Vomiting and diarrhea are common signs of stomach upset in cats and dogs and can have a number of causes. Today, our Charlotte vets share what you should know, and what to do if your pet is experiencing these symptoms.
Why is my cat or dog vomiting or having diarrhea?
An inflamed, irritated stomach or intestines, or gastrointestinal upset, can lead to vomiting and diarrhea for cats and dogs.
As unpleasant as it is to deal with, vomiting is one of the most efficient ways for your pet to rid their stomach of indigestible material, so it doesn't make its way further into their system.
Diarrhea often occurs when said indigestible material has gone all the way through your dog's digestive system, anywhere along the intestinal tract.
Causes of Vomiting & Diarrhea In Cats & Dogs
Many potential things may be causing your cat or dog's stomach upset, such as:
- Reaction to medication
- Ingestion of poisons, toxins or food (garbage, chocolate, anti-freeze)
- Heat stroke
- Bacterial or viral infection
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Change in diet
- Serious disease or illness such as cancer
Depending on the severity of your pet's symptoms, your vet will be able to properly diagnose the issue.
When Should I Be Worried?
Vomiting and diarrhea could be cause for some concern and constitute a serious veterinary emergency if you see any of these signs:
- Continuous vomiting
- Chronic vomiting
- Vomiting with nothing coming up
- Blood present in vomit
- Vomiting along with symptoms like lethargy, weight loss, fever, anemia, etc.
- Bloody diarrhea
- Potential ingestion of a foreign body (such as food, objects, toy, etc.)
How Can I Help My Pet?
Your vet will rely on your knowledge of your cat or dog's recent activities (for example, if you have noticed your pet curiously exploring around the house or sniffing the refrigerator, it's possible they could have ingested something harmful or disagreeable). Based on this information and your pet's medical history, the veterinarian will be able to better diagnose and treat them.
Because you spend every day with your pet, you'll likely be your vet's best source of information as they attempt to diagnose the issue. Your vet will then test for, diagnose and try to treat the condition.
Treatment will address underlying problem and may be as simple as temporarily withholding food or as complex as surgery or oncological care.
Occasional Or Infrequent Vomiting
Avoid giving your pet food for 12 hours. You can give 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. Begin encouraging them to eat by offering them a few teaspoons of bland food. If they can keep it down, feed them a little every hour or two.
If the vomiting stops, you can return to their normal feeding schedule the next day.
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 unusual behavior.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.