My Dog Vomits Bile In The Morning: Why?

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Bruiser was diagnosed with Bilious Vomiting Syndrome earlier this month. He already has Irritable Bowel Disease. He is on a daily antibiotic for that and has done ok for years. So we have a lot going on now in the GI distress department. Caring for a senior dog is stressful for sure BUT this syndrome can happen to a dog of any age so it’s worth noting this is not specific to aging dogs only.

So how did we come to this conclusion? Bruiser started vomiting bile (If vomiting, reading about vomiting, thinking about vomiting makes you want to vomit then skip to another post) about a month or so ago in the middle of the night. Sometimes this was at 4:30 a.m. or later but before we typically got up to feed the dogs breakfast.

I felt terrible for him. He would sometimes go back to bed and other times he seemed uncomfortable until we got up – it wasn’t a great start to the day. So after an ultrasound and X-rays we determined with the help of our Veterinarian and an Internist that there wasn’t anything else going on we needed to be concerned about. It’s now managed but it didn’t happen overnight and we had to try some combinations of medicine. Bruiser was already taking Pepcid or Famotidine a few months back as we were characterizing some of the issues he was having at that time as acid reflux but we were now onto a different variation of antacids. The vomiting started happening months after the “yurpy” behavior and Pepcid regiment.

Bilious vomiting syndrome in dogs is vomiting in response to bile-induced inflammation of the stomach. It is also known as reflux gastritis syndrome and duodenal-gastric reflux. Dogs with this condition usually vomit in the morning after not eating all night. Treatment is to feed late at night.

Medication and Treatment plans:

  • Metacloproamide: He receives this for nausea twice a day (5 and 10 p.m.)
  • Prilosec or Omeprazole: This is given with a small meal around 8:30 p.m. each night
  • Small Meals: A small meal is important and given every evening – he seems to metabolize this additional food with no issues as he hasn’t gained any weight

If Bruiser continues to have issues we may need to consider scoping his GI tract. He has been doing OK for the past two weeks so we’re hopeful we can continue with these medications to keep this under control.

Resource: I found an article on Pet MD that goes into detail but if your dog is experiencing ANY symptoms please see your Veterinarian.

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There are 16 Comments

  1. Love the new blog design.

    Sometimes Sydney vomits in the morning. For her it’s “hunger pukes” and what I’ve learned is that has bile starts building in her gut, she gets sick and vomits. So I make a point of feeding my dogs at the same time each morning. Even when I’m sick or was up late and want to sleep in, I have an alarm set to feed them between 5 am – 6 am daily.

    I’ve also found that if she eats raw meaty bones the night before, she may have hunger pukes in the morning and teeny pieces of bones interacting with stomach bile cause her to puke before they finish digesting. So I only feed her whole duck necks in the morning.

    • Thank you –I really appreciate your kind words about the new blog design. 🙂

      I was losing my mind on why Bruiser was starting to vomit bile every a.m. and was really grateful after diagnostics that it wasn’t anything really bad… I agree with you about that evening meal! Walter will do this too from time to time if I feed him too early… I’m with you – I’d rather get up and feed the same time on the weekend than have them vomit – it’s so awful!! Great advice – thank you for commenting!

  2. Cathy Armato says:

    Great information here, thanks. Icy vomits in the am once in awhile, like every couple of months for no apparent reason. It only lasts for a day or two. I will try giving her small meals or healthy treats in the evening the next time it starts up again. p.s. I’m still majorly bummed that you’re not coming to the BlogPaws conference!

    • Thank you! You know Walter does this too and I’m almost positive it’s because he’s super active during the day and I feel him too early – a small meal before bed may help Icy? I’m also SUPER bummed and I’m going to miss all of you – I’m all in for next year but pending where it is I hope East Coast folks can come! So many great speakers and keynotes and events!!! So bummed I’m not going to see you.

  3. I am so sorry you and Bruiser are going through this. I’ve never heard of Bilious Vomiting Syndrome but I am so glad you seem to have found a treatment for Bruiser that is currently working. Fingers and toes crossed it keeps working. Let me tell you I can sympathize and relate to you. Several years ago before Beatrice was diagnosed with IBD, she would regurgitate up to 10 times a day. It was insane. One specialist had us to do surgery to her soft palate since she’s an English Bulldog but that didn’t help. Oddly taking her off wet food stopped the regurgitation. I called it vomiting but the vet said since she wasn’t heaving it was regurgitation. Whatever it was it was a nightmare. We switched specialists. By feeding her 4 times a day and adding medication for a while she got better. It’s been a long time since she’s had this issue. She doesn’t take any medication for it anymore and we are down to three meals a day. One in the morning and two at night.

    • I loved the article in this weekend’s boost btw 🙂 Me too – we’re on a roll for the past 2-3 weeks so I’m just hopeful we’re done with the vomiting –such a nightmare. 10X a day –I seriously cannot even imagine…. I was so stressed out about 1 X in the a.m. but 10X? UGH and Surgery! I wonder why wet food became an issue – but it doesn’t matter. I cannot imagine how relieved you were – what medication did you try? Three meals a day is great, I’m so happy everything is ok with Beatrice…

  4. Great information, Christy! Thank you! When Ducky was going through the worst of her IBD/IBS, she would eat so fast that she couldn’t possibly swallow it all to digest it. Then she would “vacuum” the house with her tongue and within 15-20 minutes she’d be bringing up what I call hair logs (like a cat’s hair balls just shaped like small Lincoln Logs with food mixed in). Those days are mostly behind us now (thank doG), and she’s off everything but the generic Pepcid. Our vet’s new associate suggested using CatLax for her when she starts “vacuuming” the floor and it really helps a lot. I also switched her to a slow-feed bowl that is molded into the shape of a daisy flower, so it has helped to slow her down a lot! But, I still have to chop up larger pieces of the chicken in her chicken & veggie stew. So be it. Whatever has to be done, I do. Shadow, meanwhile, suffers from reflux too; but most times just makes this horrrndous noise in her throat. She’s also on generic Pepcid. And I try to avoid feeding her foods/treats that seem to aggravate it.

    • Absolutely – thank you for commenting! Bruiser vacuums the carpet too – especially after any treats or Yaks have been eaten so I know how that goes too. I’m SO GLAD Pepcid works for you all. Bruisy did great on Pepcid for a long time and it’s gentle on their stomachs so I like that alternative the best for sure. IBS/IBD is SO difficult to navigate through. It’s hard for people to get this unless they live with dogs that have these issues – they are super stressful and take so long to figure out… I thought we would never determine the problem and would have to scope his esophagus… omd.

  5. So sorry to hear that Bruiser is going through this. I hope the medication you are using and feeding at night will help. My mom’s dog is having GI problems, but I don’t think he is vomiting. I’ll keep this diagnosis in mind.

  6. Cindy Grant says:

    Thank you for the helpful information. Actually, I’ve never heard of Bilious Vomiting Syndrome before.

    Anh I am so sorry that you and Bruiser have to go through this. Hope that the medication will be effective.

  7. My Dog Store says:

    Great read! There are many dogs with this vomiting bile issue and hope Bruiser will be okay soon.

  8. Jan K says:

    We did not know about this, so thanks so much for sharing about it. We’ve had issues of vomiting bile from time to time, but not chronically (Luke was just up the other night doing it). It’s good to know what we might be looking at if it does become chronic.
    We’re glad to see Bruiser is still doing better!

    • Thanks so much – I hope you can ignore all of this and it’s never a worry! I think a small meal works if that doesn’t happen all that often… but if it does happen please ping me. 🙂