Vomiting in Pregnant Pups. What to Do When Your Dog Has Morning Sickness

Introduction

Vomiting is a common occurrence in pregnant dogs and can happen throughout the pregnancy. Hormonal changes cause morning sickness in some dogs during early pregnancy. As the puppies and uterus grow later in pregnancy, pressure on the stomach can also lead to vomiting. While some vomiting is normal, excessive vomiting can indicate a more serious issue that requires veterinary care.

There are several potential causes of vomiting in pregnant dogs. These include morning sickness, gastrointestinal issues, metabolic diseases, toxins, and complications like preeclampsia. Determining the cause is important, as certain conditions like pancreatitis or parasitism can threaten the health of both the mother and puppies if left untreated.

It’s crucial to monitor vomiting carefully in pregnant dogs and consult a veterinarian promptly if concerning signs appear. With appropriate care and treatment, many causes of vomiting can be managed to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

Signs of Vomiting

Vomiting is one of the most common signs of pregnancy in dogs. It is similar to morning sickness in pregnant women and usually occurs during the first few weeks of pregnancy. Some of the key signs of vomiting in pregnant dogs include:

Frequency – The vomiting may occur daily or every few days. It usually resolves by around day 35 of the pregnancy.

Color/contents – The vomit is often clear yellow or white foam. Sometimes it may contain food or bile, giving it a yellow or greenish appearance. There is rarely any blood.

Other symptoms – Lethargy, loss of appetite and increased thirst may accompany the vomiting. Some dogs may eat more grass. There may also be mild abdominal pain.

While vomiting in early pregnancy is normal, excessive vomiting, vomiting with diarrhea, blood, or a loss of appetite warrant a visit to the veterinarian. Dehydration from vomiting and lack of eating can become dangerous for the mother and puppies. [1]

Potential Causes of Vomiting in Pregnant Dogs

Vomiting in pregnant dogs can have several potential causes:

Morning Sickness – As in human pregnancy, dogs can experience morning sickness due to hormonal changes early in pregnancy. This usually resolves by week 4. More severe or persistent vomiting could indicate a problem and requires veterinary attention. (Source)

Food Sensitivities – Pregnant dogs may develop an aversion or sensitivity to certain foods. Trying different proteins, textures, or bland homecooked diets may help settle the stomach. If vomiting persists, an underlying condition may need diagnosis. (Source)

Infections – Bacterial and viral infections can cause vomiting in pregnant dogs. Herpesvirus infection is a particular concern as it can lead to abortion or newborn death. Prompt veterinary care is essential. (Source)

Blockages – Intestinal obstructions from bones, foreign objects, or masses can cause intermittent vomiting in pregnant dogs. Imaging tests may be needed for diagnosis. Surgery may be required based on location and severity.

Toxins – Ingestion of toxins like antifreeze, toxic plants, or rodent bait can cause vomiting in pregnant dogs, along with other severe symptoms. Immediate veterinary decontamination and treatment is crucial.

When to See the Vet

Vomiting that lasts for more than 24 hours in a pregnant dog is cause for concern and warrants a veterinary visit (Pregnant Dog Care). The persistent vomiting can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, which can be dangerous for both the mother and puppies.

a pregnant dog vomiting while the owner looks concerned

Additionally, if the vomit contains blood or has a dark color, urgent veterinary care should be sought (My dog is 55 days pregnant and she is vomiting right now). The blood may indicate an underlying condition such as ulcers, ingestion of a foreign object, or toxin.

Pregnant dogs that experience sudden weight loss or lethargy along with vomiting also require prompt veterinary attention (Dog Pregnancy Symptoms and Prenatal Checkups). These signs may point to malnutrition, parasites, or other illnesses that require treatment.

In summary, pregnant dog vomiting lasting over 24 hours, containing blood, coupled with weight loss or lethargy warrants an urgent vet visit to check for dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, ulcers, foreign objects, toxins, malnutrition or other underlying illness.

Diagnosis

If a pregnant dog is vomiting, the veterinarian will perform a full physical exam to check the dog’s overall health and look for any concerning symptoms. The vet will palpate the abdomen to feel the puppies and check for any abnormalities. They may recommend the following diagnostic tests:

Bloodwork – A complete blood count (CBC) and biochemical profile can check for issues like infections, liver or kidney problems, electrolyte imbalances and anemia which could cause vomiting. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, more severe vomiting may cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances which can be detected on bloodwork (https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/vomiting-in-dogs).

Ultrasound – An abdominal ultrasound allows the veterinarian to visualize the puppies, placentas, and uterus. It can help identify potential causes like uterine infections, fetal death, or placental detachment.

Radiographs – Abdominal x-rays may be recommended if the pregnancy is further along. X-rays can determine the number and size of puppies and screen for potential obstructions or foreign objects causing vomiting.

Treatment

The main treatments for vomiting in pregnant dogs include:

a veterinarian giving a pregnant dog medication for vomiting

  • Withholding food and water for 12-24 hours to allow the gastrointestinal tract to rest. Small amounts of water can be offered after this time.
  • Medications like antiemetics (e.g. Cerenia, Zofran) to control nausea and vomiting. These help settle the stomach and prevent further vomiting episodes (1).
  • Switching to a bland, easily digestible diet like boiled chicken and rice or prescription gastrointestinal food. This helps the stomach heal.
  • Probiotic supplements like Fortiflora to restore good bacteria and gastric balance.
  • Pepcid AC or sucralfate to coat and soothe the inflamed stomach lining.

Treatment focuses on resting the stomach, controlling nausea, protecting the stomach lining, and restoring normal digestion. Using a combination of withholding food, medications, diet change, and supplements provides well-rounded relief for a vomiting pregnant dog.

Home Care

During times of vomiting, there are some steps you can take at home to comfort your pregnant dog:

Offer your dog a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice to calm the stomach. Introduce the bland food gradually over a few days. Ensure your dog stays hydrated by providing access to fresh water at all times. You can also try offering ice cubes or low-sodium chicken broth. Limit food intake to smaller, more frequent meals.

an owner feeding a pregnant dog bland food to settle her stomach

Allow your dog ample time to rest, which can help ease nausea. Provide a comfortable and quiet area away from other pets and children. You may need to limit exercise as well until the vomiting subsides.

If your vet has prescribed medication, carefully follow their dosage instructions. Give any pills or supplements with food to avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach. Track any changes in symptoms after beginning a new medication.

Monitor your dog closely for signs of dehydration or worsening sickness. Contact your vet if their condition does not improve within 1-2 days.

Prevention

There are several steps you can take to help prevent vomiting in your pregnant dog:

Feed a high-quality commercial dog food formulated for pregnant and lactating dogs. These diets provide the extra protein, calories, and nutrients needed during this demanding time (Pregnant Dog Care). Avoid sudden changes in diet.

Limit stress for your pregnant dog by providing a quiet, comfortable area away from loud noises and activity. Give her space from rambunctious children and dogs (Epimeletic vomiting in female dogs during the rearing …).

Bring your dog to the vet for regular prenatal checkups to monitor her health and catch problems early. Discuss any vomiting or concerns with your vet.

Keep your home and yard free of toxins and poisons that could sicken your dog if ingested. This includes human medications, chemicals, plants, and food items toxic to dogs (Vomiting in Dogs – VCA Animal Hospitals).

Prognosis

Vomiting during pregnancy in dogs is usually self-resolving and not a cause for major concern. According to one study, vomiting affects up to 80% of pregnant dogs but does not negatively impact the puppies in most cases (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7167204/). The vomiting is typically due to the hormonal changes and gastric adjustments that occur during pregnancy.

However, if the vomiting is persistent and leads to dehydration or nutritional deficiencies, it could potentially impact the developing puppies. Prolonged vomiting and a lack of food/water intake means less nutrients reach the fetuses. This could result in reduced birth weights or developmental issues down the line.

Serious causes for concern include: vomiting that contains blood, vomiting combined with signs of illness/infection, vomiting that lasts for more than 24 hours, inability to keep anything down, signs of dehydration. In such cases, immediate veterinary care is warranted, as severe vomiting in pregnancy could be life-threatening for both the mother and puppies.

When to Worry

It’s normal for pregnant dogs to experience some vomiting due to morning sickness, especially early on in the pregnancy. However, prolonged vomiting that lasts more than a day or two can be a cause for concern.

Significant weight loss, lethargy, or other concerning symptoms along with persistent vomiting warrant a veterinary visit. Prolonged vomiting can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and nutritional deficits that can negatively impact both the mother and her pups.

Some signs that vomiting in a pregnant dog needs urgent veterinary attention include:

a list of warning signs that indicate a vomiting pregnant dog needs the vet

  • Vomiting that lasts more than 24 hours
  • Inability to keep down any food or water
  • Signs of dehydration such as dry gums or skin tenting
  • Bloody vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Severe lethargy or unwillingness to move
  • Diarrhea or black, tarry stool
  • Significant weight loss over a short period of time
  • Evidence of abdominal pain or discomfort

If a pregnant dog shows any of these signs along with persistent vomiting, take her to the vet immediately to receive fluids, anti-nausea medication, and appropriate treatment. Prompt veterinary care can help ensure the health of both mother and puppies.

Scroll to Top