Thank you so much for the helpful advice. I gave him some boiled chicken and rice after I got your response and he scarfed it right down and actually started looking a lot better. Then last night he was up off and on making hacking noises like he was trying to vomit. He did not end up vomitting last night, at all, so I gave him a little more chicken and rice this morning. I took him to my mom's for Thanksgiving so we could watch over him and he threw up the chicken and rice and slept most of the time.
When we got home he threw up a couple more times, but it was mostly stomach bile and grass probably from yesterday when I caught him eating it. I think this was the last of what all he ate yesterday and I was trying to decide tonight whether to give him more food or have him fast. He was shivering a little bit so I decided to put some water on the chicken and rice and try to get him to eat it to keep him hydrated and keep his caloric intake up. He actually refused the food tonight so I gave him some Nutrical and decided I should probably just take him to the vet in the morning since he is still acting lethargic and now finicky...
I felt his gums to make sure he wasn't too dehydrated and he didn't seem to be too bad so I think it will be okay to take him in the morning instead of taking him to the emergency vet tonight. I'm sure I will be sleeping with one eye open anyways so I'll be checking up on him. LOL
I'm worried because he has been lethargic for a couple of days now and even more so now that today he has been vomitting food up and refusing food this evening. I don't know how long it takes for them to get something out of their system when they have eaten something bad, but I guess I will see whether he is looking better in the morning or whether he stills looks lethargic and make the decision whether or not to take him to the vet.
I'm just hesitant because I know when you take them to the vet with no clue as to what could be wrong, they run every test known to man just to rule things out and I do not have the money to pay for all of the tests. I think I can manage the office fee and blood work, but anything else will be pushing it.
Thanks again for your help. I really hope he feels better in the morning.
Just so this may help anyone else looking at my question who might have a dog with similar symptoms...
We took my dog to the emergency vet because he started vomiting all night long. We requested that the vet perform bloodwork (that I thought at first he would not need because maybe he just ate something that upset his stomach.) After being lethargic for a few days and progressively getting worse and worse...I felt it was necessary to rule out anything serious. I tried to keep him hydrated overnight (because of his frequent vomiting) with a medicine syringe with water in it. I let the water trickle down his throat so he could swallow it and even though he kept throwing it back up 20 minutes later, I still felt like I was helping at least keep him somewhat hydrated.
The bloodwork confirmed what I was most worried about...he had severe kidney failure. His creantine level was a 6.5 so they put him quickly on IV fluids and he has been there since. Our vet thinks he will probably be able to make a full recovery and go home tomorrow with a special diet. This was really scary for us. He is like a kid to my husband and I.
Now I understand what serious symptoms to look for if a dog has eaten something toxic. Looking back on Monday, I now realize that his arched back while giving him a bath was his first sign. On Tuesday he was looking weak and walking around kind of spaced out and vomited once. Wednesday he was acting very lethargic, but still drinking water and eating the boiled chicken and rice I gave him. Thursday he was still acting lethargic, but ate some more boiled chicken and rice and then vomited a few hours later and then started vomiting more and more frequent. He kept me up all night Thursday night vomiting and refused water, food, and even nutrical. Friday morning we took him to the vet first thing and we are so glad we did when we did because if not he probably would not have made it. So he has been at the vet's office over the weekend on the IV fluids flushing his kidneys out and tomorrow (Monday) he will have his bloodwork tested again and hopefully will be able to come home.
Our vet thinks it could have been anything toxic like a grape or raisin (which I know we do not have at our house) or something he found in our backyard that was extremely toxic. He is the type of dog that gets into things and eats everything so I am surprised and feel he's very lucky that it took this long for something like this to happen to him. Despite our efforts to keep everything up high from him, he still manages to surprise us and climb or do whatever it takes to get to something he knows he shouldn't have. We're talking about a 10lb teeny Maltese here too... he was climbing kiddie gates and knocking big trash cans over as a puppy! He is so smart, he even outsmarts our efforts to keep things away from him sometimes.
I definitely will not take these signs lightly from here on out. I am very thankful that it was found in time and I'm eating my words above about not wanting to waste money on bloodwork. Thanks for your help! I hope this helps anyone else as well who might have a lethargic animal with the same symptoms. Our poor animals have no way of telling us what is wrong, so we must learn how to assess their serious symptoms so we know when its okay to treat at home or what serious signs we should recognize immediately to know when they need to see a vet.