Dark Vomit Means Trouble for Dogs

Ulcers often cause dogs’ vomit to be dark brown.


Q. My 7-year-old Golden Retriever has vomited a mucky, dark brown vomit six times. I removed his food and water for a bit at the start thinking that his stomach was upset and needed to calm down. I’ve now switched him to a soft diet not wanting to make his stomach work harder then it needs to.

He is acting normal, still wagging his tail and wanting to eat and drink, still looking for rubs and hugs. He is having bowel movements and is urinating OK. He is not showing any sign of pain or discomfort. He did have a large Denta bone, and true to my dog he had that gone in three minutes.

Is this a serious problem? The only thing I can think of is that somewhere along the line he may have swallowed a large pointed piece and something has either poked or cut his stomach.

A. The presence of dark brown coloration to your dog’s vomit could range from an overdose of milk chocolate to invasive ulcers of the stomach wall.

Generally, when there is bleeding from ulcers in the stomach’s wall or in the upper intestine, the vomit will be described as looking like coffee grounds. The final clue that would confirm the diagnosis of ulcers would be a black appearance to the stool. As blood from the ulcers passes down the intestines, it turns a tarry black color as it is digested.
If you are giving your dog any aspirin, ibuprofen, or any prescription medications for arthritis, I recommend stopping immediately. These NSAIDs – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – can cause severe stomach ulcers in some dogs, leading to internal bleeding, perforation of the stomach wall, abdominal infection, and possibly death.
Monitor the color of your dog’s stool to help rule out bleeding ulcers. If your dog continues to vomit, dark brown or any other color, continue to fast him offering water only, and get into your vet as soon as possible.


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Gena   K.C. MO, Missouri

1/2/2015 8:48:23 PM

My Border Collie has been vomiting for a few days. She just vomited a few min ago and it was brown and smelled like feces. This is the first time it looked and smelled like this. Being a nurse myself I am concerned of a bowel obstruction but I read that dogs sometimes eat feces. Is there anything I can do right now for her, no vet available. PLEASE HELP!

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samantha   manalapan, New Jersey

12/2/2014 12:27:00 PM

If u had a child and lost your job would u put it up for adoption, why no you'd live off the state so why should anyone have to put an animal, part of the family for adoption because of hard times. Ignorant people!

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zina   Lodi, California

10/24/2014 7:38:46 AM

I fully empathize with the situation of having any pet and no money for care. A few things to consider as an alternative to rehoming your pet. There is a credit card called "care credit". It is specifically used for medical care for humans or pets. Call every vet and you may find one that will allow you to come in and do work for vet care credit. Go to "fund me" to set up a fundraiser for vet care. It is all donations. But be ethical and only use for vet care if needed. If not donate to somebody else for same use or donate to a rescue. Work a second job specifically to build a vet care fund for yourself. It will only be temporary. Last, you have to think of your pet's well being. It would be selfish to keep a pet that needs medical care and yiu cannot afford to do it period. It is no different then a parent making the gut wrenching decision to put their baby up for adoption because they know in their hearts it would be in the best interest of the child to do the unselfish act. I truly believe there is "some" way to build a fund if you get creative and have the dedication and determination to do so. No judgment here, just a pet owner that has been there at one time or another.

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Paula   Richton, Mississippi

6/30/2014 6:09:34 PM

Should a person who had their dog a long time give the dog away because it is sick and there is no money? Many people can't afford to take THEMSELVES to the doctor when they need to go. Circumstances can change in the blink of an eye. So hateful and judgmental. I hope that your circumstances never put you in the position of having to give your pet away because you can't pay the vet.

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