What to do if your pet is vomiting and/or has diarrhoea

How to take care of your pet if they are vomiting or diarrhoea and when to call your vet.
Written by Mayhew team
Updated 1 year ago

Is your pet vomiting, or have they had diarrhoea recently? Whilst it can be worrying, most pets recover from a mild episode of vomiting or diarrhoea without any problems. For some pets, however, it can be an indication of a more serious problem.

There can be several reasons that our pets get sick. Our vet nurses have put this guide together to help you through the monitoring and management of any mild vomiting or diarrhoea at home.

Puppies and kittens, elderly pets and pets with underlying medical conditions can be more vulnerable; we always recommend speaking to your vet if you have any concerns about the health of your pet. 

Write down and photograph what you see

It’s important to gather as much information as possible when your pet is sick, as this will help your vet advise you on the best course of action to help manage your pet’s condition. Keep some paper or a notepad to hand so that you can document the frequency and consistency of your pet’s vomit and/or diarrhoea. If you can, take a photo of the vomit and/or diarrhoea as your vet might ask you to send these across to them or to give a description of what you saw. If you see any blood or foreign materials you will need to seek immediate veterinary attention.

Monitor your pet for other symptoms too, such as lethargy, lack of appetite and any other changes in their normal behaviours. Keep a note of the amount and type of food given and the amount eaten so that the information can be passed on to a vet if required.

Feeding your cat or dog a tummy-friendly, bland diet

When your pet has an upset tummy, there are a few things you can do to help them, including changing the food they are normally eating for a bland diet until they are better.

A bland diet can consist of a specific gastrointestinal food or, if this is not available, you can give plain boiled chicken and rice. The food should be given in small amounts over the course of the day. Keep your pet on this bland diet for two to three days. If your pet can keep their food down without vomiting or having an episode of diarrhoea during this time, you can begin to bring them back onto their normal diet slowly over the course of a few days.

An example reintroduction routine would be to incorporate 25% normal diet to 75% bland diet, then the following day to increase to 50% normal diet to 50% bland diet and so on until they are fully weaned back onto their normal diet. If during this weaning process your pet still vomits and/or has diarrhoea, please contact your vet. 

Keep your pet hydrated

Vomiting and diarrhoea can cause dehydration in a short amount of time. Make sure that your pet always has easy access to fresh drinking water. You can also mix their food with a bit of water to encourage extra fluid intake.

Exercise and garden access for your poorly pets

If your cat is vomiting and/or is suffering from diarrhoea, they should be kept indoors to help you monitor them. If your cat goes outside, they may scavenge or hunt, eating foods that you will be unable to monitor, and they may have episodes of vomiting and/or diarrhoea that you won’t see.

If your dog is vomiting and/or has diarrhoea, exercise should be limited until they are better as they will have lower energy levels than normal. You should avoid socialising your dog with other dogs outside your household whilst they are unwell in case the cause of the illness is contagious. 


Clean your cat’s litter tray after every episode of diarrhoea and provide fresh litter.

For both dogs and cats, any soiled areas around the mouth and anus can be cleaned away with warm water to ensure they are kept as comfortable as possible (no disinfectants or soaps should be used around the anus or mouth regions).

Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your pet and cleaning up any vomit or faeces. Vomiting or diarrhoea can sometimes be caused by diseases that can be passed on to humans so good hygiene is extremely important.

If you have any concerns regarding your pet’s health and wellbeing, please contact your local vet.

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