Vomiting Treatment for Dogs and Cats

Treatment options for vomiting pets

When pet vomiting is short-lived, your pet may need only 24 hours of eating an easily digestible food, such as chicken broth. If vomiting is severe, your pets need IV fluids and hospital care. If vomiting is chronic, your pet may need a highly nutritious diet, fatty acids, and probiotics to re-establish health.

Diet for vomiting pets

Diet modifications help many vomiting pets. For most pets it is best to stop all foods for 12-24 hours and to offer only water, ice cubes and broth. As your pet improves, provide small frequent feedings of something that is low fat, low protein, and easy to digest. For example, feed a gruel made from mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, boiled white rice, or baby food. Offer homemade chicken broth without salt or seasoning. As vomiting improves, offer a single protein source with the carbohydrate, such as boiled chicken or low-fat cottage cheese with mashed potatoes.

Regular dried dog and cat kibble, even moistened, is difficult for vomiting pets to digest. Once vomiting has resolved, pets often do best if fed a premium, natural pet food.

Recommended pet medications for vomiting in dogs and cats
More treatment options for vomiting dogs and cats

Rehydrating your pet at home is easy if your pet drinks water, sucks on ice cubes, or takes diluted broth. For short-term rehydration, a human hydration product, such as Gatorade is acceptable, but human products are not ideal in the long term.

If your pet doesn't drink fluids, IV or subcutaneous fluids will be necessary. Signs that your pet is dehydrated are: dry, tacky gums; eyes that appear sunken; and skin that stays tented when pinched.


Tiny ions of hydrogen, chloride, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium keep the brain, heart, and muscles functioning. When these ions are in solution, ready for action, they are called electrolytes. Pets lose electrolytes when they vomit. Pets also lose electrolytes because they are not consuming a normal diet. Some electrolytes, such as potassium, are not stored in the body and need to be constantly supplied in the diet. Without potassium, the heart stops working.

Although dehydration and electrolyte loss are the two immediate health threats, vomiting pets have additional problems. The intestines don't work because there is no bulk to stimulate the passage of stool. These pets become constipated and strain to pass small, hard stools.

Stop your pet's vomiting

Chlorpromazine (Rx) and Metoclopramide (Rx) stop vomiting by acting on the brain.

Treat your pet's ulcers

If your pet is vomiting because he or she has ulcers, your veterinarian may recommend Ranitidine or prescribe Cimetadine (Rx) or Omeprazole (Rx). To coat your pet's stomach so that the ulcers can heal, your veterinarian may prescribe Sucralfate.

Improve GI motility

If your pet is vomiting because the intestines aren't contracting and nothing is moving through the GI tract, your veterinarian may prescribe Metoclopramide (Rx). Metoclopramide is helpful for pets with vomiting caused by gastroesophageal reflux, kidney failure, and infections like parvo. Metoclopramide is not used if your pet has a bleeding ulcer, bloat, or an obstruction that prevents the stomach and intestines from working.

Provide healthy intestinal bacteria

Supplements that supply good microorganisms to colonize the intestines are called probiotics. Probiotics protect your pet against inflammation, infection, diarrhea, and cancer. NaturVet Digestive Enzymes Plus Probiotic is a powdered source of gut-friendly microorganisms, such as Lactobacillus Acidophilus. Another source of highly concentrated probiotics is Fast Balance-G.I. Most dogs and cats enjoy the flavor of Fast Balance-G.I.

Eliminate worms

Dogs can vomit because they have worms. You can give your dog over-the-counter Panacur C, which is effective against stomach worms, esophageal worms, roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. Although cats can safely use Panacur C, it is not approved for use in cats by the FDA. For cats with worms, Drontal (Rx) can be prescribed.

Immune stimulant

Pets vomiting due to infection need antibiotics if the infection is cause by bacteria. If vomiting is due to a virus, such as parvo or distemper, pets need supportive care and immune stimulants. Vetri-Science makes a liquid immune stimulant with dimethylglycine, called Vetri-DMG.

Elevate food bowls

Pets with regurgitation benefit from being fed gruel (food consisting of cereal, oats, or wheat) and from having their pet food bowls elevated so that food doesn't need to travel uphill to reach the stomach. These pets also need to rest quietly after eating.

Antibiotics for aspiration pneumonia

Aspiration pneumonia is a problem for vomiting or regurgitating pets. Aspiration pneumonia is caused when not all the food is ejected out the mouth and some is accidentally inhaled (aspirated) into the lungs. Because food is not sterile, an immediate, severe pneumonia develops. Aspiration pneumonia kills vomiting pets and is one reason vomiting and regurgitation are such serious health risks. For aspiration pneumonia, veterinarians prescribe antibiotics such as Clavamox (Rx) and Baytril (Rx).

Prevent constipation

Prevent constipation by providing Be Well for Dogs, an organic, freshly ground flax and molasses (sugar removed) supplement. Most pets find Be Well delicious because it also contains oyster, fish, and organic sprouted barley. Be Well provides fiber (to prevent constipation), potassium and other electrolytes, and 1000 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids for dogs and 250 mg for cats. Omega 3 fatty acids help ease inflammation so that the stomach and intestines function normally.