Ever caught your dog throwing up at night and instantly been tossed into turmoil trying to figure out the cause? Dog owners will be relieved to learn that this is a common occurrence among numerous canines, with most only suffering from the effects of bad acid reflux. Below, we discuss this phenomenon in-depth and other reasons why your dog gets sick at night.
Why Is My Dog Sick at Night?
Occasionally, your dog may get sick at night and vomit bile which resembles a yellow, green foam. Bile serves an essential function in helping remove waste material from your dog’s body while also aiding in the digestion of food. It is produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, after which it is released into the small intestine.
Here, it breaks down the food consumed, allowing it to be adequately absorbed and used within the body. The bile may abnormally get into the stomach from the intestine, causing your dog to vomit. If it is not expelled correctly, the bile remains within the stomach and can cause irritation or lead to gastric reflux.
Other Causes of Sickness
In addition to the above, the following are other reasons why your dog may get sick at night.
If your dog overeats food or has food allergies that you are unaware of, it will also experience discomfort, with the most common symptom is vomiting. Some dogs may be allergic to grains, additives, and specific proteins, which often manifest after consuming food or treats containing these elements.
Consumption of toxic items is another area to consider, with spicy foods being a common culprit. To avoid this problem, avoid feeding your dog scraps from your plate and consider sticking to non-harmful vegetables and fruits.
Obstructions in the Gut
Foreign bodies can also get stuck in your dog’s digestive tract or esophagus, causing a digestive obstruction. Signs of this will be dry heaving, with this often needing urgent medical attention. If your dog vomits, it may also be trying to expel any stuck objects within the gut.
Stomach issues can be another reason for your getting sick at night. Examples of problems in this area include gastritis, peritonitis, or bacterial and viral infections of the gut. Other illnesses can also cause your dog to experience discomfort, with a few of these being gastrointestinal worms, parvovirus, diabetes, and cancer. Lastly, there are problems originating from the liver, pancreas, or kidney.
Your dog could also have a car or motion sickness, especially if you occasionally travel at night. This will often pass away once you are settled down at home and may not need any medical attention. Dogs will also get the occasional heat stroke, primarily if they reside in hot areas or regions affected by extreme weather conditions.
Food poisoning is another cause for concern, with most dogs showing signs of sickness after consuming foods that have gone rancid. If you regularly store your dog’s food out in the sun, the oils in the dry food can go bad due to exposure to heat. Fortunately, this is one problem that you can quickly handle yourself.
Storing Your Dog’s Food
A few tips to prevent your dog’s food from going bad include storing it in a cool, dry place. Garages are excellent for this, precisely spots that do not get too hot during the day. If your garage stores up too much heat, consider storing your dog’s food inside your home in rooms that are not in direct view of the sun.
An airtight container will also be another effective way of storing food. It allows you to keep any bad smells away that may cause unpleasantness in your dog’s kibbles while also eliminating any foreign elements that could get in.
Make it a point to also maintain hygiene in your containers and any equipment that comes into contact with the dog food. Wash the container that the food is stored in, items you use for scooping, and your pet’s bowls. Soap and water will do the trick, ensuring that you eliminate any contaminants.
Another tip to avoid food going bad is purchasing smaller bags of food. While larger sizes may be cheaper, they come with the risk of wastage when the food gets rancid, leaving you with more purchases to make. To avoid this, buy smaller bags of dog food and get more when your current bag has been consumed.
Signs of Sickness to Be on the Lookout For
Your dog’s sickness may also be accompanied by other signs apart from vomiting, because you should make it a point to get in touch with your vet. Some of these signs will be constipation or diarrhea, lethargy, seizures, and bloating. Have your pet checked out if you also notice panting, weight loss, blood in stools or vomit, increased thirst, and frequent bouts of urination.
Why Is My Dog Only Sick at Night?
While the above signs of sickness might cause discomfort during the day or night, a sickness that only shows up at night will likely be bilious vomiting syndrome, which is often visible just before your dog eats.
Most dogs do not feed for long durations in the night, with some also being fed only once daily, making this condition a common occurrence at night or early in the morning. Due to these prolonged periods between meal times, stomach inactivity may aggravate bile reflux.
Medical experts have no proper answer to why this happens and often state that older dogs will be more affected. Younger dogs can still experience this, along with dogs of any gender. Apart from the stomach and intestinal reflux that occurs when a dog’s stomach is empty, experts also suggest that inflammation of the stomach or intestines and diseases causing gastritis which modifies gastrointestinal motility, might be another cause of bilious vomiting syndrome.
Your vet’s help will only come in handy when it becomes excessive, with a further check-up helping you rule out other medical problems.
How To Stop My Dog From Being Sick at Night?
While you will not have control of your dog’s sickness, you can still prevent some problems from happening. A few tips to keep in mind include feeding your dog the proper diet. It should be free from leftovers as these may cause issues such as pancreatitis that causes inflammation in the digestive glands.
Some treats are also toxic and could result in serious harm to your dog. A few examples to avoid include food containing garlic, chocolate, and avocado. Additionally, ensure substances such as chewing gum are out of your dog’s reach to limit any choking incidents at night.
Consider using a gradual diet plan if you also want to change your dog’s food through the different growth stages. Start by adding small amounts of the new food to the existing food for at least 3 days before making a complete transition.
If your dog shows signs of any discomfort or has trouble consuming the mixed food, this may be a sign of food allergies that need to be checked by your vet. Doing this will help you avoid any stomach upsets or other serious problems that could develop when you are asleep or not close by.
If you also love taking evening strolls in the park, consider using a muzzle for your dog. This will keep your companion from consuming substances such as bones or leftovers left lying around. Fragments of chewed-up bones could cause blockages and gastrointestinal issues, resulting in emergency surgery. Make it a point to also stay clear of any irritating plants during your walk and consider taking down any poisonous vegetation in your garden.
What to Do if Your Dog Vomits
If your dog gets sick repeatedly, this may indicate a more severe problem that will require you to seek help from a vet. Puppies are especially prone to infections, with vomiting making them get dehydrated quickly. If, however, their sickness is limited to vomiting without any other symptoms, a simple recovery plan will work just as fine.
For starters, try skipping one meal while still giving them water to keep them hydrated. After this, feed them small amounts of white meat such as fish or boiled chicken with rice. If the vomiting subsides, proceed with small quantities of the previously stated food every two hours. After this, you can then gradually mix in their usual food. If everything goes well after 24 hours, feed them their regular meal.
This feeding technique will also work for dogs that show signs of diarrhea, though there is no need to skip their usual meals because of this concern. While water is recommended throughout this period, try not giving them too much water as this may cause further vomiting. Ensure that the water is also boiled and cooled, with frequent water intervals being ideal.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Before visiting your vet, make it a point to countercheck factors that may have led to your pet’s sickness, with a thorough history coming in handy for proper diagnosis. For this, ensure that you have the necessary details about your dog’s health, any incidents that may have led to the sickness, such as ingesting foreign objects, a detailed list of the symptoms, and any changes to your dog’s activities.
With the above in mind, your vet can then proceed to various diagnosis options based on the extent of your dog’s illness. The most common diagnosis option will likely be investigative tests. A few examples include a chemical blood profile, urinalysis, and a complete blood count. If these do not help, endoscopic examinations and radiographic tests, and ultrasound imaging of the abdomen may come in next, allowing the vet to get to the bottom of any delayed stomach motility.
If there are no serious underlying issues, your vet will then administer drugs and antacids to help with nausea. These will also be crucial in reducing acid secretion in the stomach, preventing any damage to the stomach wall often caused by the increase in acidic content from bile. Drugs that enhance gastric motility may also be administered, helping your dog get delayed emptying of the stomach. The result will be increased gut and stomach motility, helping prevent reflux in the long run.
How Long Will the Treatment Last?
Recovery time will be different for every dog, with various pets having differing durations for their medication to work. If, for instance, your dog has chronic bilious vomiting, this may require a longer recovery period. Dietary needs will also change for dogs with this condition, with owners recommending switching to smaller diet plans and frequent feeding times, most notably late in the night.
This ensures that your dog reduces intervals where its stomach is empty for long periods, allowing them to increase normal stomach motility. Food that is also low in fat and fiber will also help your dog empty its stomach while reducing gastric retention of food. In other cases, your vet may prescribe liquefied or canned diets rather than solid food that tends to sit longer in the stomach.