Most pet owners recognize that they’ll occasionally have their dog throwing up. It’s not pleasant but can happen for a number of reasons. If you notice that your dog routinely throws up in the morning, it can be frustrating, especially if your time is limited as you prepare to start your day. Dealing with doggy vomit certainly isn’t appealing when you’re trying to enjoy your morning coffee and breakfast, either. However, your dog throwing up in the morning may not necessarily be cause for alarm, and there may be steps you can take to prevent or reduce this from happening in the future.
What to do about my dog throwing up in the morning?
What you do about your dog throwing up in the morning depends on the cause. A visit to your veterinarian is never a bad idea, especially if you suspect something serious or if your dog exhibits other symptoms. Your veterinarian can perform a physical exam, test your dog’s blood for signs of cancer or other illnesses, and perform imaging tests that can reveal blockages in your GI’s system or other issues that might cause your dog to throw up. While some of these procedures are invasive and costly, rest assured they’re often not necessary.
One common cause of pets throwing up in the morning–or even in their sleep– is acid reflux (indigestion). This condition results in liquidy or foamy vomit. That liquid is bile, which builds up when your dog’s stomach becomes empty. Often, dogs can throw up bile then return to eating or other activities without a second thought. However, especially violent vomiting may keep your dog down for a day or so, and your dog may reject food if it associates it with throwing up (even if the food isn’t the cause of the vomiting).
Keeping your dog at a healthy weight, feeding it small meals more frequently throughout the day, using a timed feeder if you cannot feed your dog regularly, or keeping out a bit of kibble overnight can also treat acid reflux. Another option is medication. In fact, dogs and cats take some of the same reflux medicines as humans! Famotidine, also known as Pepcid, can treat your dog as easily and effectively as it treats you, and you can use human versions without a subscription. It’s important to get a diagnosis from your veterinarian and a recommendation for medication. Otherwise, you may be treating the wrong condition or using the wrong dosage, which may not help your dog even if it has acid reflux. Once you have the right medication and dosage, it’s all about finding ways that you can medicate your dog without issue.
Get to Know Your Dog’s Morning Behavior
It may be helpful to learn the signs that your dog is soon going to throw up. Drooling, wrenching, and abdominal contractions are all signs that dogs are going to throw up, and they’re quite similar to signs of nausea in humans!. Swallowing excess saliva is another sign that your dog will soon throw up. Of course, sometimes there you don’t get a heads up that your dog is going to vomit. Recording feeding times (or sticking to a strict feeding schedule) and the times and properties of your dog’s vomiting can be a helpful tool to determine why your dog throws up in the morning.
Other conditions, including a blocked esophagus or cancer, may also be the reason your dog throws up in the morning, which is why we recommended a visit to your family vet. Treating the cause of vomiting can reduce the likelihood of your dog throwing up each morning. But your animal doctor may recommend an antinausea medication to help with vomiting, too.
However, if your dog throws up after eating, it may simply be from eating too quickly or a condition known as megaesophagus. Both of these causes–and their solutions–are covered in the following section.
Why does my dog throw up after eating in the morning?
When a pet throws up after eating, it can indicate several issues. The most common reason for a dog throwing up after eating is simply eating too quickly. This may be especially likely with dry kibble, which can become stuck in your dog’s esophagus and require them to cough or throw it up to clear the esophagus. In fact, dogs typically don’t throw up after eating–they regurgitate. You may notice that your dog easily throws up without any stomach acid or muscle contractions that usually come with vomiting.
There are several ways you can encourage your dog to eat more slowly, which can prevent throwing up afterward.
- Place kibble in a muffin tin to encourage slower eating.
- Use a foraging or puzzle feeder. You can also hide food in a snuffle mat to stimulate your dog mentally and stop it from inhaling food.
- Separate your pets during meals if you suspect your dog eats quickly because of resource guarding.
- Add water to your dog’s food dish.
- Place a large object in your dog’s food bowl that it has to eat around. You can also purchase dog food bowls that have a center protrusion to achieve the same. Look for anti-gulp bowls and “slow feeders.”
However, none of these steps may matter if your dog eats quickly because it’s famished every morning after not eating all night. Consider feeding your dog later at night or earlier in the morning. A timed feeder may also help. Leaving a few kibbles out overnight may be another solution, but you must be careful if to avoid overeating, food aggression, or other pets getting into your dog’s food.
How to Deal with Throwing Up from Mega E
If your dog throws up after every meal and not just in the morning, it may be due to another condition. For example, megaesophagus or “Mega E” is a condition in which a dog’s throat muscles are too weak to properly swallow food. Some dogs are born with it, and miniature schnauzers, wire-haired fox terriers, Newfoundlands, GSDs, Great Danes, Labrador retrievers, Irish setters, shar-peis, and greyhounds are especially likely to have this condition (source).
With Mega E, dogs regurgitate food. Still, there are steps you can take to help your dog, including using an elevator bowl. When your dog doesn’t have to bend down to eat, gravity helps food move to its stomach. If the bowl is elevated and includes a step that further raises your dog’s body, it’s even better. Another option is a specialized feeding chair. It’s similar to a highchair for toddlers. These feeding chairs might seem silly, but they help dogs with this condition receive nutrients from food rather than throwing up after meals, ultimately leading to healthier lives!
Before you buy or make your dog a custom feeding chair, it’s smart to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian who can confirm if Mega E is your issue or something else.
Why does my dog vomit bile in the morning?
For dogs and sometimes other animals, throwing up bile, also known as stomach acid is a symptom of reflux. Bile has built up in your pet’s stomach during the night, when it hasn’t had a chance to eat. Bile may be yellow or mostly clear. The process of throwing up can cause the bile to become foamy and white. If your dog throws up especially violently, it can damage the esophageal lining and result in a bit of blood or a pink tinge to the bile.
Bile may also include bits of food or mix with partially digested food if your pet’s stomach isn’t entirely empty. However, bile can more easily build up when the stomach is empty, which happens in the morning or before mealtime. In fact, acid reflux can similarly cause people to throw up when they sleep. In both people and pets, being overweight increases the likelihood of acid reflux because that excess weight exerts pressure on the abdomen.
Age is another contributing factor to acid reflux. However, moving from free-feeding to scheduled feeding may result in your dog throwing up bile in the morning because your dog’s stomach now has a chance to empty overnight. This is why splitting your dog’s daily food needs into more frequent smaller meals might be the best solution.
Why does my dog vomit white foam in the morning?
If your dog throws up white foam in the morning, it’s likely due to indigestion. Frothy bile indicates that there is nothing in your dog’s stomach to throw up. Your dog may initially throw up bile, which turns into foam as its stomach empties. Or your dog may only vomit white foam if there’s little bile to throw up.