My Dog is Throwing Up Water and I’m in an Existential Crisis

My dog is throwing up water. He can’t seem to keep it down. He’s a 14-year-old Shih Tzu named Jack. He’s always had a sensitive stomach. But now he laps up an entire bowl of water, walks around a bit, and spontaneously vomits, sometimes in mid-stride. When it comes back up, it’s still clear, but it’s no longer water-as-we-know-it. It’s mucus-y and thick – mixed with stomach bile, petroleum jelly, or some alien plasma goo, I don’t know.


I don’t want to dehydrate him. So, I give him tiny bowls of water. It kinda works. The vomit piles get tinier, too.

It seems to be better if he eats first. But he’s been getting pickier and grumpier about what he eats. Part of the problem is that I’ve spoiled him. At times, he’s had lean white chicken, sweet potato, and other goodies in his bowl. Now, in his mind, this is no longer the treat, but the expectation.

So I did some research online. Not very helpful. The gulping water and vomiting thing might be:

  • empty upset stomach
  • something he ate doesn’t agree with him
  • anxiety
  • thyroid problem
  • cancer
  • the breed and old age (Shih Tzus just do this kind of thing, I guess)

So, since he’s not communicating very well, I’m left with some choices. I can:

  • keep experimenting with mixtures of food, water, amounts, times of day
  • not care, just keep cleaning up clear vomit goo
  • take him to the vet
  • put him down (not seriously considering this, but c’mon, it IS an option)

If it’s a thyroid problem or cancer, he should probably see a vet and get some help. But that’s probably not going to happen. I know; I’m awful. But in my defense,

  1. vets are expensive,
  2. it’s probably not either of those things; he seems perfectly fine otherwise, and
  3. I never said I was a role model.

But it does make me question myself a bit. After all, I took on the responsibility of the dog. This creature depends on me for care and health. There’s a contract of sorts between us. Am I shirking my end of the deal?

He has it pretty good really. We don’t buy the cheap dog food. Or the cheap treats. A lot of protein, real meat, and, as I mentioned, occasional real food as well.  He gets groomed every six weeks or so. Like a spoiled child, he’ll whine about something and, like a helicopter parent, I generally hop up and try to figure out what’s bothering the stupid mute dog.


But I’m not always happy about it. So is that the problem? Do I make him anxious? He does seem a bit nervous. And as he’s gotten older, his eyesight and hearing are failing. I can pretty much sneak up on him and scare the bejeebers out of him. It’s hilarious. (Reminder: not a role model.)


Mainly I believe I’m just cheap. And I’m not interested in putting more money into this thing. Especially at 14 years old which, according to this chart, means he’s about 78 years old in human age equivalency. I’m thinking DNI/DNR orders are appropriate. He’s had a good life.

I know a lot of people that treat their pets like family members and would take every life-saving measure possible for their cat, dog, iguana, ferret, or pot-bellied pig (Hopefully not fish. Please don’t waste money trying to save your fish. Flush and refresh.). And no judgment here; you do you. In fact, I’m questioning if maybe I shouldn’t be a little more like you. Willing to do what it takes to protect this animal in my care. And what does it say about me that I’m not? I could get quite introspective here, plunge into a deep existential crisis about self-actualization, life’s meaning, and the point of it all. But it’s just a dog.


I do care about the dog. I clean his eyes and ears daily. We go for walks. I throw pieces of banana down to him when he unrelentingly stares at me with that pleading look. And I clean up his goo indoors, and outside, the firmer expulsions from his other end.

But I just don’t have it in me to go to extreme measures. And I guess I’m just going to have to accept that about myself. Though I do hope my children treat me better.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.