Why Is My Dog Throwing Up White Foam?

Key takeaway

There are many reasons why your dog may be throwing up white foam, from less worrying reasons such as them throwing up bile due to not eating for a longer period of time to medical emergencies that possibly require surgery like bloating. Always take your dog to the vet for a thorough examination if they have been throwing up multiple times in a day or across consecutive days.

If you notice that your dog is throwing up white foam, you are probably concerned about their health. Regardless of whether your dog has an acute or chronic issue, this is something that you need to address as quickly as possible.

Perhaps your dog has a stomach infection. Maybe this is a sign of something more serious, such as pancreatitis. The sooner you get on top of this issue, the faster you can put your dog in a position to make a recovery.

The timing, amount, and color of the vomit can all give you ideas regarding what is happening with your puppy. Why is my dog throwing up white foam? If you are interested in learning why your dog is throwing up white foam, what to do if your dog is throwing up white foam, and how throwing up white foam is typically treated by vets, keep reading below.

Reasons Why Dogs Vomit White Foam

Reasons why dogs vomit white foam

So, why is my dog throwing up white foam? There are plenty of reasons why your dog or puppy might be throwing up white foam. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Indigestion: If you are wondering about your dog vomiting after eating, it could be a sign of indigestion. Your dog might be having a hard time digesting their food, leading to vomiting.
  • Acid reflux: If you see your puppy throwing up white foam, it might also be a sign of acid reflux. Acid reflux is not unusual in dogs, and it could cause your dog to start throwing up white foam.1
  • Bloating: Bloating can also be a reason for your dog to throw up white. If your dogs stomach is bloated and they seem to feel pain when you press on their stomach, get them to the vet immediately. Bloating is a medical emergency and there could be a need for surgery. It can stop blood from the hind legs from reaching the heart and send the dog into shock.2
  • Gastrointestinal blockage: If your dog has a GI blockage, things cannot move through the GI tract like they should. As a result, you might have your dog throwing up. GI blockages are very common and can also decrease blood flow and cause damage to the bowel area.3 
  • Toxins: There are also plenty of toxic dog foods. If your dog has eaten something toxic, it could cause them to start vomiting. This is something that requires the attention of a veterinarian as quickly as possible.
  • Bacterial or viral illness: Just like people, dogs can develop gastrointestinal infections as well. Your dog may have a bacterial or viral illness leading to vomiting, but keep in mind that this can also be a reason why your dog has diarrhea. Campylobacter infection, Salmonella infection, and parvovirus are just a few examples.4
  • Rabies: When you think about a dog that is throwing up white foam, you might also think about rabies. Even though it is possible for your dog to have rabies, your dog should also be up to date on their rabies vaccine. 
  • Pancreatitis: When your dog starts to vomit, it could also be a sign of pancreatitis. The pancreas is one of the most important metabolic organs, and if your dog's pancreas is inflamed, it could lead to vomiting.

These are just a few of the many reasons why your dog might be throwing up white foam. It is important to reach out to a veterinary professional who can talk to you about treatment options.

What To Do If Your Dog Is Throwing Up White Foam

So, if you notice that your dog is vomiting white foam, what do you need to do? It depends on whether you see your dog throwing up only one time or multiple times over the course of several days. The color, frequency, and timing of the vomit will dictate what you need to do next.

Furthermore, you should check and see if the vomiting is coupled with other symptoms. For example, if you notice that your dog is vomiting and lethargic, it could be a sign that something more serious is going on. If you see your dog vomiting white foam, and it is coupled with significant behavioral changes, you might need to reach out to a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

Even though vomiting is important, other symptoms are just as important. It could make it easier to arrive at the right diagnosis and administer the appropriate treatment. If your dog is vomiting multiple times in 24 hours or across multiple days, however, you should always take them to the vet for a check-up.

Contact your vet if your dog vomits multiple times in 24 hours or across consecutive days

Treatment For Dogs Vomiting White Foam

If your dog is vomiting white foam and vomiting persistently, you need to take them to the veterinarian. A thorough examination will need to be conducted. The veterinarian will probably ask you about your dog's past medical history, recent diet, medication changes, and anything that your dog might have accidentally ingested. This includes not only food but also chemicals, plants, and toxins.

Your veterinarian will also perform a comprehensive physical examination. This is important for making sure that nothing is overlooked. There are lots of potential causes of vomiting, and your veterinarian does not want to miss anything.

After the physical exam, the veterinarian may recommend further diagnostic testing to make sure the diagnosis is correct. The vet may draw some blood, and they may also test urine. This might then be followed up by imaging procedures, such as an ultrasound or an x-ray.5

Regardless of the diagnosis, the veterinarian will probably administer some anti-nausea medications to make your dog more comfortable. The veterinarian may also administer medications that are designed to protect your dog’s stomach from further injury. In addition, the veterinarian will probably administer some IV fluids to treat the likely dehydration that has resulted from vomiting.5

The rest of the treatment process will depend on the diagnosis. Some of the treatment options include:

  • An endoscopy to look for a possible obstruction in the GI tract.
  • An antidote or reversal agent if your dog has ingested something toxic.
  • Decompression and gastric lavage if your dog is bloated.5

Your veterinarian will talk about all of these treatment options with you to make sure you understand what is going on.

How To Prevent Your Dog From Throwing Up White Foam

Even though the treatment of vomiting is important, it is just as important to prevent vomiting from happening in the first place. Ideally, you should prevent your dog from chewing, licking, or eating anything that they should not consume; however, it can be very difficult to control your dog's behavior constantly.

There are a few steps you can take to reduce the risk of your dog vomiting white foam. They include:

  • Make sure you take your dog to the veterinarian at least once per year for a wellness check. Your veterinarian will let you know if the dog has to come back more often.
  • Try to provide your dog with a healthy diet. You may want to talk to your vet about the best dog food. You should also try to minimize the number of treats you give your dog.
  • Train your dog not to eat plants, grass, and sticks outside. Try to keep foreign bodies away from your dog, as they can be choking hazards.
  • Make sure you store your cleaning chemicals safely. Keep them out of reach.

If you believe that your dog has ingested something toxic, you need to reach out to your veterinarian as quickly as possible. Delaying a trip to the veterinarian could unintentionally make things worse.

Other Colors Of Dog Vomit And What They Mean

Dog vomit color chart

There are other vomit colors you might notice. Some of the most common examples include:

  • Yellow vomit means that your dog has an empty stomach. Yellow is the color of bile, which is used to digest food.
  • Clear vomit indicates that your dog might be having a difficult time keeping down water.
  • If the vomit is red or pink, this has to be taken seriously as it is likely blood. It could be a sign of an ulcer, which could stem from ingesting something toxic. You need to take your dog to the emergency vet clinic right away.
  • Green vomit can be caused by your dogs eating grass. You may also see shards of grass in the vomit.
  • Brown vomit indicates that your dog could have food that never made it down the esophagus. It could also be an indication that your dog has been eating poop outside.1

Why Is My Dog Throwing Up White Foam?: FAQs

What can I give my dog to settle their stomach?

There are foods that can help your dog’s stomach settle after vomiting. A few examples include chicken and rice (without seasoning), plain pumpkin, oatmeal, unsweetened yogurt, sweet potatoes, and bananas; however, it is always better to take your dog to the veterinarian for treatment.

How can I make my dog feel better after vomiting?

Immediately after vomiting, make sure your dog has a comfortable place to relax. You may want to delay giving your dog food for a few hours to give the stomach time to settle. Giving your dog a little bit of water may also be beneficial, but you should contact your veterinarian to see if your dog has to go to the emergency vet.

Should dogs drink water after vomiting?

You should give your dog small amounts of water to keep them hydrated, but giving your dog too much water can irritate the GI tract. You should take your dog to the veterinarian for proper rehydration measures.

Dog in bed looking tired and uncomfortable

Final Notes

If your dog has an upset stomach, it can be concerning. You might be wondering what to do next, and it is always a good idea to reach out to a veterinary professional that can help you. At Dutch, you have access to trained, experienced professionals who can work with you closely to figure out the right treatment for your dog. That way, you can keep your dog as comfortable as possible while helping them on the road to recovery. Get started with Dutch today, and make sure your dog gets the care they need.

References

  1. Lantry, Stephanie. "Why Is My Dog Vomiting?" PetMD, 3 Nov. 2020, https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/digestive/different-types-dog-vomit-and-what-they-indicate#white-foamy-vomit.

  2. Grognet, Jeff. "Bloat (or GDV) in Dogs — What It Is and How it’s Treated." American Kennel Club, 21 Sep. 2021, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/bloat-in-dogs/.

  3. "Bowel Obstruction In Dogs: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention." American Kennel Club, 16 Jan. 2020, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/bowel-obstruction-in-dogs/.

  4. Tabor, Alicja E. et al. "Disorders Caused by Bacteria in the Digestive System of Dogs." Merck Veterinary Manual, Oct 2020, https://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/digestive-disorders-of-dogs/disorders-caused-by-bacteria-in-the-digestive-system-of-dogs/.

  5. Tams, Todd R. "The Vomiting Dog--Diagnosis." World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings, https://www.vin.com/apputil/content/defaultadv1.aspx?id=3850283&pid=8768.