Throwing up in dogs is common as well as for Australian Shepherds. Occasional vomiting is not a cause for concern if vomiting does not continue.
However, if it happens frequently and for a prolonged time, it is an indication that something is wrong with your dog.
Read on to learn the reasons why your Australian Shepherd is throwing up, the potential complications, what to do and when to see a veterinarian.
An Australian Shepherd throwing up occurs due to:
- A gastrointestinal infection (bacterial or viral)
- Presence of Intestinal parasites
- Food intolerance
- Diet change
- Ingestion of foreign objects such as rocks, dirt, and small balls
- Ingestion of toxins such as antifreeze, household products (pesticides, cleaning products)
- Ingestion of garbage
- Diseases (pancreatitis, cancer, liver or kidney failure)
- Reaction to certain medications
- Motion sickness during car trips
Throwing up can stop on its own within 24 hours without medical intervention or it can also prolong which is a sign of an underlying health condition.
Throwing up occurs due to either vomiting or regurgitation processes.
How do I know if my Australian Shepherd is vomiting or regurgitating?
There is a difference between regurgitation and vomiting. It is important to be aware of the difference because the two processes are caused by different factors and have different treatments.
By knowing this and what your dog experiences, you can be able to provide the details to your veterinarian, which will be helpful in the diagnosis of the underlying cause.
The first difference is that before vomiting an Aussie will experience symptoms including nausea, repeated swallowing, restlessness, salivating, and licking of lips followed by abdominal contractions and forceful removal of food or liquid from the mouth.
Stomach contents can come out either digested, partly digested or undigested food.
On the other hand, regurgitation shows no symptoms such as nausea or abdominal contractions.
Another difference is that regurgitation is a passive process compared to vomiting.
This means it does not involve the contraction of stomach muscles and an Australian Shepherd simply leans its head forward and the swallowed food rolls out from its mouth.
The swallowed food does not make it to the stomach and comes back out from the esophagus and the mouth with the help of the esophagus muscles and gravity,
This happens suddenly without your dog having control over it and can occur immediately after eating, drinking, or hours after eating.
Vomiting is an active process where there is the forceful expulsion of the stomach contents through contraction of abdominal muscles while regurgitation is a passive process.
Regurgitation is caused by a congenital esophageal disorder or an acquired disorder.
Congenital esophageal disorders that cause regurgitation include cancer, Addison disease, gastric reflux, and an enlarged esophagus which does not allow easy movement of food from the mouth to the stomach.
Acquired disorders which cause regurgitation include poisoning, foreign objects lodged in the throat, gastric reflux, cancer, and rabies.
If your Aussie is regurgitating, the common symptoms include:
- Increased breathing noises
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Swelling in the throat
- Increased appetite
- Runny nose
- Bad breath
- Throwing up of undigested food, water, or mucus.
Both regurgitation and vomiting can occur right after eating or hours later.
So Do Australian Shepherds Have Stomach Issues?
All dog breeds have stomach issues some more than others, which involve problems with the digestive system.
Australian Shepherds also experience stomach issues just like any other dog. Stomach issues can be caused by a variety of illnesses or conditions that irritate or inflame the stomach.
Common stomach issues that are experienced by Aussies include upset stomach due to dietary indiscretion, food intolerances or allergies, sensitive stomachs, parasitic infections, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, and umbilical hernia.
All these stomach issues lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, regurgitation, vomiting, constipation, bleeding, bloating, abnormal abdominal pain, or dehydration.
Continuous throwing up leads to loss of electrolytes and severe dehydration which is life-threatening to an Australian Shepherd if treatment is not provided in time.
Vomiting can also be a sign of a serious health condition such as disease, infection, or poisoning and lack of early treatment can be fatal.
If the throwing up is due to regurgitation, it can be dangerous especially if it occurs due to fast eating.
This is because fast eating can lead to inhalation of food particles into the lungs which causes pneumonia, a condition commonly known as aspiration pneumonia.
What To Do
Occasional throwing up is not a cause for concern when your Aussie experiences it because it is normal, especially if they continue to be active and go about their day as normal.
If they also do not have other signs of illness that indicate they may be sick, there is nothing to worry about.
If this is the case where your Australian Shepherd vomits once and acts normal, keep an eye on them to determine whether the vomiting continues and also if other symptoms appear.
Withdraw food for 6 – 12 hours but provide plenty of drinking water. This home care allows their stomach to settle down and also repair itself.
If throwing up does not continue, feed them their regular diet after this period of withdrawal of food.
When To Seek Help
Throwing up is a common occurrence for any dog as well as an Aussie, however, some additional signs can inform you that something is wrong with your dog which requires you to contact the veterinarian immediately.
Signs of sickness in addition to throwing up are indications to seek medical care.
Seek medical care when your Aussie:
- Continues to vomit
- Vomits blood
- Has a fever
- Vomits and also has diarrhea
- Has abdominal pain
- Presents signs of dehydration (weakness, panting, dry nose, thick saliva, and dry sticky gums)
- Ingested a foreign object
- Tries to vomit but nothing comes out (dry heaving)
- Vomits a large quantity of food
- Refuses to eat
Contact your veterinarian within 8-12 hours when the vomiting is frequent, that is, your Aussie vomits over 2 times in this period because this can quickly lead to dehydration.
Also, take a sample of your Australian Shepherd’s vomit to your veterinarian. This will help them determine whether your dog vomited or regurgitated the contents.
The veterinarian can also use the vomit sample to test for toxins. If you noticed other symptoms from your dog in addition to the throwing up, inform your veterinarian.
Various tests are carried out to determine the cause of an Australian Shepherd’s vomiting. Treatment and recommendations depend on the determined underlying cause.
- Anti-nausea medication
- Anti-inflammatory medication to settle the stomach and intestines
- Treatment for any disease or ailment diagnosed
- Fluid therapy to correct dehydration as well as loss of electrolytes
- A bland diet consisting of boiled rice and chicken with plenty of drinking water
During this time an Australian Shepherd is required to stay off their regular food for 24 hours and be fed a bland diet after this time. This allows the digestive system to calm down and repair itself.
Some Aussies are sensitive to some food ingredients and the veterinarian may eliminate their current diet if this is the case and recommend a diet for a sensitive stomach.
An Australian Shepherd’s upset stomach may also be caused by certain ingredients in their food such as grains, protein, lack of sufficient vitamins, minerals, fat content, fiber source, or food containing too much of a certain ingredient and quality ingredients.
An Aussie’s sensitive stomach causes throwing up, flatulence, and loose stool. These symptoms can be mild or severe.
The veterinarian may either recommend a prescription diet, a limited ingredients diet, a moderate protein or fat diet as well as a high-quality food for your dog.
If your Australian Shepherd does not improve within 48 hours while at home, return them to the veterinarian for further tests and treatment.
How To Prevent Your Australian Shepherd From Throwing Up
Although occasional throwing up for an Australian Shepherd is normal, you can prevent your dog from experiencing it frequently. Preventive measures include:
Regular health check-ups
Regular health check-ups help to determine the health status of your Aussie which also allows for early detection of any illness.
Early detection of disease enables early treatment which prevents severe disease outcomes including throwing up.
Keep potential toxins out of reach
Keep potential toxins out of reach from your Australian Shepherd.
This includes gardening chemicals such as pesticides or household cleaning products. This prevents accidental ingestion of the products by your dog.
Motion sickness prevention
Motion sickness prevention helps prevent your Aussie from throwing up during car trips.
Prevention measures include not feeding them before traveling, anti-nausea medication, keeping the car quiet and cool, and taking short trips to slowly build your dog’s tolerance to trips.
Prevent dietary indiscretion
Prevent dietary indiscretion by limiting access to items they shouldn’t eat. Throwing up often occurs due to a dog eating non-food items or food they should not eat such as some human foods or garbage.
This often leads to your dog having an upset stomach and throwing up.
Prevent swallowing of foreign objects
Prevent swallowing of foreign objects by removal of items that your dog may accidentally swallow which could cause esophageal obstruction. This includes sticks, broken toys, or bones.
Summary: Australian Shepherd Throwing Up
An Australian Shepherd throwing up is alarming especially if it is continuous and frequent. Vomiting can be due to an illness that requires medical attention.
Occasional vomiting is not a cause for concern when it occurs once and your dog continues with their daily activities as usual. However, the danger comes in when they vomit more than once within an 8 -12 hour period.
Therefore take note of the frequency your Aussie vomits and also whether there are additional symptoms that indicate they are unwell.
Seek medical attention when your Aussie vomits continuously and has additional symptoms or behavior changes such as fever, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, weakness, diarrhea, dehydration, or vomiting of blood.