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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22459
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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I am looking after my friends dog aged 13 years. yesterday

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I am looking after my friends dog aged 13 years. yesterday morning she was sick after food and then 3 further bouts of being sick. she has eaten grass in the garden - and last night only sicked up a small amount of bile. I have not fed her this morning - should I starve her for 12 hours?

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

What did her vomit look like?

Can she keep water down?

Are her gums nice and pink (not white/pale)? Moist or sticky?

If you press on her belly, does she have any tensing, tenderness, discomfort, or pain?

Could she have eaten anything she should not have (ie bones, toys, plants, chemicals, human meds, etc)?

Any diarrhea?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
all of her food at first - then last night just what looks like bile -no diarrhoea. Gums are okay. Water stays down. Sleeping a lot.
No visible signs of pain - is walking okay. was eating grass yesterday.

Thank you,

First, if Emma is struggling to keep all her food down, then we do need to tread with care. Elderly dogs do not have the reserves they once did and can become very weak very quickly. Now based on the signs we are seeing, we do have a few concerns. Common causes we need to consider include bacterial or viral gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, parasites/protozoa infections, general dietary indiscretions, and ingestion of harmful items (hopefully less likely at her age). As well, we do need to keep organ issues, metabolic disease and even cancer in the back of our minds at her age.

With this all in mind, as long as she can keep water down, we can try some home supportive care to try to settle her stomach. To start, if she hasn’t just vomited (since otherwise we’d need to rest her stomach for a few hours first), then you can consider treating her with an antacid. Common OTC pet safe options would be: Zantac (More Info/Dose @, or Milk of Magnesia (0.5tsp every 8 hours). Whichever you choose, we’d give this 20 minutes before food to allow absorption. Of course, do double check with your vet if she has a known health issues or is on any medications you haven't mentioned. Though if you give this and she cannot keep it down due to nausea that is usually a red flag that we need to bypass her mouth with injectable anti-vomiting medication from her vet.

Once that has had time to absorb and she is steadier on her stomach, you can consider starting her on small meals of an easily digestible diet like cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, or meat baby food (as long as its garlic/onion free). There are also OTC vet diets that can be used (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity) too. The aim of these diets is that they will be better tolerated/absorbed by the compromised gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset. As long as improvement is being seen, I usually advise continuing this until the signs are settled, and then weaning her slowly back to her normal diet.

Overall, there are a wide range of agents could trigger this GI upset we are seeing with Emma and at her age we do need to get her settled quickly. Therefore, we’d want to start supportive care to soothe her stomach. If she cannot keep that or water down at any point, appears dehydrated already, or doesn’t respond to the above within 12-24 hours; then we'd want to ring her owner and get permission to take her to her vet. They can assess her hydration, check bloods to ensure her organs are working as they should, make sure there is nothing in her stomach that shouldn't be there or any sinister viruses present. Depending on their findings, her vet can treat her with injectable anti-vomiting medication, fluids, +/- antibiotics to get her settled.

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need as this is the only way I am credited for assisting you today. Thank you! : )

Dr. B. and 4 other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I took the dog to a vet having read your advice - most helpful. dog put on anti biotic and rehydrated over 2 days - now on the mend!! thanks for your help

You are very welcome and thank you for the update on Emma.

I am glad to hear that she has responded to treatment and is on the mend. :)

Best wishes for you both,

Dr. B.