Like humans it is not uncommon for dogs to vomit from time to time, however, as dogs are dependent on their owners and can’t say anything handling such situations is not always easy.
What to do if my Shih Tzu vomits? The first thing to do is not panic, vomiting can be caused by a number of things and not all of them are dangerous. We have put together a list of common reasons why your Shih Tzu might throw up and what you can do to help.
When dogs vomit their abdominal muscles contract very strongly several times before the food is actually ejected from the mouth, this completely drains the energy from the body and your pet may look very sick.
Along with throwing up frequently your Shih Tzu may show symptoms including pain, distress, weakness and a lethargic attitude. Some of the causes of vomiting in Shih Tzu include dietary indiscretion, sudden change in diet plan, habit of gobbling food, intolerance to a particular food, some kind of allergic reaction ingestion of obstructing objects, acute inflammation of the stomach and parasites.
As we have said previously, if your dog is bright and alert and only vomits a few times you can treat the problem at home and there is no need to call your veterinarian. However, if your pet appears really sick and vomiting does not stop after 24 hours, call your vet immediately.
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When your Shih Tzu vomits it is important not to serve any food for at least 12 hours for a puppy, and 24 hours for a full-grown dog. This allows the inflammation of the stomach lining to settle down to cure your dog’s vomiting, plus withholding food gives the gastrointestinal tract some rest and time to recover. There is also little chance of throwing up if your Shih Tzu is not eating anything.
Offer Ice Chips
Due to vomiting there is a high chance that your dog may become dehydrated, most dogs have trouble keeping water down when they start throwing up frequently, in fact gulping down water may cause the stomach to revolt bringing the water right back up.
Instead of water we recommend serving ice chips which most dogs love to eat. Ice chips will prevent your dog from becoming dehydrated and are far better than clean water in this situation, plus the coldness of the ice chips will make your pet feel much better.
Give Your Shih Tzu Ginger
When your dog starts having bouts of vomiting, try a ginger remedy for relief. The common native property of ginger will quickly calm down the stomach and stop your dog from throwing up. Apply a thin layer of honey on a piece of sandwich bread, next lightly sprinkle ginger powder on the honey and then feed the bread to your dog.
Just one dose of ginger will make your dog feel good. Another option is to simmer one tablespoon of freshly grated ginger root, or 1 TSP of ginger powder in 1/2 cup of coconut milk for about 10 minutes. Store this solution in a container and give your dog 1 to 3 teaspoons every 1 to 2 hours.
Give Your Shih Tzu Bland Rice.
After the initial few hours of fasting you can begin to introduce small amounts of bland food like white rice to your pet. Avoid giving pet food for a day or two as such foods may immediately upset his stomach again.
Combine 1 cup of cooked white rice and 1/4 cup of canned coconut milk, give it to your dog in an amount appropriate for his or her size. Feed 1 to 2 tablespoons every three to four hours too small dogs, feed half cup every three to four hours to medium-sized dogs and feed one cup every three to four hours to large dogs.
Continue this routine until the vomiting has completely ceased, then you can begin to reintroduce small amounts of your dog’s regular food.
Give Your Shih Tzu Chicken Broth
After a day it is important to serve some nutritious food to your pet to ensure faster recovery. Nutritious food like chicken broth will even help deal with early signs of mild dehydration, making chicken broth at home is very easy.
Put a pan of water on the stove to boil, add a couple of chicken bouillon cubes and cook until the chicken cubes dissolve. Allow the broth to cool down to room temperature then serve the broth to your dog in small amounts a few times during the day.
Please Note – Only use boneless chicken when preparing food for a sick dog
Give Your Shih Tzu Baby Food
After the initial fasting phase you can even offer baby food to your pet. Such food is easy on the stomach and will not induce further vomiting. Mix one part of any meat based baby food with two parts of cooked white rice add 1tsp of probiotic yogurt and mix it in well, give your dog small amounts to eat at regular intervals.
Some Reasons Why Your Shih Tzu Might Be Vomiting
There are a variety of reasons and scenarios that affect how we determine why a dog is vomiting. First, we need to consider if this is an acute problem…did it start today or is it a chronic problem…has it been going on for weeks?
Then we need to perform a physical exam and get some history on our patient. Unfortunately dogs don’t tell us if they got into something or what hurts. We have to do a little detective work.
Let’s consider an acute episode. Obviously your veterinarian is going to perform a physical exam to determine how urgent or critical your pet is. During the exam he or she will likely ask you a variety of questions.
For example: when did the vomiting start? Did they vomit food…bile… or is it just gagging or retching? Environmental changes should be considered…Are there any toxins or chemicals in the yard? Most people don’t think about the fertilizer recently placed on the grass or the rat poison put in the garage.
Have you noticed your dog chewing on any plants? Puppies will eat almost anything. Both indoor and outdoor plants such as Sago palms, oleander and lilies can be very toxic.
Dietary changes are another often overlooked factor. Did you change to a new brand of food? Did you give any recent treats or table scraps? Does your dog play with sticks, rocks, or chew on plastic or toys? These are all very important questions.
When you take your Shih Tzu to see your vet, some of the questions may vary based on the dog’s age, breed, and lifestyle. For example, A 9 month old Labrador Retriever that chews everything in the yard is a high risk to have ingested a poison or possibly swallowed an object and may be obstructed.
A different example is a 7-year-old Great Dane that is trying to vomit but nothing is coming up. This breed is very susceptible to a problem commonly referred to as “Bloat” where the stomach actually twist on itself and becomes distended. Both of these examples are very different and both are considered emergencies.
After completing the physical exam, your veterinarian will determine the most appropriate testing required. Initial diagnostic tests may include X-rays, to look for a foreign body, an obstruction, possible bloat, or even cancer.
Blood work can be very valuable in diagnosing conditions such as pancreatitis, liver disease, kidney failure or possibly a toxin ingested such as antifreeze or rat poison. Additional testing such as ultrasound and endoscopy may also be recommended.
We also mentioned chronic vomiting, that which has been going on for weeks or months. Many people don’t call their veterinarian because it is simply a couple times the first week and their dog is otherwise acting normal.
Only after several weeks do they call. The veterinarian will perform a physical exam, ask many of the same questions and possibly perform the same test as done in the acute episodes.
Diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, liver or kidney failure, and cancer can all seem mild in their early stages. However, once in their advanced stages, they can be much more difficult to cure or even treat.
With respect to treatment, there are many scenarios that will affect what your veterinarian decides to do. They may administer IV fluids and medication for cases of pancreatitis or kidney failure.
There are products such as activated charcoal that may be given to help absorb any toxins. In cases such as a bloat or obstruction, emergency surgery is necessary.
The bottom line is simple, if your dog just started vomiting, you need to call your veterinarian immediately for advice, don’t wait.
The Difference Between Acute And Chronic Vomiting
Vomiting is a really common problem in dogs but there is a difference between vomiting and regurgitation and you need to know the difference. To a layperson they probably sound exactly the same thing, but they certainly aren’t.
Regurgitation is when food is brought up pretty much intact, so when your dog eats something and it comes straight out again. It’s just literally regurgitates its food that’s been swallowed, then brought up again.
Regurgitation can indicate things like esophageal problems, but also dogs are actually very good at regurgitation. If a bitch is feeding a litter of pups it’s the things she’ll do naturally, she will regurgitate some of her food to feed the puppies.
The interesting thing is that dogs have a voluntary muscle in their esophagus which is a voluntary muscle. This voluntary muscle is a muscle your dog can control themselves, unlike muscles in the intestines which work away by themselves.
Most of the muscles inside us are automatic muscles, and one of the exceptions the rule is the muscle of the esophagus of a dog which is voluntary. In other words, dogs can decide they are going to regurgitate their food which they can do very easily.
That’s regurgitation but vomiting is different, vomiting is a forceful contraction of the stomach that expels all the contents of the stomach which include partially digested food.
Often vomit will happen after meals eaten, not instantly but is a much more concise violent kind of vomiting, where your dog kind of puts the whole body into bringing up the vomit.
It is quite common in dogs, it’s one of the more common reasons why dogs have to be brought to the vet, and one of the reasons is that dogs have evolved as scavengers, and what that means is that they’ve evolved to be very quick to eat something that they find.
What happens then is the body automatically assess what’s landed in their stomach and makes a sort of decision as to whether that’s good or bad. If it’s bad they will vomit and they’ll get rid of it, so dogs are quick to vomit compared to some other species.
Vomiting is a serious sign and vomiting can be split up into two different types. The first is acute vomiting, in other words dog vomit once, or twice, that’s called acute vomiting.
The second type is chronic vomiting, that’s where after three days your dog is still vomiting, so the two are very different things.
Acute vomiting is short term where we don’t have to worry about too much because as long as dog remains bright and well in themselves, it may just be part of their natural function of expelling something they don’t want from the stomach.
So if your dog vomits once, generally as long as they’re bright and cheerful and in good form we wouldn’t do too much, apart from withholding their food. Just offer them water for the day, just a bit of a gap between their food and then instead of their regular food give them something that’s highly digestible.
For example, some scrambled eggs with boiled white rice, or even a special tin of low residue bland diet that your vet can supply you with.
So for simple case of vomiting simple withholding of food and then bland diet for 24 hours will be enough to fix most problems.
If your dog’s been vomiting for two or three days, but still bright and cheerful but it’s been for two or three days this is a chronic vomiting case and you do need to take them to the vet. Your vet will check over your dog carefully, often they’ll need to do certain tests to rule out some of the serious causes of vomiting.
An examples of a tests they might do would be a blood test that will tell them about your dog’s level of hydration as well as some things like whether their internal organs are working properly.
Things like liver disease, kidney disease, pancreatic disease could all cause vomiting. Blood tests will check for all those things and hopefully reassure you that those organs are all working normally.
The vet may also recommend x-rays, a common cause of chronic vomiting would be a foreign body which means something stuck in the intestines. Some dogs have a habit of picking up stones and rocks and if swallowed can cause your dog to vomit.
Stones can get stuck inside your dog but an x-rays will show them up as a big white area, you’d also see a pattern of gas around the stone. X-rays will show anything stuck inside your dog where there’s a foreign body.
Once your vets examined your dog and they’ve done blood tests to make sure everything is working normally inside, and the x-rays show that there’s nothing stuck inside your dog it’s then a case of giving treatment.
If you want to rule out the more serious causes you’re down to things like viruses or nonspecific irritations of the stomach, which can cause repeated vomiting. That’s often treated with drugs to calm down the stomach acidity and to block the vomiting reflux.
There are exceptional cases where once the bloods and x-rays are all normal and the dog has given the treatment and they still continue to vomit, then it can get more complicated.
If there are no obvious signs then your vet might suggest an endoscopy of your dog to take biopsies of the stomach, to see if there is any other strange reason why your dog can be vomiting.
The color of the vomit can give us some clue about its origin.
Shih Tzu Vomiting White Foam
The most common causes are indigestion or excessive exercise after a meal.
Shih Tzu Vomiting Yellow Foam
A symptom of acidity in the stomach, common in dogs that do not eat adequate food.
Shih Tzu Vomiting Green Foam
Generally due to your dog eating grass, although it can also be gastritis or an allergy.
Shih Tzu Vomiting Brown Foam
As in the previous cases, it may be due to indigestion, gastritis, or by coprophagia (ealing poo) which is a common problem with puppies.
Shih Tzu Vomiting Red Vomit
A red color in vomit indicates the presence of blood so this is not a good sign. If you see red in your dog’s vomit don’t hesitate to go to your vet.