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Diabetic Dog Throwing Up: Why It Happens & What to Do

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Diabetic dogs vomit due to elevated blood glucose, a complication of diabetes ketoacidosis, or an overdose of insulin. It is important to know what color the vomit is and its contents, like blood or food. This can help the vet establish the cause and provide proper treatment.

Dogs are as prone to diabetes as humans. It’s hard enough to know your pet has diabetes and is suffering, but what if it vomits?

Vomiting in diabetic dogs is a health problem that many dog owners face.

It can be terrifying to deal with your diabetic dog’s vomiting. But it is important not to panic and assess the situation correctly. Only then will you be able to give your dog the care it needs.

In this article, you will find out why dogs with diabetes vomit, what you can do in this case, and much more.

Why Is My Diabetic Dog Throwing Up?

Dogs with diabetes vomit for several reasons: high blood sugar, diabetes complications, or high insulin dosages. Take your diabetic dog to the vet if it starts throwing up. The veterinarian will perform laboratory tests to determine the cause of vomiting.

Almost all diseases can cause vomiting in dogs. It is a general and nonspecific symptom in dogs with diabetes.

Paraclinical tests such as blood tests and x-rays can help your veterinarian determine the cause of vomiting in your diabetic dog.

Here are some of the reasons why diabetic dogs vomit:

  • Glucose toxicity.
  • Ketoacidosis.
  • Other diseases, such as renal failure.
  • Insulin overdose.

Related: Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs

Diabetic Dog Throwing Up Due to Glucose Toxicity

Diabetic Dog Throwing Up Due to Glucose Toxicity

Elevated blood glucose levels can lead to altered glycolysis[1] in dogs with diabetes. Glycolysis is the chemical process of breaking down glucose in the liver and muscles.

Glucose toxicity occurs when your dog’s body develops insulin resistance. Constantly high glucose levels end up damaging the pancreas. Initial symptoms of glucose toxicity will include vomiting.

This untreated toxicity can lead to an increased risk of diabetes complications:

  • Neuropathy
  • Vision problems
  • Renal failure

This prolonged hyperglycemia generally occurs when the owner does not know their dog is diabetic. Pay attention to the symptoms your dog shows to diagnose diabetes early.

Throwing up is not a normal symptom in the early stages of diabetes. It can occur as the disease progresses and becomes more complicated. Vomiting can also occur if your diabetic dog develops ketoacidosis.

Diabetic Dog Throwing Due to Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Ketoacidosis

Vets often hear dog owners say their diabetic dog won’t eat and is throwing up. This can be due to ketoacidosis.

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening medical emergency. It is a complex set of symptoms that leads to the diagnosis of diabetes in undiagnosed dogs.

It is most common in dogs with high insulin deficiency (type I diabetes) with very high blood sugar levels. It can also occur in dogs with type II diabetes that produces minimal insulin.

Ketoacidosis occurs when the metabolism of cells that use glucose as an energy substrate  is disrupted.[2] This especially applies to nerve cells, muscle cells, and liver cells).

This complication occurs when your dog is treated incorrectly or insufficiently with insulin.

The body can only use glucose as an energy substrate in the presence of enough insulin. During insulin deficiency, the cells no longer receive glucose. Fat burning will intensify, and the cells start producing ketone bodies. 

In other words, the liver processes fat into a fuel called ketones, which causes the blood to become acidic.

If ketoacidosis is not diagnosed in time, severe symptoms[3] can occur as it progresses:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Acetone or fruity breath
  • Accelerated breathing
  • General malaise
  • Dull fur
  • Lethargy
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased urge to drink water

Diabetic Dog Throwing Up Due to Renal Failure

Diabetic Dog Throwing Up Due to Renal Failure
Image Source

Kidney failure is another complication of diabetes. It develops when your dog has elevated blood sugar for a long time. [4]

Vomiting occurs from irritation of the gastric mucosa due to increased urea in the blood. Urea is the end product of protein metabolism, a nitrogenous compound formed in the liver. It increases when the kidneys no longer function properly, as in the case of kidney failure.

Symptoms of kidney failure in diabetic dogs include:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Ammonia breath/breath with the smell of urine (due to high level of urea in the blood)
  • Depression
  • Dull fur

Why Is My Dog Vomiting After Administering Insulin?

Vomiting in a diabetic dog can occur when the insulin dose is too high, and when the insulin levels in the blood are low.

The role of insulin is to lower blood sugar. If you give too much insulin to your dog after it has eaten, its blood sugar can drop until it develops hypoglycemia. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include nausea and vomiting.

Other symptoms of hypoglycemia:

  • Tremors
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fainting

Your dog can go into a coma if its blood sugar drops too much.

It is important to check your dog’s blood sugar to see if the vomiting is due to hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. If your dog has very low blood sugar, you can rub honey, maple, or corn syrup on its gums.

Hypoglycemia

Types of Vomit in Diabetic Dogs

It is important to note the color and consistency of the vomit If your diabetic dog has started throwing up. Depending on the content and type of your dog’s vomiting, your veterinarian can determine the cause.

Vomiting is a common symptom in dogs with diabetic complications. It can occur due to a stomach, liver, or pancreas disorder.

The diagnosis and treatment vary depending on the content:

  • Undigested food
  • White foam
  • Yellow liquid
  • Blood

My Diabetic Dog Is Throwing up Water

Diabetic dogs vomit due to having high blood sugar, no matter what they’ve ingested.

A symptom of diabetes is excessive water consumption. When dogs consume too much water, they start vomiting. Give your dog water in small portions and make sure it drinks it slowly to avoid vomiting.

My Diabetic Dog Is Throwing Up Undigested Food

Diabetic dogs vomit undigested food for two reasons:

  • It drank too much water.
  • It developed diabetic ketoacidosis.

Your Pet Drank Too Much Water

Vomiting undigested food can occur when your dog consumes a lot of water before or after meals. Avoid giving your pet food immediately after drinking water or giving it water immediately after eating. Let your dog digest its food for a while, and give it small portions of water often.

Your Pet Developed Diabetic Ketoacidosis

In the case of ketoacidosis, your dog’s poor health condition leads to vomiting. Contact your veterinarian for the best advice.

My Diabetic Dog Is Throwing up White Foam

Diabetic dogs can vomit white foam for three reasons:

  • Ketoacidosis (the body becomes more acidic).
  • Your dog hasn’t eaten for a long time (too much stomach acid makes it vomit).
  • Pancreatitis (occurs when the pancreas is inflamed).

Take your dog to the vet if it starts vomiting white foam.

My Diabetic Dog Is Throwing up Yellow Liquid

The yellow liquid in your dog’s vomit is bile. The liver produces bile, which is then stored in the gallbladder. From the gallbladder, the bile reaches the stomach and small intestine. When your dog has not eaten for a long time, it can vomit yellow liquid.

Irregular feeding of a diabetic dog can cause it to vomit yellow liquid. Feed your dog at set times. If it vomits yellow bile often, make changes to its diet. 

Contact your veterinarian if your dog often vomits yellow liquid.

My Diabetic Dog Is Throwing up Yellow Liquid

My Diabetic Dog Is Throwing up Blood

Blood in vomit can come from several regions of the body:

  • Esophagus
  • Stomach
  • Intestine

If your dog suffers from irritation of the esophagus or stomach, it can vomit blood. Bloody vomiting can also occur in intestinal inflammations or if your dog has developed ketoacidosis.

Take your dog to the vet if it vomits blood.

How to Treat Vomiting in a Diabetic Dog

If your dog’s vomit is the result of not eating for a long time, then make sure you feed it at set times each day. Contact your veterinarian if your pet vomits yellow fluid, white foam, or blood as these are signs of progressing diabetes or other health problems.

What to do if your diabetic dog vomits:

  • Monitor its blood glucose levels (this way, you will know if your pet’s vomiting is due to high or low glucose levels).
  • Feed your dog at set times every day.
  • Take your dog to the vet if vomiting persists for more than an hour.

It is dangerous to let your dog vomit for so long as it can lead to dehydration and liver problems.

FAQs

Do Dogs With Diabetes Throw Up?

Yes, diabetic dogs can throw up, especially when the disease progresses to ketoacidosis. Diabetic dogs can also vomit if their blood glucose levels are too high or too low. Take your dog to the vet if the vomiting persists or occurs often.

About Iulia Mihai (DVM)

Dr. Iulia is a certified veterinarian with more than 10 years of experience in the field. With extensive knowledge of diet, care, and medication, she helps Misfit Animals provide readers with accurate knowledge on technical topics.

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