Walter and I were talking about your 7 yr old Heeler. I totally agree with everything Walter has mentioned about food sensitivities and allergies!
The other thing that I started to wonder about (when you mentioned that your dog vomits first thing when she goes outside) is whether she might have bilious vomiting syndrome.
Basically, in dogs their stomachs are tiny and their metabolisms are fast. They use up the food in their stomach very quickly, and then their stomach is empty. The stomach contains gastric acid, which is very irritating to the stomach lining, especially when there is no food to soak it up. When the stomach is empty, the acid irritates the stomach so much that the dog starts to feel nauseated. Then, she won't eat. So, the stomach remains empty and irritated. The dog then vomits - and it is stomach acid and bile that comes up!.
So, it becomes a cycle - empty stomach --> nauseated --> vomit --> nauseated and so on.
The way to break the cycle is to get your dog eating many many small meals. Sometimes we have to give dogs with this problem an antacid to help them - common options are cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid) or ranitidine (Zantac).
Here is more about Tagamet:
More about Pepcid:
And more about Zantac:
Keeping your dog's stomach from getting empty will also help to break this cycle. This is particularly true of a bed-time meal. She needs to have something just before going to sleep in order to prevent her stomach from getting so empty overnight.
Also, it is *really* important that she eats very soon after waking in the morning, even before going out to void. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, so that we can get that stomach acid soaked up in some food and prevent the stomach from getting irritated. So, even if you have to resort to giving her half a slice of bread or low-fat crackers, then do that to get her to eat before you send her outside.
So, in summary, it sounds to me that your dog sometimes vomits bile and stomach acid because her stomach gets irritated from being empty for long periods. This is best treated by giving frequent small meals and antacids if needed.
Here's a link:
If getting your dog to eat breakfast is a challenge, you could try canned easy-to-digest foods from your vet (I/D or Gastro are a couple of brands) or pick up some jars of human baby food. Just make very sure the baby food has no onions, onion powder, garlic or garlic powder in it. Beech Nut makes a line of baby food that has nothing but meat (beef, chicken, turkey or veal) in it. Here's a link:
If you cannot find this, you could find another meat baby food - just read the label carefully to be sure there are no onions, onion powder, garlic, or garlic powder in it. YOu could put this as a little gravy on his crunchies.
Sometimes offering the food on your finger for her to lick it off will get her started on eating. Sometimes you have to put a bit in her mouth to get a dog started.
So, your girl may be vomiting the food because of allergies, and vomiting bile because of bilious vomiting syndrome. These are fairly easy to manage with the suggestions that Walt has given, and by feeding multiple small meals (breakfast, dinner, and a bed-time snack for example) and sometimes by giving acid-blockers as mentioned above.
If your dog is not improving with these measures, or is depressed, lethargic or losing weight, then I suggest you have her checked by her veterinarian.
Fiona, and the team at Just Answer!