My Dog Died Suddenly After Vomiting: Possible Causes

Losing a fluffy companion is never palatable, no matter the circumstances. But losing your pooch suddenly to an accident or serious medical condition can be baffling, terrifying, and utterly shocking. “My dog died suddenly after vomiting” is a query that keeps cropping up many dog forums with most pet owners just wondering what could have gone wrong.

In this guide, we highlight some of the most common causes of sudden death in dogs, so you can be aware and do everything within your ability to avoid losing your furry companion.

Causes of Sudden Death in Dogs

Here are the most common reasons your pup can die suddenly after vomiting and/or diarrhea:

1: Internal Bleeding

In cases of internal bleeding, sudden death can happen pretty quickly. This may be triggered by trauma such as your pet being hit by a car or blunt object. Internal tumors that trigger bleeding, such as hemangiosarcoma, can also cause death quickly without you noticing that anything is wrong.

Read our complete guide on symptoms of internal bleeding in dogs to learn how to diagnose such problems and take the necessary measures.

2: Toxin Ingestion

Consuming toxins is a common cause of sudden deaths in dogs. Toxins may include medications, chemicals, and certain human food products. The ASPCA pet poison helpline tracks the calls they receive about dogs ingesting toxins and creates a list of the top ten toxins yearly.

As a pet owner, it is extremely important to be aware of such toxins and restrict your dog’s access to anything that can be harmful to your pup. This may include human foods such as chocolate, grapes, alcohol, and more.

Some human foods can also contain more sneaky substances such as xylitol, causing them to be extremely dangerous to pets when they ordinarily wouldn’t be.

3: Heart Problems

Heart conditions are perhaps the biggest cause of sudden deaths in dogs. Cardiomyopathy, blood clots, and abnormal heart rhythms can all cause sudden death.

Be sure to have your dog checked by a vet routinely, even if there is no sign of illness. If the vet hears a heart murmur or arrhythmia, they may recommend further testing to diagnose heart problems that could breed trouble over time. Although not all heart conditions can be diagnosed this way, some can be identified earlier and treated.

4: GDV: Bloat

Gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) is a condition that causes a dog’s stomach to become inflated with gas and twisted on itself. It can result in the death of the blood vessels in a dog’s stomach, extreme inflation of the stomach, reduced blood flow to the rest of the body, shock, and eventual death.

Large, deep-chested dog breeds over 5 years old have a higher risk of developing GDV. Some dog breeds also develop blot when they consume dairy products such as whipped cream. To minimize the risks of GDV, consider the following tips;

  • Feed your dog multiple small meals a day
  • Avoid exposing your dog to stressful situations as much as possible
  • Don’t allow your pup to exercise immediately before or after meals
  • Use an anti-bloat bowl for feeding.

Consult your vet to determine whether your pooch is at higher risk for developing GDV.

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sick dog

Signs Your Dog Is Dying

A senior dog with a terminal illness needs to be diligently cared for at home during his final days. Being aware of how dogs act before they die can be extremely helpful if you have an ailing pup. There are multiple common signs that a dying dog will exhibit before the final decline.

But, you should keep in mind that each pet experiences dying differently, and some may not even exhibit every symptom we have listed here. Consult your vet if you notice any unfamiliar sign with your pup.

Overall, many dog parents who reported sudden deaths witnessed the following symptoms before the demise of their furry friends:

1: Extreme Fatigue

A vomiting pet will obviously have less energy and become less active even if the situation is not serious. However, when a pet is actively dying, they will show signs of extreme fatigue. Your pet will more likely pant and pace even at night and will most likely lie in one spot without attempting to get on his feet anymore, and he might no longer even have the energy to lift his head.

Again, extreme fatigue can be a slow decline and may be due to poor blood circulation, anemia, or lack of energy. If your dog’s gums turn white instead of pink, it could be a sign of anemia, which is usually a serious sign of a dying dog. Likewise, if the gums are pink but turn white and stay that way for several seconds when pressed with a finger, it is a sign of circulatory collapse, which is a common precursor to death.

2: Complete Loss of Appetite

If your dog shows practically zero interest in food or water and throws up whenever she eats anything, it could be a sign that death is drawing closer. However, beware that a dog that is feeling unwell will not want to eat even their favorite meals. So, treat loss of appetite as a sign of a bigger health problem that warrants a visit to the vet.

3: Lack of Coordination

A dying dog can become very unsteady on her feet and experience difficulty moving from one point to another. Lack of coordination might be due to impaired brain function, physical weakness, or even a combination of both.

Weakness is often due to not eating, blood loss, or severe diarrhea. However, a dog that suddenly becomes uncoordinated may still have a treatable condition, like an ear infection. Be sure to consult your vet if in doubt.

4: Incontinence

A dying dog will progressively lose control over bodily functions or become too weak to get up. They may even have accidents where they lie. As the body weakens, the pup can lose control of his sphincter muscle and the muscles that control bladder functions. Good nursing is crucial at this point so that the pet doesn’t develop sores secondary to feces or urine remaining in prolonged contact with the skin.

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withdrawn pup

5: Lack of Interest in Surroundings

Most dogs often begin to withdraw into their own worlds as they draw closer to death. The pup will no longer respond to things going on around them, and they may even cease responding to their favorite human friends as their bodies begin to shut down.

6: Severe Vomiting

Vomiting is a general symptom of ailment or infection in dogs. It can occur due to a myriad of issues, including motion sickness, an infection or virus, or a serious decline. If the dog has a terminal diagnosis, the digestive system may begin shutting down, causing the undigested food in the stomach to trigger nausea.

The dog may vomit to purge the contents of her stomach. Severe vomiting is often a serious complication since your pup may not keep water down and become extremely dehydrated.

7: Twitching

A dying dog may twitch or shake at times. Twitching is typically an involuntary muscle response, and the pet may become chilled as her body temperature begins to drop. Strive to make the dog more comfortable by placing her on a heating pad or covering her with extra blankets.

8: Terminal Illness Worsening

If your pooch has been diagnosed with a terminal ailment like kidney failure, cancer, or heart failure, then you should be alert for any signs of deterioration in his condition. For instance, a dog with heart failure may develop more labored breathing and a swollen belly.

Facing the End With Your Pooch!

Note that the signs we have listed here are quite general and, when monitored in isolation, might simply suggest that your dog is sick and needs medical attention. Always look at the bigger picture, such as the overall health of your dog, his age, and whether or not he was involved in an accident that could cause trauma.

If a senior dog with a terminal diagnosis exhibits pale gums and refuses to eat for days, he is more likely dying. On the flip side, a fit young dog with no pre-existing health conditions should quickly recover from any ailment provided you seek immediate medical attention.

Ultimately, your best source of advice is the veterinarian familiar with your pooch’s case. They can offer professional advice on whether there are viable treatment options that would make your fluffy companion well again or more comfortable as the curtain comes down!

22 thoughts on “My Dog Died Suddenly After Vomiting: Possible Causes”

  1. My mini Shih Ray died this morning
    I’m not sure if she pooped or vomited
    I took her COvets and the doctor said she has anemia he wouldn’t do blood work to find out why my baby was weak and couldn’t hold her head up
    She was 11 years old but she has no signs the day before this happened
    How do I go about finding someone to do and autopsying I need to know why my baby is dead

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    • Sorry for your loss Mary. Ask your vet to recommend the right autopsy specialist. But more often, postmortem results don’t reveal anything unique from what your vet already disclosed. Good luck.

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    • Hello, same here we lost her today she was 10 years old and vomited blood 3 times and suddenly fell down while taking to vet ????????????

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  2. I had my dog pass away about two or three weeks ago, she was a three year old Rotweiller Collie cross, absolutely fine on her usual walk, her happy energetic self. Returned home and she vomited that evening. Initially I had thought she ate her dinner to fast. She couldnt keep her food or liquids down over the following two days. On the second day she passed away.
    Vet recons it could have been a toxin. This list has opened my eyes to other possibility’s which I did not know of. Thank you for sharing this information.
    I spent the two days she was ill watching over her closely, with close care and never thought in the slightest she would be gone the following day.
    Oh I miss my pup! Tomorrow isn’t a guarantee, let them know you love them.

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  3. My dog passed away yesterday 10/07/21. My husband took him to the vet as he was vomiting the night before after a walk and his dinner. The doctor gave him a shot for nausea and some subcutaneous fluids and said he fell to his belly and urinated and defacted on himself. He got back up and they were going to do x-rays and he fell again, eyes dialated and they tried cpr and to intubate but could not revive him. they did x-rays after he passed and saw he had an enlarged heart. (He was treated for heartworm at 1 year old.) He was just 8 and I will miss him so, I wish I would of been there for him.

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  4. My dachshund 10 years old passed away Thursday last week. He started vomiting on Tuesday. Beginning clear, then turned to a brownish colour (blood). We moved to a new house and we thought he may have been poisined by drinking water from mint plant. Vet said no. He was very dehydrated. They gave him liquid. Anti nausea meds. They took X-ray. Found no obstruction. Liver slightly enlarged. Blood panel – perfect. He had no weight loss. No loss of appetite or other behaviour changes. Our family dog passed in the vet hospital after 30hrs. Going from happy and engaged dog to extremely ill. I’m at loss.

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  5. Cardiac hemangiosarcoma.

    My almost 12 year old had some symptoms prior (noisy breathing, poo would come out when sleeping), but we couldn’t get him to the vet because of covid.
    He was totally fine, total normal day. Ate dinner like he normally does. Half hour later gets up off the couch and collapses. Slowly gets up and just stands there. We tried to get him to lay on his bed (he’s really active, we thought he hurt his sore leg running outside). About ten minutes later goes to the door to go outside. Takes a pee, walks a little, poops, then vomits, walks a little more and collapses. Heavy breathing, wouldn’t move. Saturday night in a rural area, so emergency hospital was an hour away. Didn’t make it. He wouldn’t have if we got there anyway. He was a really active dog so to see this, my god. Witnessing it makes you never want to get a dog again. Absolute tragedy. We weren’t even aware. It’s the silent killer, and just awful.
    We got a nacropsy report and that’s how we found out his heart tumor. And thank god. I couldn’t live not knowing what the hell happened to him.

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    • Thank you for sharing. Our 8 year old golden died VERY suddenly two weeks ago. Active all day then around 3:00 am started vomiting but she kept drinking water. She passed before my eyes at 8:30 am. I am at a loss. So your situation could have been what happened to her. We also think a diabetic incident as she was over weight and had thyroid problems. I’m STILL crying two weeks later.

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  6. My dear Honey passed away this Saturday at age 10. She threw up Friday night and I monitored her, she seemed sick but okay. The whole week, she was completely fine and peppy. Everything seemed okay Saturday morning and my vet has always recommended the 3 day rule. “If after 3 days the symptoms are still there, being them in” I didn’t want to panic, she’s never had any major issues before. I left for a babysitting commitment. I came back and she passed. Her body in rigor mortis but still warm. I missed her by moments. I regret not making a bigger deal about it. I have so much regret not being there in her last moments. It’s awful and traumatizing. She was gone so fast. A vet tech was kind enough to examine her and while it’s hard to say without a full necropsy, it’s likely she had an underlining disease. It’s important to just take your pets for regular checkups which we did. However I now know I need to demand full check-ups like blood work, etc. My current vet never offered these types of health checks. I’m heartbroken, devastated. She’s gone and I miss her so much.

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  7. My dog suddenly come over Ill out of nowhere fireworks were going off & I thought he was just scared I tried calming him & phoning lots of different organizations to get him immediate help but it was on a Friday night & I got no response on most vets I felt helpless, so all I could do is comfort him but it was no use he was dying. he went from 100% healthy to having to say goodbye in just hours & in his last moments he crawled under my legs coughed 3 times & that was it he was gone, I found a small pile of red sick by my back door, I had to have him in my home from Friday till Monday before anybody could collect him for cremation, I felt so useless & my head was all over the place I just couldn’t believe it after 11 years I felt my life falling apart without him he was the most beautiful German shepherd cross collie he was just 8weeks when I got him & he stopped me taking my own life because I suffer from PTSD & depression. We even shared a birthday, he was perfect.!
    He will always be in my heart, I will never forget him.
    R.I.P Jai 12/05/2009— 21/11/2020

    Reply
    • I’m so sorry Nick????
      I too lost the love of my life yesterday 12/22/21 Bella girl was 9 years old and was totally fine so I thought. She started vomiting the day before yesterday and I thought she ate something that didn’t agree with her. In the morning she wasn’t good at all, so I rushed her to our vet. They called and said they were going to do a ultrasound because she had a bloated belly. I said do whatever you need to do. 15 minutes later they called and said she wasn’t looking good and I rushed over there with my sons and husband. It took 7 minutes to get there. She was already gone???????? I’m in so much pain
      I’m so sad that I didn’t get to hold her while she passed, even though I was in complete shock, I’m still feeling guilty that I wasn’t there for her like she was always always always there for me. I am shattered and can’t stop crying. Bella girl I’m so sorry that I wasn’t there when you passed, your momma loves you so much sweet girl! I may never recover
      I had no idea yesterday would be her last, I took her to the doctor to get better not die…. I love you pup forever and ever ???????? I will be with you soon Bella girl I promise

      Reply
  8. I lost my not quite 2 year old Bishon Shitzu teddy bear Buddy 1/2/2022. I was gone on vacation for a week. I got back on 1-1 in the evening. He was so so happy to see me. Jumping crazy into my arms that night. The next morning I heard him throwing up. It was white foam. This didn’t concern me as much as it should have because Buddy had eaten things and thrown them up before. We headed home. I started unpacking and gave Buddy a bath. He seemed fine, maybe slightly less energetic. Then as I was in the laundry room I heard him howl or yell. I turned around and there he was on the ground . His head pointed out and then his body was almost like a seizure or heart attack. I tried to save him with CPR but he was gone. Having him tested to find out what happened. Been searching the webb but not finding any answer’s.
    My heart is broken to lose my beautiful happy boy so soon.

    Reply
  9. Reading these posts has been very comforting. Our precious blue healer was a vibrant joyful soul. Within 32 hours from his first vomiting he died. He continued to vomit water & increasingly lethargic. He settled down that evening then woke around 2am panting. We moved him to a more open area in our kitchen & within a few moments died. Devastating. Never expected this because vomiting- although never this long- wasn’t unusual. The emergency vet never responded to our calls. Next closest was over an hour away. We felt so very helpless. Reading these posts has helped ease the sting of this completely unexpected loss. We are grateful to have been with him during those last breaths.

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  10. My Zeus died this morning at home, he was a beautiful Rottie, and was 11. Was fine Sunday morning, by Sunday night would not eat starting throwing up won’t drink threw up brown and it smelled had diarrhea twice next morning and was gone by 6:00 am don’t know why, had bad legs and a UTI

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  11. Our little 4lb chihuahua died suddenly yesterday – he was 11 years old. We went on walks, he was an inside dog, and was a healthy weight. I took him outside with me as I was going to water the yard. I have a small playpen we put him in when we are outside just so he stays in one area. He let out a couple of yelps, I thought he possibly caught his toenail in the playpen netting- he’s done that before – but when I went to check on him, less than 3 feet from me, he was laying on his side with his tongue out. I picked him up, and he was limp. I started trying to do CPR and breathe in his nose, but he was unresponsive. He had no heartbeat, all within 2-3 minute timeline. I am at a loss, and so distraught over this. He was excited to go outside, and hang out with me as we did a few times a week. I just can’t understand how this happened so quickly without any warning signs. I checked his playpen for any bugs or spiders that may have bitten him, but there was nothing in there, and it is kept indoors and only brought out when we go outside.

    Reply
  12. my dog vomiting and next day morning died , after In mouth leaking yellow water and very bad smelling , what is the reason .

    Reply
    • Hi Sabastian. There are several possible reasons, including toxic ingestion, bloat, heart problem, or even internal bleeding. An autopsy could have helped identify the exact problem. Sorry for your loss.

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  13. My Grandsons Bully just suddenly dies. They found where he threw up blood, and He was dead. Just turn 1 year old.

    Reply

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