Dog vomit is in different colours. They may appear yellow, brown, clear, or white and foamy.
Repeated vomiting of white foam calls for a dog owner's immediate attention as possible underlying conditions is forcing the dog to vomit.
A dog throwing up white vomit is disturbing but with the correct diagnosis by a vet, and necessary treatments, the dog's health will be okay in no time.
Here is why your furry friend may be vomiting white foam, treatments, and possible prevention measures.
What does foamy vomit mean?
White foamy vomit results from digestive gastric juices and saliva secretion mixing with air in a dog's stomach.
The dog's stomach lining becomes irritated, and the dog eventually purges excess air that is white foam or bubbly saliva in their stomach as there is not much else.
Although there are different causes for this condition in dogs, there are common symptoms like:
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Vomit with blood in it
What causes a dog to throw up white foam?
There are a variety of reasons for a dog to vomit white foam. It could be the dog eating something off its regular diet or ingesting toxic substances.
These substances may not sit well with the dog's digestive system, and they can make peculiar songs and behave strangely, which can be scary to pet owners.
Below are some underlying conditions for your dog vomiting white foam:
- Kennel Cough
As an upper respiratory infection, kennel cough is highly contagious but easy to diagnose. Its primary sign is prolonged dry hacking cough accompanied by white foam.
Usually, it is not life-threatening for healthy dogs except those with weak immune systems, but if not apprehended, it could lead to pneumonia.
Dogs contract kennel cough when they encounter infected dogs, but often, it's mild, and symptoms may clear within 7-10 days of infection.
Other symptoms are; lethargy, sneezing, loss of appetite, and runny nose.
This severe condition in dogs makes their stomach fill with fluid, gas, or food and expands, which is common in senior and deep-chested adult dogs.
The stomach becomes rigid and swollen, trapping food. Consequently, the dog will vomit foam and repeatedly retch in an attempt to rid their bellies of the air.
Bloat is very uncomfortable and painful for dogs, and delay in treatment can cause death in hours because its enlarged abdomen will restrict blood flow and pressure on the lungs, increasing breathing difficulties.
Other symptoms include; pale gums, coughing, excessive drooling, and inability to defecate. Contact your vet right away if any of these signs show up in your dog.
- Upset Stomach
Indigestion or an upset stomach is the most common cause for dogs to vomit white foam.
Most cases involve the dog trying to omit a substance that doesn't agree with their digestive system, like too much grass, the food they wolfed down, or excessive water drunk after exercising.
They may have ingested things they can't correctly digest, such as large bones, socks, toys, or corn cobs which fail to move across their intestinal tract and become lodged.
Also, toxic things such as pesticides, household cleaners, houseplants, or human medications can cause white foamy vomit.
An upset stomach can lead to hypersalivation, where the dog tends to swallow more saliva than average and throw up white foam.
Occasional upsets will see the dog back to its usual self in 24 hours, but some toxic substances may cause severe illnesses and, worse, death.
Other symptoms are; nauseous and tiredness. These signs call for immediate medical attention for your dog.
- Fungal Infection
Environmental yeast on the bat, poultry, or bird droppings can cause a dog to vomit white foam accompanied by harsh, dry coughs.
Dogs come in contact with the fungal organisms through sniffing or scratching and digging contaminated soils.
Other symptoms include; lack of appetite, diarrhoea, and shaking. Always contact your vet for suspicious signs.
This condition results in foaming in its last stages. The foam results from nerve damage around the dog's throat and mouth, preventing them from swallowing.
By the time the foaming signs are seen, symptoms such as fear of water, fever, aggressive behaviour, and seizure will already have started to show.
However, with appropriate boosters and vaccines, rabies is preventable. Contact your vet at the early signs of rabies for diagnosis and effective treatment.
The pancreas is an essential organ for healthy digestion in all mammals, but pancreatitis hinders its functions by making it inflamed.
Dogs with pancreatitis throw up often, and this includes white foam. Swelling the pancreas affects normal digestive functions like breaking down, processing, and eliminating food.
As the condition progresses, the dog is left with limited options of getting rid of excess material, forcing it to vomit, and it will be with white foam.
Other signs are; loss of appetite, diarrhoea, dehydration, hunched-over position, abdominal pain, fever, and weakness. Ensure to take your dog for a checkup as soon as possible.
- Intestinal parasite
Parasites such as heartworms and lungworms found in the respiratory tract can cause a great deal of discomfort for your dog.
Transmission is possible when a dog eats snails or the worm larvae. These parasites affect the respiratory tract and make dogs cough up white foam.
Intestinal parasites may also cause problems if they move to the airways. This infestation is vital if left untreated, but fortunately, it can be prevented by vet-approved preservatives.
Other symptoms include; exercise intolerance, breathing difficulty, increased bleeding, heart disease, and coughing.
- Kidney Disease
Ingesting toxic things can lead to acute kidney diseases, which can develop over time into chronic kidney disease.
The dog requires immediate vet attention in its acute form, while chronic is easily managed by diet and lifestyle changes with various medications.
A dog will vomit white foam with added symptoms such as disorientation, urination problems, and lethargy.
These symptoms should immediately be reported to a vet for examination of the dog's kidney and early treatments.
This disease causes bubbly vomits and is prone to puppies and young dogs who may become anaemic, dehydrated, and collapse.
It is rampant in multi-dog homes, and dogs contract it orally through faeces. Its early signs are often seen in the first ten days of infection, which includes vomiting white foam.
Other signs include; severe bloody diarrhoea with solid odour, fever, and lethargy. Parvo is highly infectious, and one should seek immediate medical attention at the first signs.
Parvo treatment can be tricky, and often vet hospitalisation may not work. Fortunately, it can be prevented through vaccinations which help build up the puppy's immunity.
Should I worry if my dog is throwing up white foam?
As soon as you notice your dog vomiting white foam, take the situation seriously and seek a vet's attention.
Most causes of this situation are vital with almost similar symptoms. Therefore, professional help will help in determining the specifics of the condition.
- Once the dog is with a vet, you must provide its medical history and account for its recent activities, behaviour, and overall health.
- The vet will take a complete body examination of the dog and feel its abdomen for anything abnormal or painful.
- Blood tests, ultrasounds, urine tests, and x-rays (radiographs) can be done to evaluate the dog's digestive tract and faecal samples looked at for parasites.
- When the cause of white foam throw-up has been disclosed, the vet will prescribe suitable treatment for the dog to regain its health.
- Vets may first administer gastric protectant and anti-nausea medications through injections to avoid vomiting.
- Dehydrated, intoxicated dogs or those with pancreatitis and other health concerns are often hospitalised for frequent dosage and intravenous fluids.
- For GI obstructions, surgery or endoscopy is needed to remove the subsequent blockage, and the dog will also require hospitalisation.
- For bloat cases, the stomach gases are decompressed by pumping the stomach or gastric lavage followed by surgery. Also, a needle aspiration may be used to relieve the pressure.
- In addition to bloat diagnosis, lifestyle changes are required for the dog, including changes in diet, feeding schedule, and routine modifications.
- For kennel cough, there are regular vaccinations, but for infected dogs, the infection disappears within 10-14 days, so there is no need for treatment. Antibiotics will be prescribed for suspicions of bacterial or viral lung infections.
- Rabies is to be vaccinated against, and regular parasite control is implemented. Anti-parasitic drugs are also prescribed.
What home remedy can my dog have for vomiting?
There are a few remedies a pet owner can give their dog to relieve stomach upsets, but if the symptoms persist, consult a vet.
- Pepto-Bismol: As an over-the-counter drug, Bismol can be good for relieving your dog's pain, but it can have its side effects, so consult your vet first for proper dosage before administering this medication. It contains Aspirin, so it can only be used with dogs who are not allergic.
- Electrolytes: they help balance water in the dog's body and help them rehydrate. The electrolytes given should be free of artificial sweetener additives like xylitol.
- Probiotics: Probiotics are great for a dog's health. They promote a healthy gut for dogs and soothe their tummy of nausea. Safe Guard Probiotic contains the necessary ingredients for your dog's digestive, immune and overall health. In addition, it is vet approved.
- Ginger: This treat has an antiemetic effect that helps block serotonin receptors found in the gut from causing nausea. Choose a pet-safe tea or treat with correct dosages in powder or raw form.
- Massage: Gently rub your dog's stomach without pressing. Most dogs enjoy massages but if doing this causes more throwing-up episodes, stop the massage as it may worsen the situation.
Most home and over-the-counter remedies only give temporary relief to dogs, and delays may worsen the dog's situation in severe cases.
Taking the dog for veterinarian diagnosis, necessary treatment, and health care is better.
In addition, there are a few things one can do to help prevent their dog from vomiting white foam, including:
- Feed your dog a well-balanced and complete diet
- Keep their food and water bowls clean and transition to a new diet gradually
- Deworm your pet annually while keeping up to date on heartworm prevention
- Take your dog for an annual vet checkup to keep tabs on their health
- Research poisonous plants and discourage your pup from eating grass and plants outdoors
- Keep your pet's vaccinations current to prevent unnecessary infectious diseases.
- Choose healthy dog food and treats
- Limit human food treats to low-fat, vegetables, fruits, and bland and lean meats.
- Consider your dog's eating habits and possible food sensitivities or intolerances.
- Keep plants, chemicals, human food cleaning materials, medications, trash bins, and other toxins stowed away from the dog's reach.
- Prevent your dog from drinking or swimming in lakes, ponds, rivers, and any new bodies of water you are unsure of, or are cloudy, green, or look contaminated.
When a dog throws up white form, it will undoubtedly raise the alarm for its owner, who is likely to wonder what is up with them.
There are many reasons a dog may vomit, and it is essential to be informed of the problem and give it the treatment it requires.
Some causes are minor, while others need immediate medical attention.
Ensure to reach out to your vet anytime your dog shows suspicious symptoms for excellent overall health.