, exhibit lack of appetite and develop vomiting and diarrhea. Dogs may be seen drinking a lot of water as the body attempts to flush out the harmful bacteria from the body. This leads to increased urination. In open pyomtra, affected dogs will have vaginal discharge that somewhat resembles tomato soup. In closed pyometra, the retained fluids may cause a swollen abdomen. If you suspect pyometra, see your vet immediately.

Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritits

This condition is often a mystery since a direct cause can often not be found. What's sure is that this condition causes a sudden onset of bloody diarrhea, vomiting and lethargy. Because of the repeated vomiting, affected dogs may develop shock from dehydration if they aren't given fluid therapy in a timely manner. Young, toy and miniature breeds are more likely to be affected.

As seen, there are several cases where vomiting and diarrhea shouldn't be taken lightly. While these are some potentially fatal conditions, consider that any case of prolonged vomiting and diarrhea can turn lethal if the dog becomes dehydrated and fluid therapy from a vet isn't initiated in a timely manner.

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