Why is my dog shivering & vomiting?

Vomiting in dogs is quite common, and can be caused by many factors. Some are easily resolved, but in some cases, vomiting can be a symptom of a more serious illness which requires medical attention. Shivering can be caused by cold, fear, hunger or pain. It can also be caused by the discomfort of vomiting.


Most vomiting is caused by an irritation in the lining of the stomach. Food indiscretion is a main cause. Overeating or eating objects that are not food will start the vomit reflex. Even small objects can cause a blockage. A foreign body in the intestine will likely require surgery. If overeating is the problem, feed smaller, more frequent meals. Keep garbage out of reach. Puppies and other chewers should be monitored, or kennelled when left alone.


Vomiting can be symptomatic of many different types of diseases. Ulcers of the stomach or intestine is one type. Often there will be blood in the vomit, and this is a serious condition. Certain infections, parasites, kidney or liver disease, and diabetes all can make a dog vomit. Tumours somewhere in the gastrointestinal tract might also cause vomiting. It can be seen with Cushing's or Addison's diseases as well. All of these diseases will have other symptoms and a vet should be consulted for a diagnosis.


Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, or bloat, should be taken as a special consideration. It has a sudden onset and if left untreated, fatal. GDV normally occurs in large, deep-chested dogs after eating a large meal. The stomach will bloat and sometimes twist on itself, cutting off circulation to the intestines. Symptoms include vomiting, then dry retching. The dog will be become uncomfortable, tired, weak, and restless. The abdomen will grow large in size and be very firm to the touch. Immediate surgery is required to save the dog's life.

At Home

If no other symptoms are present, and the dog appears otherwise healthy, treatment can begin at home. Start by withholding food and water for twelve hours. If vomiting has stopped, start with ice chips and small amounts of water. Try this slowly over several hours. If there is still no vomiting, give a smaller than usual bland diet. You can either purchase some from a vet, or cook your dog some beef, boiled chicken, and white rice.


Vomiting can cause dehydration and loss of electrolytes. Puppies, geriatrics and dogs with pre-existing conditions are not able to handle this as well. All should be seen by a veterinarian right away. Any dogs with other signs, such as weakness, lethargy or diarrhoea need medical attention. Also, if the vomiting does not stop after taking away food and water, or recurs later, take the dog in immediately.

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About the Author

Nicole Trawick is currently an emergency veterinary technician, with an Associate of Applied Science degree in veterinary technology. Her writing can be seen on Associated Content and she mostly writes about pet health issues.