Dear VetBabble: When Should I Feed My Pet Again After Vomiting?
Many pet owners understandably worry when their fur babies experience a bout of vomiting. A key concern is when and what to feed them afterwards. One concerned pet owner asked us, “Shorty threw up the food I gave her at 6:30pm @ 12:30am, then she threw up yellow bile @ 2am. I gave her a little Pepto, but when and what should she eat again? Should I starve her for at least 12 hours after the last vomit? When reintroducing food, should I do it gradually and just give her a spoonful to start with?”
As a veterinarian, I want to offer guidance to help pet owners make informed decisions when dealing with their pets’ vomiting episodes. Vomiting can occur for a variety of reasons, and understanding when and how to reintroduce food is essential for your pet’s recovery.
Reasons for Vomiting
Firstly, it’s important to understand the possible reasons for vomiting in pets. Common causes include gastrointestinal issues, dietary indiscretions, and underlying medical issues. In some cases, vomiting can be a symptom of a more serious concern. I recommend reading “Vomiting in Dogs: Causes, Treatment & When to Worry” or “Why is My Cat Vomiting?“, depending on your pet, to better understand the factors that could lead to vomiting.
Assessing the Situation: Vomiting and Diarrhea
Your pet’s overall condition during and after vomiting is important to consider. Is your pet still energetic and behaving normally? If not, it may be wise to consult a veterinarian. Also, monitor for other gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea. Learn more about “Diarrhea in Dogs: When to Worry” or “Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea?” for more information on when to be concerned.
Feeding Recommendations After Vomiting
In the absence of serious symptoms and after ensuring that your pet is otherwise behaving normally, it is generally safe to follow a course of action as the one outlined below:
- Wait for the last vomiting episode: It’s important to wait for at least 12 hours after the last vomiting episode before trying to give any food again. This time allows the stomach to settle and reduces the likelihood of more vomiting.
- Reintroduce food gradually: After the 12-hour waiting period, feed a bland diet to your pet, one that is easily digestible and not overly rich. Boiled chicken breast (boneless and skinless) mixed with cooked white rice, for instance, is a good option. Start with just a spoonful and wait for a couple of hours to see if it stays down. If there’s no vomiting, you can gradually increase the portion size.
- Monitor your pet closely: Keep an eye on your pet’s condition during this phase. If vomiting resumes or new symptoms emerge, seek veterinary assistance.
- Switch back to regular food: If your pet is no longer vomiting after 24 hours, gradually reintroduce their regular diet. Mix it with the bland diet in increasing amounts over several meals. This transition should take place over the course of two to three days.
Remember, every pet is different, and your pet’s individual needs and medical history should be taken into account. If you have concerns, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian for specific recommendations tailored to your pet’s unique situation.