Every dog vomits - and a lot more often than we do. It is a natural reflex of removing any foreign objects that the dog may have ingested. Scavenging is a major reason for Vomiting - unless untrained using rigid German Shepherd dog training.
For the most part you can ignore Vomiting, but every now and then it can be a symptom of something worse: Compare the warning signs of the other ailments in the My German Shepherd Health Manual.
Who Gets Vomiting Problems
Vomiting does not relate to a particular dog breed. Instead it relates to the specific health problems a dog may have. Acute Vomiting can be caused by a sudden change in diet or the ingestion of something your dog’s body cannot digest. It can also result from quick ingestion of food, particularly dry food. But hopefully you won't feed dry food anyway, and this stainless steel Eat-Slow bowl should allow you to effectively stop that food gulping once and for all.
Finally, parasites and worms too can cause Vomiting in your German Shepherd. Roundworms are particularly common causes of Vomiting, along with Giardia and Coccidia, which will sometimes show in the feces or vomit.
If your GSD vomits repeatedly, it could mean that the digestive tract is blocked by a foreign object or that your dog ingested a poison. Obstructions will often be accompanied by Bloat (see 4) and a complete lack of movement as well.
Note that it is rare that a dog vomits for a reason other than something the dog has ingested earlier. However, the vomiting may start anytime from a second after ingestion to hours after ingestion. At night, when the metabolism is down, vomiting could even start many hours after ingestion.
Where vomiting is a serious health issue, the vomiting normally is accompanied by other symptoms including Diarrhea (see 22), lethargy, behavioural problems and more. Additionally, if your dog vomits multiple times, it can be a sign of something worse.
There are two forms of Vomiting you need to be wary of: If your dog suddenly vomits multiple times, it could be a medical emergency and should be treated immediately. Also, if your dog vomits every day or every week, it could be a chronic issue related to a disorder like an allergy or cancer, or related to a defect like a narrowing esophagus, or related to a disease like a viral, fungal, or bacterial infection.
Avoiding and Treating Vomiting
To avoid Vomiting as much as possible, don't give your dog dry food (kibble), avoid large meals, prevent fast eating (this Eat-Slow bowl is ideal), train your dog not to scavenge, and always provide ample amounts of fresh water.
Ensuring that your dog won't eat too fast is essential, and an effective Eat-Slow bowl helps with that. Place the Eat-Slow bowl in an enclosed area (simple plinths fixed on the ground will do) which is as large as you want your dog to move the bowl around. The more the bowl moves, the slower your dog will eat, but the more you may have to clean up.
Both the sturdy plastic Eat-Slow bowl and the stainless steel Eat-Slow bowl not only substantially reduce or even eliminate Vomiting, they also significantly reduce Bloat and hence also the risk of Gastric Torsion (see 4). In addition, slower eating means that your German Shepherd will digest the food better, so that its metabolism makes better use of the nutrients in the food. This also means that your dog will sooner feel full, will eat less, and will scavenge less. Finally, these bowls perfectly match our advice to serve your dog two or three smaller meals during the day, rather than a single large meal.
Don't let your dog play with anything that could easily be ingested if your dog gets too carried away. All German Shepherd toys should be of suitable 1) size, 2) weight, 3) shape, and 4) material.
Don't let your GSD chew on eg household items that may have a hazardous paint, varnish or other form of coating. Note that chemicals don't fade away when drying up!
To treat repeated or chronic Vomiting, you should visit the vet to determine the underlying CAUSE! Obviously, cases of sudden Vomiting multiple times must be treated as an emergency because it shows that there is a persistent obstruction or adverse reaction to a substance that your dog has ingested. Just serving water is not a sufficient treatment and possibly not even an appropriate treatment in this instance.
If your dog has ingested a hazardous substance, in rare cases water may make it worse since water may not only dilute but disseminate the substance. Flushing the throat, stomach, and gut should always be left to the vet.
Where the cause is an obstruction, in rare cases you may have to help your dog to throw up the obstruction with a firm and targeted pat on the upper chest. This must always be done while your dog's mouth is facing down, so that the obstruction can more easily come out.