Why Is My Boston Throwing Up? 7 Reasons Why & What To Do


boston terrier throwing up

Reasons that a Boston Terrier, or any dog, could be throwing up are numerous. Some reasons, such as dietary indiscretion, are very common and easily treatable. 

Other causes, such as toxin exposure, are much more concerning and could result in long-lasting or even fatal consequences. 

Here is a list of seven common reasons for vomiting in Boston Terriers.

7 Reasons Your Boston Terrier May Be Vomiting

Read along for a list of some of the most common causes of vomiting in Boston Terriers and how best to address the causes. 

Keep in mind that if your Boston is experiencing uncontrollable vomiting, severe lethargy, and/or profuse diarrhea, they should be seen by a veterinarian right away. 

Why Is My Boston Throwing Up? 7 Reasons Why & What To Do

1. Dietary Indiscretion

Dietary indiscretion is just a fancy term for when your Boston eats anything that is not part of their typical diet. 

This can be…

  • Garbage 
  • Table Scraps 
  • Spoiled Food
  • Wood Chips/dirt 
  • Etc. 

Mild cases of dietary indiscretion will typically resolve within 24 hours. You may notice 1-2 episodes of vomiting, loose stool, with or without mild sluggishness. 

In these cases, you can try feeding your Boston Terrier an easily digestible, bland diet with probiotics and monitor for resolution (more on bland diets below). 

Some cases of dietary indiscretion can be more severe, so if your dog has vomited repeatedly over several hours, he or she is at risk of becoming dehydrated. 

If you feel you Boston has become dehydrated; it is best to visit your veterinarian where they can administer fluids as well as medications to control the vomiting.

Are you concerned about veterinarian medical bills for your Boston? Pet Assure is not a “traditional” pet insurance plan, but a vet health savings plan. You get 25% off our vet visits immediately, and there are no pre-existing conditions. Plans start for less than $10.00 per month for a single dog. Check out more at Pet Assure to see if this would be worth it for your Boston Terrier.

Why Is My Boston Throwing Up? 7 Reasons Why & What To Do

2. Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites are very common in our canine friends, especially dogs, under one year of age. Even pets that have been treated with a “dewormer” are at risk for contracting parasites. Dewormers labeled broad-spectrum do not protect against ALL species of parasites. 

Most cases of intestinal parasites also involve diarrhea, so if you’re noticing loose stools in conjunction with intermittent vomiting, your pet could be suffering from intestinal parasites. 

Your veterinarian will need to perform intestinal parasite screening on your pet’s stool to confirm a diagnosis, so bring a sample with you to your appointment. 

Most cases of intestinal parasites are treated easily with the appropriate deworming agent.   

Why Is My Boston Throwing Up? 7 Reasons Why & What To Do

3. Infectious Agents

Infectious agents refer to anything bacterial, viral, or parasitic (as described above) that can lead to an infection (i.e., a stomach bug). 

Sometimes these agents cause acute gastritis which will often manifest clinically as: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Lack Of Appetite
  • Lethargy 
  • Diarrhea

Has your Boston Terrier stopped eating, and you’re unsure why? Here is an article I wrote covering the 5 Reasons Boston Terriers Lose Their Appetite.

Avoid Contact With Other Dogs!

Most infectious agents that cause gastritis are spread from other infected dogs. The route of transmission is typically either through respiratory exposure (nose-to-nose contact, shared water bowls) or fecal-oral transmission (coming in contact with infected fecal material). 

Nearly all infections that cause vomiting are contagious, so it is safe to assume that other pets might be vulnerable if exposed. Avoiding close contact with other dogs for 5-7 days is recommended

When Should I Talk With A Veterinarian?

You should seek veterinary assistance if your Boston Terrier is vomiting with any consistency. This way therapy such as fluid administration, anti-vomiting/nausea medications, and gastro protectants can be implemented

Often identifying the exact agent or cause of acute gastritis is not pursued because signs often resolve with symptomatic therapy before exhaustive testing can be performed. 

Why Is My Boston Throwing Up? 7 Reasons Why & What To Do

4. Food Allergy Or Sensitivity 

While food allergies often manifest as dermatologic or skin issues, they can also have gastrointestinal symptoms. Gastrointestinal symptoms are reported in a sizable amount of pets suffering from food allergies. 

Gastrointestinal symptoms can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Flatulence
  • Salivation
  • Increased Frequency Of Defecation
  • Loose Stools

Food allergies are often a labor-intensive diagnosis to make. This is because the best way to determine if your pet is allergic to something in their food is to conduct a 6-week elimination diet trial. In the elimination trial, you feed ONLY a specific, hypoallergenic diet and monitor for improvement. 

If you think your pet could be suffering from food allergies, make an appointment with your veterinarian.  

If a diet trial is recommended, your veterinarian will give you a list of diets to choose from and discuss pitfalls to diet trials.

Do you think your Boston Terrier has allergies? Here is an article you might find interesting, Dog Allergies Guide: Symptoms & Treatments; Natural Remedies.

Why Is My Boston Throwing Up? 7 Reasons Why & What To Do

5. Pancreatitis 

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas gland helps digest food and regulate blood sugar. Inflammation in the pancreas can affect any breed of dog. 

The Classical Signs Of Pancreatitis Are

  • Vomiting
  • Appetite Loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Painful Abdomen
  • Fever 
  • Or Any Combination Thereof

Pancreatitis can be acute or chronic, mild or severe.

In most cases of pancreatitis, the veterinarian never determines the exact cause. However, we do know some events that can cause pancreatitis. 

Possible Causes Of Pancreatitis 

  • Certain Drugs (certain antibiotics, anti-seizure medications, and chemotherapy agents)
  • Certain Hormonal Imbalances (hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus)
  • Obesity
  • A Recent High Fat Meal (steak!)
  • Or Trauma To The Abdomen (car accident)

What To Do If You Suspect Your Boston Terrier Has Pancreatitis.

If you think it’s possible your Boston Terrier could be suffering from pancreatitis, he or she should be seen by a veterinarian right away. 

There are blood tests available to help determine if this is the cause. If diagnosed with pancreatitis, your Boston may need to be hospitalized for ongoing treatment depending on the severity of symptoms. 

Most commonly, the inflammation is confined to the liver and pancreas area, and the prognosis is good. 

Pancreatitis can be painful and life-threatening and should be addressed immediately. 

Why Is My Boston Throwing Up? 7 Reasons Why & What To Do

6. Gastrointestinal Obstruction 

Some Boston Terriers are known to be chewers or destroyers. For these guys and gals, in particular, the gastrointestinal obstruction will be more common. It will be something owners have to be diligent about preventing. 

Gastrointestinal obstruction is a blockage of the G.I. tract and typically occurs after a pet has ingested a foreign body. 

Common Foreign Body Ingestions Include

  • Blankets
  • Rope Toys
  • Plastic Toys
  • Corn Cobs
  • Socks
  • Shoes
  • Undergarments

An obstruction will typically manifest with vomiting, lack of appetite, severe lethargy, and diarrhea (often profuse).

What To Do If You Think Your Boston Terrier Has G.I. Problems?

If you think your Boston Terrier could have ingested something that would be difficult to pass through the G.I. tract, you should see your veterinarian immediately

After examining your Boston and your veterinarian is concerned that a gastrointestinal foreign body could be the cause, a diagnostics including bloodwork and x-rays will be necessary.

Why Is My Boston Throwing Up? 7 Reasons Why & What To Do

7. Toxin Exposure 

Almost any toxin exposure can lead to vomiting. Toxin exposure can be very serious. If you KNOW your Boston Terrier has been exposed to a potential toxin, you should NOT wait and see if symptoms develop. Take action right away to reduce possible complications.  

Common Toxins A Boston Terrier Can Be Exposed To Include

  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol (often Found In Sugar-Free Products)
  • Rodenticides/rat Poisons
  • Insecticides
  • Grapes 

If you think your dog could have ingested something toxic, have him or her evaluated right away. Always bring any packaging (even if it’s chewed up), so the veterinarian can evaluate active ingredients based on the specific brand. 

Alternatively, you can call the ASPCA Pet Poison Hotline at (888) 426-4435, where a veterinary toxicologist can give you advice on how to best proceed. 

Be sure to write down your case number, and if your local veterinarian needs to speak with the toxicologist regarding the case, they can easily access the information.  

Why Is My Boston Throwing Up? 7 Reasons Why & What To Do

How To Care For Your Boston Terrier’s Vomiting At Home

After reading through the most common causes, if you feel your Boston Terrier does not need to be seen right away, here are three tips for at-home care.

1. Bland Diets

A bland diet is a highly digestible diet making it easier for the digestive tract to process. You can start feeding a bland diet in smaller (2 golf ball-sized portions), more frequent (every 4-6 hours) meals for 2-3 days. 

Once the vomiting has subsided, and your Boston Terrier is acting normally gradually mix their regular diet back in over 3-4 days.  

Bland diets can be prescription G.I. food such as Purina EN or Hill’s I/D (a veterinary prescription will be required to purchase) or homemade options including boiled chicken or lean ground turkey with rice or potato, low-fat cottage cheese, or scrambled eggs

Why Is My Boston Throwing Up? 7 Reasons Why & What To Do

2. Probiotics

Add a probiotic to your dog’s diet. A good probiotic will be manufactured by a reputable company and be formulated specifically for dogs. Human probiotics won’t work on dogs. 

Brands I feel comfortable recommending include Purina FortiFlora and Nutramax Proviable, both of which are available from online retailers.

Check out the reviews and price here on Amazon, Purina FortiFlora or Nutramax Proviable.

3. Encourage Water Intake

To encourage your Boston Terrier to drink more water, if you’re not already feeding a canned diet, try it. Canned diets have significantly higher water content.

If you want to stick to dry kibble, then just add water to the kibble. Alternatively, offering ice cubes as treats can encourage intake if your Boston is not picky! 

The contents of this article are provided for general informational purposes only. Under no circumstances should this page be substituted for professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment with a veterinarian.

Are you concerned about veterinarian medical bills for your Boston? Pet Assure is not a “traditional” pet insurance plan, but a vet health savings plan. You get 25% off our vet visits immediately, and there are no pre-existing conditions. Plans start for less than $10.00 per month for a single dog. Check out more at Pet Assure to see if this would be worth it for your Boston Terrier.

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