Puppies that suddenly start vomiting are typically a concern for most dog owners. Once a puppy reaches around 6 to 7 weeks of age and is weaned off their mother’s milk, they start to lose the antibodies that help them ward off infections and certain diseases. At this age, most puppies are too young to be fully vaccinated from illnesses that have vomiting as a symptom.
There are many potential causes for a puppy to be vomiting, from as normal as a puppy scoffing down a meal too fast and vomiting it up straight after, or a puppy that is suffering from the deadly parvovirus. If you notice that your puppy has been vomiting or acting abnormally, and if the vomit itself has a red or coffee-ground appearance, it is best to take them to a veterinarian.
In this article, we have compiled a list of the most common reasons for a puppy to throw up.
The 7 Potential Causes Why Puppy Might Throw Up
1. Ingesting Harmful Substances
Puppies are still young and inquisitive, and they will test out their new environment by chewing or accidentally ingesting foreign substances that their body cannot handle, which can cause them to throw up. Harmful substances can include paints, nail polish, poisons, and toxins such as insect repellents that may be laying around the garden.
This will cause major digestive upset and lead to vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea. This can often be fatal so veterinary treatment should be prompt.
It is also possible that your puppy might have ingested a foreign object such as a piece of plastic or another inedible item from a toy they have chewed. This can get lodged in their GI tract and cause inflammation, discomfort, and even life-threatening obstruction. The veterinarian can evaluate the location and risk of the foreign object and make a plan to remove it, this might require surgery.
2. Dietary Changes
As your puppy starts to grow, you might be switching up their diet according to their age’s nutritional requirements. Changing a puppy’s diet suddenly can cause them to vomit because their sensitive stomachs are not equipped to handle sudden dietary changes.
Your puppy should first be weaned off their current food with small amounts of a new diet added in until they are only eating the new food. This gives their stomachs time to adjust to the difference in nutrients, texture, and caloric content of their food.
3. Eating Too Quickly
There is no doubt that puppies love their food, but sometimes they can eat large meals too quickly, which results in them vomiting straight after. The vomit will look like the chunks of food they have just eaten, and they will not show any other signs of being unwell aside from potential bloating in their stomach.
If you have a puppy that eats its food too fast, feeding them smaller meals more frequently throughout the day may help the situation. There are also special bowls that slow down how much food your puppy can take in at a time, which are created for dogs who eat too fast.
This is a highly contagious virus that can easily infect a comprised or unvaccinated puppy. Your puppy can come into contact with the canine parvovirus from other infected dogs (even if they do not show symptoms), contaminated poop, bowls, and even toys. A puppy that has been infected with parvovirus will become weak, lose its appetite, and present vomit and profuse diarrhea. Gastrointestinal symptoms are the most common during the early stages of this virus and it can be fatal if not treated.
5. Bacterial Infection
Bacterial infections in puppies are usually caused by a weakened immune system, stress, and other illnesses that can leave your puppy vulnerable to catching bacteria that lead to a gastrointestinal infection which can cause them to throw up. Puppies are more likely to suffer from a bacterial infection because they may not have had all their vaccinations. Kennel cough is a highly contagious infection that is most likely to cause your puppy to throw up excessively due to the increase in mucous.
6. Intestinal Parasites
Puppies are likely to catch worms, which are a common form of intestinal parasite that causes vomiting. Puppies are curious and may ingest sand or other dogs’ poop that is infected with worms or their eggs. The most common symptoms of intestinal worms in puppies are bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, and appetite changes.
Some puppies may experience a change in their skin and coat conditions depending on the types of worms they are infected with. Treatment will include the duration of a high-quality dewormer prescribed by your puppies’ veterinarian.
7. Allergic Reaction
Your puppy can suffer from a mild or severe allergic reaction if they have ingested something that they are allergic to—such as certain ingredients in their food, chemicals on their toys, and even certain things they have eaten outdoors. Or, they may have been bitten or stung by a bee or wasp. Acute allergy symptoms in puppies can include facial swelling, vomiting, and even anaphylaxis which affects their breathing in severe cases. Immediate veterinary treatment is necessary if this is the cause of your puppy’s vomiting.
Puppies dehydrate more easily than adult dogs, which makes it essential to take them to the veterinarian right away if you notice any abnormal vomiting. Puppies are delicate and throwing up can cause them to lose essential bodily fluids and electrolytes—even if the reason that they are vomiting is as simple as eating too fast.
It is always recommended to rule out a more serious condition that can be the underlying cause of your puppy’s vomiting with the help of a veterinarian. Most causes of your puppy throwing up can be treated and prevented with the right medications, dietary changes, and safety measures put in place.
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