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Causes of Nausea, Vomiting & Digestive Problems in Dogs & Cats

August 28, 2013

Gator suffers from digestive problems.Our Gator, a 95 lb. Weimaraner, has all sorts of neuroses.  One of those is a finicky digestive system.  Granted, some of his problems are self-inflicted due to his propensity for eating paper or whatever he can scavenge from my desk.  But mostly we don’t have a clue what brings on a nausea attack.

This is not uncommon with dogs and cats, because they get into so many forbidden activities…from turning over the trash can and eating remnants of spoiled food to eating grass (as Gator likes to do).

Some dogs upchuck very soon after eating something they shouldn’t, but others drag out their misery.  That would be Gator’s M.O.

Our boy’s latest attack began a couple hours after his dinner when he paced the floor for a good hour, heaving and drooling.  Finally, he presented us with his dinner…and his breakfast…and maybe more.

Gator was sick for several hours, and we envisioned food poisoning or bloat or any number of other horrible ailments before his stomach finally settled.  Had it been office hours, we would have called the veterinarian but decided to stay awake and watch him carefully for signs that it could be an emergency situation.

There are many reasons why pets suffer bouts of nausea and vomiting.  Below are a few:

*Food poisoning.  Dogs and cats love to tip over garbage cans and eat the prizes they find therein.  Make sure your outside cans have tight-fitting lids.  Keep inside trash cans closed within cabinet doors or securely covered.  Make sure the dog or cat food is not outdated.  If it smells “funny,” it may be spoiled.  Dry pet food can become moldy if not stored properly, so be sure to check it often.

*Eating grass.  Many dogs and cats eat grass.  The key is in choosing the grass they are allowed to consume.  You can grow healthy grasses (like wheat grass or oat grass) indoors for your cat or small dog that will be safe for your pet’s nibbling habit.  It can be dangerous for pets to eat grass outside because many lawns are treated with poisonous chemicals.  If you neighbor’s yard is sprayed with a chemical, the spray could filter over to your lawn.

Jack suffered digestive problems with pancreatitis

*Pancreatitis.  Some breeds are more prone to pancreatitis than others.  Our late Schnauzer, Jack, suffered a serious bout that required a great deal of veterinary care, and the little dog did suffer.  Eating fatty foods, like hot dogs or fatty pieces of turkey with skin can lead to pancreatitis.  Be careful with your pet’s diet.

*Bloat.  A dog suffering bloat may vomit in the early stages.  If you own a deep-chested dog, such as a Great Dane, Mastiff, German Shepherd, Weimaraner or similar, educate yourself about bloat.  Know the symptoms and know when to seek help.

*Worms.  A pet with worms can suffer all kinds of health problems.  Puppies and kittens may expel some types of worms by vomiting.  Your vet will choose a method to deworm your pet.

Pretty Bella *Motion sickness.  Our late cat, Bella, used to get sick in the car, and our blue Dane, Coby, did so as a young dog.  Coby outgrew his problem, but Bella never did.  Some animals can be helped with medication and with luck, they will sleep during car rides.

These are only a few of the possibilities that could cause nausea and vomiting in your pet.  Watch your pet carefully and if it doesn’t recover quickly, call the vet.  You could try a dose of Pepto-Bismol when your dog first shows signs of nausea, but it doesn’t always work.  Talk to your veterinarian about a medication to keep on-hand for such events. Never try to medicate a cat without vet approval!

As for Gator, after 5 or 6 bouts of vomiting, he returned to his usual mischievous demeanor.  We don’t know what caused that round, but we do keep close tabs on him.  The other day, he stole 2 sheets of paper, an article I had just written, from my desk.  At least, that didn’t greet us later.

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