Description

Episodes of vomiting in otherwise healthy dogs does occur, and is ususally due to unselective eating habbits.

Urgency

Urgency level 3

Danger

Danger level 2

Course

Sudden vomiting, often bringing up parts of the last meal, is a sign of food intoxication. Affected dogs are otherwise in good and healthy condition. Bouts of vomiting might occur repeatedly within 48 hours, sometimes in combination with diarrhea and/or increased salivation. Some dogs will concurrently try to eat grass. It is unclear if this can be considered a predisposing factor for the condition, since a great number of dogs regularly eat grass without becoming sick. Food intoxication symptoms are usually short-lived and disappear after 1-2 days.

Cause

Sickness after consuming certain foods is the most common cause for vomiting due to food intoxication in dogs. Where as in acute gastritis the stomach mucosa becomes inflamed, food intoxication merely triggers the vomiting receptors. Sometimes the dog has not been poisoned at all, but has simply eaten too fast, and this can cause nausea, too. In fact, this behavioral pattern is an important part of a larger canine survival strategy. When food is rare and competition with other members of the species is high, the animal consumes as much as he can when he has the opportunity. This rapidly consumed food may be vomited up after withdrawing from the pack and then eaten again. On walks, dogs may indiscriminately consume grass, parts of plants, animal feces, refuse, sweets or rotten fruits. Furthermore, while at home, they may "steal" from the trashcan or dinner table when left unobserved. In dogs the line between food intoxication and severe gastritis, or poisoning, is thin, and usually depends on the amount and type of the ingested substance.

Therapy

In order to diagnose food intoxication it is crucial to rule out all other possible causes or a possible foreign body. In order to do so, the dog has to be thoroughly examined by a veterinarian. If no other complaints of the gastrointestinal tract are present, simple food intoxication is likely. Medication might offer fast relief, and in many cases, feeding the dog relaxing diet is usually sufficient for a full recovery.

Emergency measures

Food intoxication is not necessarily a reason for a visit to the vet. However, if the animal shows no improvement, a vet should be consulted. In the case that symptoms are light and no other complaints are present, in certain cases, symptoms of sickness can be relieved by withdrawing food for 1 day. Warning: It is not advisable to place a dog on a fast for more than 24, and during the fast dogs MUST be provided with water. In order to prevent furhter incidents, if your dog has developed a habit of consuming random foods, he needs to be watched closely on walks, or kept on a leash in order to prevent him from causing himself harm. At home, all food items should be stored in places inaccessible to your dog.