Does Your Dog Vomit White Foam And Should You Be Concerned?

All dogs vomit occasionally, and most every dog owner has also seen their dog throw up a whitish or yellowish foam. This foam represents churned up gastric acid and other stomach fluids and may just be a case of simple indigestion. If it only occurs occasionally and the dog othewise seems well, it’s likely nothing to worry about. 

But if your dog is throwing up white foam more than just occasionally, it’s time for a consult with your veterinarian. These medical conditions are associated with throwing up foam in dogs:

One – Indigestion/upset stomach – as we noted above, this may simply be a case of an upset stomach. Perhaps your dog ate too much grass, or ate too fast. If this only occurs occasionally and is not associated with other symptoms, then it’s probably nothing to be concerned about.

Two – Reflux – This is a condition in which acids from the dog’s stomach run back up the dog’s esophagus and into the throat, irritating the entire upper digestive tract. Dogs who suffer from acid reflux can often throw up yellow or white foam. This also usually occurs in the morning, before the dog has eaten anything. 

Three – Bloat – This is caused by the dog’s stomach expanding due to gas and fluid and can be a potentially dangerous condition. Retching and vomiting of white foam are early symptoms. If the bloated stomach flips or twists on itself, this is called volvulus and is an emergency situation which requires immediate surgery to save the dog’s life.

Four – Kennel cough – If your dog has been boarded or has been at day care with other dogs and develops a cough with white foam, it may likely be kennel cough. This is an infectious disease of the upper respiratory system and can be accompanied by a runny nose, sneezing, lack of appetite and lack of energy.

Five – Parvovirus – This is another highly contagious very dangerous virus which mostly affects young puppies and young dogs. One of the symptoms is throwing up white foam and is often followed by bloody diarrhea, fever, lack of appetite and lethargy.

Six – Pancreatitis – This is an inflammation of the pancreas and is an extremely serious condition affecting the dog’s digestive system. Dogs who have pancreatitis frequently vomit up their food and it often includes the presence of white or yellowish foam. Other symptoms are obvious abdominal pain, diarrhea, lack of appetite, fever, weakness and dehydration.

Seven – Kidney disease – Symptoms include weakness, difficulty urinating, lethargy, and even disorientation plus throwing up white foam. 

Needless to say, all of these symptom pictures require immediate veterinary consultation.

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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