Vomit and Diarrhea

When Do You Need to Consult Your Veterinarian about Vomit and Diarrhea in Dogs and Cats?

All of our pets have the occasional "accident," but sometimes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs and cats is a reason to see the veterinarian right away. Here are some helpful guidelines from Forest Hill Animal Hospital, your veterinarian in Germantown, TN.


Vomit and Diarrhea in Dogs

There's no need to race to the vet the first time your dog experiences an episode of vomiting. Dogs can get the same "stomach bugs" that their people do. Spoiled food, which is usually wet dog food left out in your dog's bowl for too long, can become a Petri dish for E. coli and even Salmonella. Most dogs will get better in 24 hours if food poisoning is the cause. Withhold food for 24 hours after your dog experiences vomiting, but be sure that your dog has access to lots of water.

Diarrhea in dogs can also be caused by a stomach bug, but you don't need to withhold food when diarrhea is the predominant symptom. Give your dog bland, easily digested foods like boiled chicken (no bones!) and boiled rice until her stools become normal again. Then reintroduce your dog's usual diet.

When do you need to take your dog to your veterinarian for vomit or diarrhea? These are signs the problem is more serious than food poisoning:

  • Blood in the stool or vomit.
  • Profuse watery diarrhea or vomit.
  • Multiple attempts to vomit or defecate without producing output.
  • Tender abdomen or abdominal pain.
  • Depression.
  • Lethargy.

Vomit and Diarrhea in Cats

Not everything that looks like "vomit" in cats is actually vomit. When a cat coughs up a long, cylindrical tube of undigested food, usually coated with saliva, the problem isn't a "stomach bug." The problem is more likely to be eating too fast or a mechanical issue with the throat or esophagus. The process is more like coughing up a hairball, but feline vomiting of digested food is a different matter.

The most common problem causing both vomit and diarrhea in cats is changing food. Cats can be sensitive to some ingredient in their food that can take a while to track down. Help your cat by providing just one or two protein foods at a time, like cooked chicken (again, without bones), cooked fish (some cats love tuna but others are sensitive to it), and so on until symptoms improve. 

Make sure your cat isn't nervous about getting enough to eat. If you have multiple cats, provide each cat with his own food and water bowls. This cuts down the risk of passing an infectious disease and allows cats to eat without being rushed.

Take your cat to the vet if either diarrhea or vomiting won't stop, if there is blood in either vomit or diarrhea, if your cat seems to be suffering abdominal pain, or the cat just wants to hide all the time.

Forest Hill Animal Hospital Is Here to Help!

Don't hesitate to call your vet when you are worried about your canine or feline companion. Forest Hill Animal Hospital is here to help. Request an appointment online or call ahead to 901-730-8855. We are located at 3133 Forest Hill Irene Rd #102, Germantown, TN 38138.