Why is my cat or dog vomiting or experiencing diarrhea?
Vomiting and diarrhea are common symptoms of gastrointestinal upset - the inflammation of irritation of the stomach or intestines. While this can be alarming to see, vomiting in your pet isn't always as bad as it may seem; this is your pet's way of emptying its stomach of spoiled food or indigestible material to prevent it from making its way further into its system.
Conversely, diarrhea often happens when the indigestible material has gone through your pet's digestive system and is expelled.
Of course, pet owners don't always know for a fact if their furry friend is experiencing these symptoms due to having indigestible material in their system.
What is causing my pet's vomiting and diarrhea?
A range of potential causes may be contributing to vomiting and diarrhea in your dog or cat, including:
- A reaction to spoiled food
- Bacterial infections
- Change in diet or treats
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Ingesting poisons or toxins
- Ingesting foreign objects such as fabric or toys
- Medications such as antibiotics
- Anxiety or stress
- Organ problems
- Kidney or liver disease
If your pet continues to vomit or have diarrhea and you're not sure why, contact your vet for an appointment. Your vet can assess your pet's symptoms and accurately diagnose the problem.
What should I do if my pet won't stop vomiting or having diarrhea?
If your pet has a single episode of vomiting or diarrhea but is otherwise acting normally, this is typically not a cause for concern. However, it's important to monitor your pet's bowel movements to see whether the issue resolves.
If two or more episodes of vomiting or diarrhea occur in quick succession, this may point to an underlying problem and it's best to seek your vet's advice.
Some pets may strain to pass stool and only produce small amounts of watery diarrhea. This may be a symptom of serious blockage caused by ingesting a foreign object, such as a toy. Immediate veterinary attention is required for these situations, so it's important to contact your vet or go to your nearest animal hospital that offers emergency care.
Recurring vomiting or diarrhea over a short period is concerning, particularly for older pets, young animals, or those with a weaker immune system. Some infections may be severe or even life-threatening, so it's critical to contact your vet promptly if your cat or dog is experiencing repeated bouts of diarrhea and/or vomiting.
If additional symptoms appear in addition to vomiting and diarrhea, it's important to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. Contact your vet right away to schedule an appointment if your pet has any of these symptoms:
- Blood in stool
- Unusual drooling
- Lack of appetite
- Signs of dehydration (sunken, dry-looking eyes, dry, sticky gums or dry nose)
If your cat or dog is displaying symptoms that are causing you concern, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your vet can let you know whether your cat's symptoms indicate that examination and treatment are necessary.
How is vomiting and diarrhea in cats and dogs treated?
When it comes to addressing your cat or dog's vomiting or diarrhea, treatment should address the underlying cause of your pet's condition.
Your vet may recommend that you withhold food from your pooch. In more complex or severe cases, surgery or chemotherapy may be required.
You should always consult your vet on best practices to help your pet first, and never give your dog human medications without first asking your vet. Many over-the-counter medications that work well for people can be toxic to dogs.
Here are some common at-home treatments for vomiting or diarrhea in your pet:
For Occasional or Infrequent Vomiting
If your pet has had one or two soft or runny stools, you may want to allow them some time to recover by withholding food for 12-24 hours.
Putting them on a bland diet for a day or two may help to resolve the issue. You might also consider giving them up to 3 tablespoons of water every 30 minutes or provide them with ice cubes in the meantime. After 12 hours, reintroduce the water bowl.
Cooking plain white rice with a bit of chicken and some canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) may help to make your pup's tummy feel better. If they're able to keep it down, feed them a little every hour or two. Once your four-legged companion is feeling better, you can gradually reintroduce their regular food.
If the vomiting stops, you can begin feeding them, as usual, the next day.
For Severe Vomiting
Remove any food that your dog or cat can get into. Inspect your pet for signs of dehydration or shock, including pale skin and gums and abnormal disposition.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.