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Dog Nausea: 8 Signs and How to Treat It

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Your usually food-motivated dog hasn’t been as excited at mealtime, or maybe your dog has been a little more drooly as of late. Dog nausea can happen for a variety of reasons, some of which can be easily managed at home and some of which are serious. 

Read on to learn more about nausea in dogs and how to help your nauseous dog.

Signs of Dog Nausea

Unfortunately, your dog can’t tell you that they’re nauseous. Instead, you have to rely on their body language, vocalizations, and other dog nausea symptoms to figure out that they’re not feeling their best. 

Signs of nausea in dogs include:

Common Causes of Nausea in Dogs

Nausea in dogs has an array of potential causes, and teasing out what’s causing a dog’s nausea can sometimes be tricky. Pet parents should consult their veterinarians if they notice any symptoms of nausea in their dog. 

Causes of nausea in dogs include:

This list of dog nausea causes is by no means all-inclusive. As you can see, some of the causes would require emergency attention (like anaphylaxis or GDV) while others may not (motion sickness or changing foods too quickly). 

If your nauseous dog is vomiting multiple times, unproductively retching, lethargic, not eating, or also having diarrhea, you should contact a veterinarian right away.

At-Home Treatment for Dog Nausea

If your dog has a mild case of nausea with no other concerning symptoms, your veterinarian may speak with you about how to treat dog nausea at home. Remember to always check with your veterinarian before managing your pet at home. 

The following tips may help for at-home dog nausea treatment:

  • Withhold food from your pet for around 12 hours, but do not withhold water.
  • Feed a bland diet for a few days. The bland diet can be two parts boiled white rice to one part boiled chicken. Do not add any salt or seasonings and prepare in water only. Your veterinarian may provide you with a different bland diet recipe or allow you to pick up a prescription bland diet. After several days and symptom resolution, slowly transition back to your pet’s regular diet.
  • When you reintroduce food, make sure to give a small meal every few hours instead of one or two large meals per day. 
  • Do not give your dog any anti-nausea medications unless recommended by your veterinarian.

Anti-Nausea Medications for Dogs

Your veterinarian may recommend a prescription anti-nausea medication for dogs after ensuring your pet is well-hydrated.

Medications that provide dog nausea relief include:

Maropitant (Cerenia): This medication is one of the most common anti-nausea drugs used in dogs. It’s also commonly used for pets with motion sickness. 

Ondansetron (Zofran): This medication is used to treat vomiting and nausea in dogs.

Metoclopramide (Reglan): This medication is an antiemetic and is used to help increase motility in the intestines.

Omeprazole (Prilosec): This medication helps reduce stomach acid and may be useful for dogs who have stomach ulcers.

Famotidine (Pepcid): This medication helps reduce stomach acid more rapidly than omeprazole. It is used for more immediate relief than omeprazole.

Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine): This medication helps reduce vomiting and motion sickness. The drug meclizine has a similar function.

If your pet is experiencing an emergency, they may need specialized surgery and/or treatment in the veterinary hospital. Keep in mind that some nauseous dogs may not be willing to take medications by mouth or may vomit their medications back up. If this is the case, you may need to see your veterinarian for injectable anti-nausea drugs.

When Is Dog Nausea an Emergency

Dog nausea can be a sign of a medical or surgical emergency. If you suspect an emergency, contact your veterinarian or seek emergency medical attention right away.  

The following are signs that your dog is experiencing an emergency:

  • Uncontrolled vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Unproductive retching
  • Lethargy and dumpiness
  • Extreme abdominal pain (yelping or attempting to bite when touched)
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Complete disinterest in food
  • Unable to keep water down
  • Collapse
  • Swelling of the face or limbs
  • Hives

How to Prevent Nausea in Dogs

To prevent your pet from experiencing nausea, follow these tips:

  • Avoid feeding table scraps
  • Get pet-proof garbage cans and cupboards
  • Keep medications, cleaning supplies, and other chemicals out of your dog’s reach
  • Keep your pet up to date on their vaccines and parasite preventives
  • Keep mealtimes regular and feed the same food consistently
  • If changing diets, do so slowly over the course of a week
  • Try probiotics designed for gastrointestinal health
  • Have your pet’s blood and urine testing completed at annual wellness visits to detect systemic health issues early
  • Only give your pet access to toys when they’re monitored
  • If your dog eats objects when outside, consider training them to tolerate a basket muzzle
  • Keep tempting objects like socks or underwear off the ground
  • Spay your non-breeding female dogs

Remember to contact your veterinarian first before attempting any at-home management of nausea in dogs. If you are at all concerned that your pet is experiencing an emergency, get them evaluated right away.