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Dr.Fiona, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
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Dog cant keep her food down. what can I do

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Dog can't keep her food down. what can I do?

Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer!

I would like to help you and your dog with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

When was she last totally normal?

When did she last eat?

What breed or mix of breeds is she?


Edited by Dr.Fiona on 8/19/2010 at 12:47 PM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
She ate nornally on Tuesday morning, but vomited in the afternoon and has lost each meal thereafter. We tried the canned food last nite (Wednesday). She is a schnauzer, poodle mix.
Ok, and the week or so prior to the onset of this problem, did your little dog eat anything different from her normal dog food?

Anything high in fat (cheese, barbecue, pizza, steak, etc)?

Is she bright and active, or is she lethargic and depressed?

Can she keep down water?

What does she weigh?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
She occasionally is given a bit of cheese, but this is normal. Nothing else unusual. She is somewhat lethargic, but brightens up for her walks. She seems to keep water down, but is drinking less than usual. She weighs approx 16 lbs.

Hi again,

There are a lot of different possibilities for what may be going on with your little dog. The ones that I would be considering if she came to see me are:

1. One of the things that I think of first (though almost always in young dogs) is that she may have a Gastrointestinal Foreign Body.

Dogs eat the strangest things - plastic bags, children's toys, bones, bits of towel, socks, rocks and other things. Often, these foreign bodies pass through the intestinal tract, but sometimes they do not. They may get caught in the stomach or the small intestines.

The symptoms of a GI foreign body are generally vomiting, loss of appetite, depression and dehydration. If your dog consumed an object that is caught in the stomach or small intestines, it might explain the symptoms that you are seeing. This would be particularly true if the object were something like a ball that could bob over pylorus (outflow from the stomach) and then move away again. Thus, water could pass through but not food.

In the case of an obstruction, surgery is often needed to remove the foreign object. I will include further information about GI foreign bodies:

If I examined your schnauzer, poodle mix and was concerned about a foreign body, I would probably recommend x-rays to see if a foreign object were visible. A rock would show up very well on x-rays. A plastic bag would not show up on x-rays. It does, however, show up very well if the dog is given some barium (a type of milkshake like drink) by mouth. Then a determination can be made about how best to get this out of the dog, or whether it might move through on its own.

I would be much more concerned about this if your dog were only 2 or 3 years old. Older dogs are usually more sensible.

2. It is possible your schnauzer, poodle mix simply has gastroenteritis from eating something she shouldn't have.

Table scraps (cheese) or grass, twigs and leaves could be the culprit! Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines and can be caused by a large number of things, including sudden dietary changes.

3. A bacterial infection:

Dogs can be affected by overgrowths of bacteria in the intestines. In an adult dog these might not be more than a nuisance. The 3 most common are Campylobacter, Salmonella and E.Coli.

Here is a link with more information:

4. Pancreatitis -

This is an inflammation of the pancreas, often triggered by a high fat meal. Cheese could certainly trigger this, though that amount of cheese does not seem much. If she had a hamburger with that cheese, that would be more likely to trigger pancreatitis.

With "acute pancreatitis" dogs are very sick, with severe vomiting, painful belly and fever.

However, with a low-grade, chronic fulminant pancreatitis it is basically a "slow burn" version of acute pancreatitis. The pancreas remains inflamed, with periods of pain and nausea, and vomiting intermittently.

Pancreatitis is a serious medical problem and is diagnosed by having bloodwork done and possibly x-rays. Dogs with pancreatitis may need to go on a course of antibiotics to treat the chronic pancreatitis and may need a prescription food to "put out the fire" of this chronic problem. Typically the diet is ultra-low fat. At first dogs may not want to eat it because of feeling nauseated and it does not tempt her. But with medications they soon feel *much* better and keep feeling well if they stays on an appropriate food.

For more information:

The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that there are a number of possibilities for what may be going on. Your vet would need to do a physical exam and possibly some diagnostic tests to figure out what the underlying problem is. I would start with a fecal sample, blood test and abdominal x-rays. It sounds like it is time to find out what is going on!

If she is feeling unwell at the moment, there are some things you can do at home until you can get her in to the vet:

1. WITH-HOLD FOOD for 24 hours since she has been vomiting today.

This gives the intestines a chance to rest and heal.

2. When she is fasting, she can have lots of clear fluids. DO NOT START THESE UNTIL IT HAS BEEN 4 HOURS SINCE SHE LAST VOMITED!

So, water is fine, but also she can have chipped ice, pedialyte, Gatorade, apple juice diluted 50:50 with water, or onion -free chicken or beef broth diluted 50:50 with water. Give the fluids in small amounts frequently. For a dog this size that means about 1/4 cup every 30 min.

3. After 24 hours, you can start your dog back on a bland diet.

For patients that I see, I recommend a mixture of 75% cooked white rice, and 25% low fat protein. For the protein you could use extra lean ground beef, boiled with the fat scooped off, or chicken breast boiled with fat scooped off or even scrambled egg cooked without fat in the microwave. Feed small frequent meals. For a dog this size, I would suggest 2 to 3 tablespoons every 3 to 4 hours.

4. After 1-2 days on the rice mix, you would gradually change your dog back to the normal dog food.

So, on day 3, give the rice mixture, but bigger meals, spaced further apart. On day 4, mix a little tiny bit of the normal food in there, and decrease the frequency so it is down to 3 meals or so. And so on.

5. Keep your dog as quiet as possible - just out to relieve herself and back in.

If your schnauzer, poodle mix continues to vomit, develops blood in the stool, is lethargic or shows signs of abdominal pain, please contact a veterinarian promptly. Hopefullly, she will not vomit again. My top concern would be gastroenteritis from eating things like grass and twigs, perhaps exacerbated by the cheese. Good luck with your dog!

If this has been helpful, please "Accept" my answer and provide feedback.

If you need more information, just click on reply and I will try to provide it!

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.


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