Whole Dog Journal's Blog October 23, 2012

What do you do when you hear “that” sound?

Posted at 10:12AM - Comments: (39)

“Urp. Urp. Urp.” You know, the sound that tells you your dog is just about to vomit.  It sure gets your attention. And calls for action. But do you take it?

If he’s somewhere like the middle of your bed, carpet, or sofa, and he’s just about to vomit, do you grab him and carry him to a less-padded spot, or in the case of bigger dogs, shove him off? Or do you feel sorry for him, allow him to finish, and clean up the mess?

I found myself wondering what other dog owners would do the other day, when little Tito suddenly started urp, urp, urping while sitting in the middle of my guestroom’s bed, as I worked on the computer on the desk. I jumped up, but then I did feel sorry for him, and allowed him to finish. It meant putting the comforter – and because I pulled the comforter off the bed as soon as he was finished, the sheets and mattress pad, too – casualties of the second vomit, a few minutes later -- in the washing machine. And I asked myself, how many people would have grabbed the 10-pound dog and run for the back door, or even kitchen (vinyl floor), where the cleanup would have taken a minute, instead of more than an hour? 

Maybe the action taken depends on the size of the animal, and what he’s been fed. I probably wouldn’t have allowed 70-pound Otto to vomit on the bed.

Dog owners? Is something wrong with me?

Comments (39)

In my house, dogs and children (and anybody else too) learn to go to the right place to chuck.
The only people who get excused are babies who have not yet learned HOW to run for the toilet or the outside door.

Posted by: Jenny H | May 1, 2013 12:14 AM    Report this comment

Option 3 - I try to find a magazine - or that old LL Bean catalogue that I really don't need that's on the nightstand and get it under his mouth ASAP. We have one who has a very finicky stomach so this is a frequent occurrence. Even though he sleeps in bed with us, he has his own beach towel that he sleeps on. He never does enough to go through to the next layer, and it easily gets thrown in the washing machine.

Posted by: GRETCHEN S | November 8, 2012 8:55 PM    Report this comment

That sound will wake me up out of a dead sleep. With four dogs, the first reaction is to flip on the light, jump out of bed and find the dog standing at the bedroom door (it always happens at night, of course), and usher them out of the only room in our house that has wall to wall carpeting as quickly as possible, if possible. It doesn't happen very often, usually if someone has been left outside to graze in the yard too long, or swallowed a foreign object such as a piece of a supposedly indestructible toy.

Posted by: Paula B | November 4, 2012 11:01 AM    Report this comment

I have dachshunds and if they are in bed with us I scoop them up and hold them over the toliet and they vomit in there, flush and done! It doesn't seem to bother them and they have pretty good aim. We have hard wood floors & leather furniture so easy clean up there too.

Posted by: TRACEY G | November 3, 2012 3:14 PM    Report this comment

My dog doesn't vomit very often anymore--he had major digestive issues until I switched his diet from kibble to fresh meat with a dehydrated premix (Dr. Harveys and Sojos.)It's so worth it! My dog is stunningly healthy now and to say he enjoys his meals is a major understatement. I buy and freeze beef, chicken, turkey and fish whenever the sale price is about $2/pound. That said, when he is under the weather, he makes a beeline under my bed to get sick. Since it's king size, it's a bear to move, but when I do, there's never a trace. I wonder if he started going there because I can't reach to clean up, so he has the opportunity to lick it all up!

Posted by: Deborah B | November 1, 2012 3:40 PM    Report this comment

My dogs are taught not to go on my furniture, so that part takes care of itself. If I can catch the urping early enough, I can calmly walk them toward the door. Since I have hardwood flooring, an accident can easily be cleaned up.

Posted by: Unknown | October 31, 2012 9:43 PM    Report this comment

My two dogs don't get sick often but when they do I just grab whatever is close, towel, tee-shirt, etc., and put it under their mouth. Then I just let it happen. I don't try to move then as they are pretty big, 85 and 65 pounds, and I don't want to make them feel any worse than they already do. If their vomit hits the carpet I just clean it up. Of course, I would prefer they throw up on the hard wood or tile but they seem to prefer the carpet :-).

Posted by: KAREN S | October 26, 2012 10:18 AM    Report this comment

My dog used to vomit small quantities of yellow bile for about two years which was considered normal. She actually had pancreatitis and died of it. Please check out the dog.

Posted by: Taina | October 25, 2012 7:34 PM    Report this comment

Lol your are a sucker -- big or little I aim for path of least destruction. My cats specialize in puking hairballs on the bed while I'm sleeping or just off the bed then I step in it when half asleep

Posted by: whitney b | October 25, 2012 10:38 AM    Report this comment

We have always had small dogs. We usually look for something that is easy to clean to put under her mouth. We have wood laminate/tile floors and leather furnature - which makes clean up a breeze for the times we don't get there in time.

Posted by: Terri B | October 24, 2012 11:47 PM    Report this comment

Yup, common problem. If I can get to the dog in time, I guide them to hard flooring or even outside. But I have a jute rug that has been the vomit magnet for my dog and all of my series of foster. I guess it smells like grass.

Posted by: MadderScientist | October 24, 2012 8:10 PM    Report this comment

Ha...timely. My husband woke me at 6AM this morn to clean vomit from the crate (wheww..in the crate). We have a deal - he kills slugs outside and I clean vomit inside. Our Goldens only vomit after consumming toys, wood chips, socks, dust cloths, or any other prize they may have found hidden in the weeds on the walk. If possible they are rushed to the wood floor or a newspaper wisked under them.

Posted by: PAT S | October 24, 2012 3:54 PM    Report this comment

I guess I'm in the minority since my dog doesn't sleep with me! He can't on account of behavioral issues, allergies(mine) and noise(him)! But anyways. He only rarely vomits at night. It's usually in the am when I'm still home. Luckily for me he USUALLY comes to me with the licking of his lips and swallowing like the other dog above, and I know. I'll say in a cheerful voice, "lets go to the kitchen" and I'll hold him there(so he doesn't slip on the floor) until he's done. If I don't have time we go to the nearest bathroom and he does it there. Much easier to clean up than the carpet,even with a carpet cleaner! Sometimes I miss having wood flooring! MARTHA S, I've never thought of soda water, I'll have to try that. If I don't use the (little green, which I'm trying not to use much) I use vinegar, baking soda and water, but it stinks!

Posted by: Andrea J | October 24, 2012 10:11 AM    Report this comment

My goldens rarely vomit, they are raw fed and I make the treats, but when they do it's usually grass, I grab the collar and get him or her to the kitchen floor or outside.

Posted by: Gamer | October 24, 2012 9:57 AM    Report this comment

My 2yr old Boxer has some anxiety issues and is a bit high strung. She vomits rather frequently....mostly yellow bile, but sometimes it's undigested food. :( Anyway, she seems to naturally jump off the sofa or bed before vomiting. I will steer her away from the rugs so it happens on the hardwood. Same issue with the cat....he ALWAYS goes for the rugs, never the hardwood.

Posted by: Unknown | October 24, 2012 7:27 AM    Report this comment

I agree with the person who said it comes with the territory. If it bothers us, then we should have washable stuff/bedding, or put something over the bed. I wouldn't move somebody because they were. The cleaners these days are even better at getting stuff out. I tend to have a piece of newspaper around, and I keep a roll of paper towels handy in my bedroom where we sleep...and some plastic bags...so it can be cleaned up quickly if it happens. Most times my little one goes and sticks her head in the corner by the door...don't know why...but it's like once a spot is established, that's it. Everybody poos, everybody vomits...she'd stay by my side when I've been sick and hurting, so I will always without question do the same. Interesting comment about the empty tummies....we tend to eat later...but I also have a cannister of animal crackers in the bedroom and give her a "good night cookie" before bed...

Posted by: robin r | October 24, 2012 1:05 AM    Report this comment

I have a dog who vomits yellow frothy bile episodically and has skin problems. I take her to a veterinary dermatologist. I was surprised to learn that this type of vomiting is an allergic reaction. Ear problems, smelly yeast excess wax, ear odor etc. are all signs of allergies. Check with your vet .Your dog may benefit from allergy desensitization shots and other methods to reduce allergens. The #1 allergen for dogs is dust mites which they get exposed to by being around humans, sitting on furniture & sleeping on our beds. I have also found that a little snack at bedtime can be helpful.

Posted by: Margaret W | October 23, 2012 10:51 PM    Report this comment

I have a Bernese with a very sensitive system. The Vet has him on a strong antibiotic right now so I heard that today. I let him finish, he feels bad enough.
Doing some extra laundry is just part of the package with a sick puppy.

Posted by: Michelle P | October 23, 2012 6:40 PM    Report this comment

In response to Jennifer, my standard poodle would vomit bile during the night, usually around 2-3am, and I also could not figure out why. FINALLY, there was an article in Whole Dog Journal that mentioned that some dogs secrete a lot of bile when their stomachs get TOO empty and this makes them nauseous. Eureka! The problem was quickly reduced by giving a few biscuits as a bedtime snack. I also got in the habit of keeping a towel handy so I could dive across the room and shove that under his mouth.

Posted by: Donna P | October 23, 2012 6:19 PM    Report this comment

My dog has inflamatory bowel disease and loves to pick up stuff to eat outside. We watch him as well as we can when outside, but ----. He always tries to get to the backdoor if he has time. We have tile floors and a machine washable rug at the backdoor. It works pretty well.

Posted by: Tania J M | October 23, 2012 6:10 PM    Report this comment

One of my dogs vomits about once every six weeks for no discernible reason. He never vomits less than 3 times in a row, and more often it's 4. It's always just yellow stomach bile and it usually happens between 4 to 6 am. I've never been able to identify a pattern in what he eats (or doesn't eat) that might be setting him off.

I've gotten very good at snapping awake the first time I hear that "hurp" and hustling him off the white bedroom carpet onto the bare hardwood floor (which is about 5 or 6 steps, so not any great distance). It doesn't seem to distress him; I genuinely never considered that it might, since it wouldn't bother me either and nothing about his body language suggests he would like me to stop. I just hold him gently under the chest until he's done, and he seems to be somewhat consoled by having me close.

Then I clean up the mess and he wanders off to go do dog things again.

My other dog vomits much more rarely and is much more obviously distressed by the whole thing. Even embarrassed -- or at least that's what it looks like to me!

Posted by: Jennifer A | October 23, 2012 4:55 PM    Report this comment

my girl runs to an open crate and vomits in there. All things condidered not a bad thing.

Posted by: ELAINE A | October 23, 2012 4:33 PM    Report this comment

I don't think there's anything wrong with you. Having said that, I always attempt to move my hounds to the kitchen where there is much easier clean up. I do feel sorry that I move them when they are clearly not feeling well, but I am sorrier when they throw up on the bed, carpet or any other absorbent surface.

Posted by: VERONICA M | October 23, 2012 3:35 PM    Report this comment

My 80 pound Golden is really good about aiming...I shove papers or a towel towards her and she trys to hit the target. And afterwards nothing but comforting and cuddling - although I think it is more traumatic to me than it is to her. But she doesn't complain too much.

Posted by: Susan B | October 23, 2012 3:08 PM    Report this comment

Let them Finish! How would You feel if someone grabbed you and whisked you up and away mid vomit? It's already an unpleasant experience for the sick one, moving them is really going to make them feel worse. I feel that if you care more about your material things than you do of your pets wellness, perhaps evaluate if getting one again, is right for you and your family. There will always be vomit, hair , poop, crumbs, muddy feet etc. The love and memories they give us in return for our care , is well worth it. :)

Posted by: sheryldilisio | October 23, 2012 2:42 PM    Report this comment

I have learned to keep newspapers close by and I'll just grab a section and immediately put it under my dog when he's about to vomit. Thank goodness we do get these warning noises!

Posted by: Keno C | October 23, 2012 2:38 PM    Report this comment

Usually my Lily, a 60lb golden, sleeping in bed with us will start doing a lot of licking of her lips and swallowing a lot prior to wretching. That usually wakes me up quick enough to gently move her down to the floor where I pet and almost hold her until she finishes. Then clean up and more pets and soothing and we all go back to sleep. Dosen't happen often thank goodness!!

Posted by: lilypeaches | October 23, 2012 2:33 PM    Report this comment

My 35 # spaniel has learned to go to the patio door--usually he ate grass, acorns, or other indigestible material, even cardboard. Sometimes we find the evidence there on the carpet without having heard his gakking.

Two or three times now, I have had to give him peroxide to induce vomiting when he has eaten something that could cause harm (1/4 lb. stick of butter, chocolate) and I know he's done it. He now "knows" peroxide and struggles when I bring on the turkey baster to dose him. Poor guy! At those times, we stay outside until he urps it up.

Nature's Miracle Cat Litter is the BEST for absorbing nasty liquid, be it vomit or diarrhea. Then it's time for the soda water on the carpet, or a baking soda or oxy solution, blotting, and the use of a small carpet cleaner (Little Green Machine) to clean up the remainder.

Can't imagine a pet home without washer, dryer, and small carpet cleaning machine.

Posted by: MARTHA S | October 23, 2012 1:03 PM    Report this comment

my dogs are less than 20lbs and rarely vomit. if we are in bed or sitting on the couch i put her on the hardwood floor (only the bedroom has carpet and when not occupied we keep a gate across the doorway). sometimes i have enough time to put a wad of paper towel down or grab a nearby towel. i feel bad for them because of the retching and wanting carpet so it doesn't splash back on them. couches/cushions can be hard to clean up a mess. but this brings up another question, why do so many dogs vomit often? mine maybe twice a year. maybe because they eat a raw diet? now my cats are another story...and if one of my dogs wants to clean it up for me, i sometimes let them.

Posted by: LYNN S | October 23, 2012 12:58 PM    Report this comment

I rarely have this problem but when Jake (Belgian Tervuren) has had an upset tummy I usually discover it afterward, like when I wake up. Then I just clean it up and he's usually fine. I love your journal and have been a subscriber for years. Just wish you wrote a Kitty Journal as well.

Posted by: Unknown | October 23, 2012 12:56 PM    Report this comment

I believe the incident is traumatic enough so I let Jethro continue to vomit but I put my two hands cupped underneath him in hopes to catch it all. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

Posted by: Unknown | October 23, 2012 12:52 PM    Report this comment

Like many dog owners, my dogs sleep in my bedroom with me at night, too. That "urp, urp, urp" wakes me from a sound sleep like nothing else. My first dog, I trained him from a puppy to rush to the back door and to go to the patio or out to the grass to vomit. We were about 60/40 on getting him outside. He would come and lay on me during the night if his stomach wasn't feeling well to wake me up before the urps began. I never was upset with him, even if he didn't make it. Instead, when he'd come back inside or was done, he got a comforting hug from me and sometimes a cookie.

Posted by: KIM R | October 23, 2012 12:47 PM    Report this comment

I let my Mastiffs finish in peace wherever they happen to be standing. Not only can you not move a mastiff if they don't want to move (haha) but it seems to cause more trauma for them if I try to redirect them to a non-carpet area.

Posted by: Terri H | October 23, 2012 12:46 PM    Report this comment

My bishop frise/shih tzu used to vomit about once a week. I started giving him a bit of pumpkin from pet store in with his regular food and the vomiting stopped. :-D Try that.

Posted by: Unknown | October 23, 2012 12:42 PM    Report this comment

Kodi gets this "grin" on his face, I never trained him, I just ask him if he's going to be sick (which I know he is) and say, let's go be sick outside. Now when he's going to vomit, he automatically goes to the door.
sometimes (like yesterday, I'm guessing he didn't chew his raw meal properly) and it just happens where ever it happens, in the middle of the living room rug.!! Matches all the "cat yack" stains LOL

Posted by: SHARON M | October 23, 2012 12:32 PM    Report this comment

Our dog's vomiting sessions typically occur during the night; so I keep a towel in my night stand. When the warning sounds begin, I'm ready with a towel to catch the vomit. And, fortunately, I've been able to do so most of the time. It certainly makes the cleanup much easier. While waiting for her to vomit, I gently massage her and try to comfort her; consequently, she usually comes to me when she's about to vomit.

Posted by: Jim W | October 23, 2012 12:30 PM    Report this comment

I also have a small dog - 20 lbs. He already gets off the furniture and goes to the living room carpet. I will also hear my cat do this and I still always get right up and clean it. I do this for 2 reasons - 1) I want to make sure that it is not something serious 2) if I don't clean it up either the dog or cat will "clean" it up, if you know what I mean. ;-(
No one should ever punish an animal for being sick - that just doesn't make sense.

Posted by: Remysmom | October 23, 2012 12:26 PM    Report this comment

I think an occasional vomit is just a dog being a dog (unless it's something bad that he has eaten) and I agree with you Nancy, there is nothing wrong with feeling sorry for the dear thing. Diana is right too. A quick towel toss or some extra laundry is being a good mom. Carry on!

Posted by: Barbara S | October 23, 2012 12:21 PM    Report this comment

I have small dogs and one of them occasionally vomits during the night. I usually hear her, and I use to jump up and clean up after her right away, but now I just put a paper towel over the vomit and wait until morning to clean it up. But then my dogs don't sleep on my bed (they have their own beds beside mine), though I do have carpeting in my bedroom. Nowadays the enzymatic cleaners work so well at removing all traces of dog-related stains, that I don't worry about it so much (unless the vomit has blood in it or has an unusual appearance). If I had a large dog or if my dog was on a bed or sofa/chair when it vomited, I would definitely try to remove the dog to a better place or place a towel or other more easily cleanable item down for her. One thing I definitely wouldn't do is yell at or punish my dog for vomiting. No, Nancy, there's nothing wrong with you!

Posted by: Diana S | October 23, 2012 10:09 AM    Report this comment

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