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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
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Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My West Highland Terrier keeps going into the garden and sitting

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My West Highland Terrier keeps going into the garden and sitting on her bottom and then being sick. This has been going on for three or four days now.

Thank you for your question.

How many times a day is she vomiting?

What is she bringing up?

Is she eating/drinking?
Is she keeping food and water down?

Could she have gotten into something she shouldn't have (ie toxins, non-edible items, trash or too much turkey)?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

On average once a day.


It is difficult to tell as she then eats it too quickly but what is left looks like flakes of food.


She is drinking and I have reduced her dried food to a handful to see if that helps.


Not that I am aware of the only thing I could have in the garden is frogs or toads which we are prone to. She has not had any turkey at all.


Many thanks for your help


Thank you for the additional information.


If she eats a diet with dry food and gobbles it quickly, it is worth noting that the dry kibble's expansion in the stomach can cause stomach distension leading to vomiting. Therefore, if she vomits just after her meal, then this is a consideration and it would be worth swapping to a wet food diet to see if this settles.


Otherwise, when we see a dog show vomiting, we do have to consider a range of causes. The most common reasons for a dog her age to vomit are dietary indiscretion (eating something she shouldn’t have), ingestion of a foreign body (ie toys, bones, trash, etc.), viral infections (ie parvo, distemper, etc), toxins, metabolic disease, organ troubles, and bacterial gastroenteritis. Since she isn't a mischievous wee soul, then hopefully we can put worries like toxins and foreign bodies (which we' d want to address as soon as possible) lower on our list of concerns.

So, if we can put those concerns lower on our list, then you can try and settle her stomach at home. First, you can try to settle her stomach by resting it by withholding food for 8-12 hours.She should have access to water at all times, but in small amounts since over drinking can induce vomiting as well. (f she does have a reasonable amount of water and cannot keep that down, then we'd have to consider having her seen sooner so that she can be treated with anti-vomiting/sickness medication.)

If you haven’t seen further vomiting by that point, then I would advise giving him a small volume of a light/easily digestible diet. Examples of this would be boiled chicken with rice, boiled white fish and pasta scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), or cottage cheese with rice. There are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis, (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity).You want to offer a small amount (1 tbsp) and if she keeps that down, a bit more can be offered about thirty minutes later. If no vomiting is seen, then you can increase the volume you are feeding. I usually advise that the diet be continued until the vomiting is settled, and that they are then slowly weaned back to their normal diet over a week.

If you are concerned that she is become dehydrated, then you do want to check her hydration. When checking a pet's hydration status, there are a few things we can test. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether the pet has a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a wee video on this HERE.

If her vomiting has settled at this point, you can can offer or even syringe feed her pedialyte. A typical maintenance rate for hydration in an animal is 48 milliliters per kilogram of body weight per day. This value will give you the total she needs for the day (though doesn’t take into account vomiting losses) and is a good starting point to give you an idea of her daily requirement. If she vomits you given pedialyte, I would discontinue this as a therapy. (since we don’t want her vomiting more because of our intervention). As well, if her vomiting hasn't settled, then syringing won't be an option without anti-vomiting medication from her vet.

As well, you can consider addressing nausea as it will likely be the cause of her vomiting. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the two I tend to recommend are Pepcid (LINK) or Zantac (LINK). This medication of course shouldn’t be given without consulting your vet if he does have any pre-existing conditions or is on any other medications. Ideally, it should be given about 30 minutes before food to ease her upset gut signs.

So, do consider swapping to an all wet or light diet for her to see if the kibble and her quick eating is too blame. Otherwise, if you initiate these treatments and do not see improvement over the next 24-4 hours or she cannot keep water down, then I would advise following up with her vet so that they can address possible causes of vomiting. They will just be able to double check she hasn't eaten anything she should not have. And if necessary, they can provide antibiotics and anti-vomiting medication to help her get back to feeling like herself.

I hope this information is helpful.
Please do let me know if you have any further questions.
If you have no further questions, feedback is always appreciated.

All the best,

Dr. B.


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Hi Paula,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Millie. How is everything going?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Many thanks for following up. I removed food for 12 hours and then reintroduced it in small amounts keeping her on the dry food. I have however reduced her water dramatically as I thought I should always leave a full bowl of water for her to drink from but she gulps it down and when you mentioned about the swelling of the dried food this made sense. She has not been sick for four days now so I think she is better and hopefully this action has resolved the issue. Many thanks for your help.

Thank you for the update.

We do like to free access to water when they are feeling well (so I wouldn't keep her on limited for the long term), but if they are actively vomiting they can overdo it on the water. That said, while I am glad that she has settled down and is doing well, your mention of the water makes me a wee bit concerned and curious. Do you feel that Millie drinks excessively?

If she does, it might be a hint that there is something more subtle behind her signs. (ie kidney disease, liver disease, even diabetes which seems quite common in our WHWT breed). So, if you do think she had been drinking quite a lot normally then do consider measuring her water intake for a few days on free access water.

You can do this my measuring what you put in and re-measuring in 24 hours, taking into account any refills. A dog should on average drink 48 mls per kilogram of body weight. If she is well over that, then we'd have to consider possible underlying issues and want her vet to perhaps check a blood sample.

Alternatively, you can collect a urine sample, and they can use this to rule out overt kidney disease (if the urine is normally concentrated) and test the urine for glucose/ketones to determine if diabetes might be a subtle issue for wee Millie.

Overall, I am glad to hear she is improving but if limiting the water has been the key to settling her down, we have to ask ourselves why that is the case. So, you could consider a swap to a wet diet to remove the need to limit water. But more so, I'd double check how much she is drinking naturally and perhaps consider having a urine sample checked just to make sure there isn't anything amiss that she isn't telling us about.

Take care,
Dr. B.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Many thanks for this. I dont feel that she drinks water excessively just that she gulps it down very quickly indeed. I will measure what she drinks over the next few days. Many thanks again.


You are very welcome.

That is fair enough if she is a gulper, I just wanted to make sure there wasn't something more subtle that we might not be catching (if you know what I mean).

All the best,
Dr. B.