Is there anything worse than dog vomit? The sound, the smell, even the texture – it’s one of the worst things that your dog will ever produce, yet it’s something with which you’ll learn to deal if you are a good pet owner. Vomiting is a part of life, and it’s one about which you shouldn’t usually have too much worry.
You will, however, find yourself wondering exactly why your dog’s vomit looks so odd from time to time. A dog who spits up white foam is usually a dog who provokes a little bit of concern in his or her owners, though that concern is often misplaced. Instead of immediately running off to the vet for help, you should get familiar with the likely reasons why your dog is throwing up foam.
White Foam Vomit and Dogs: The Most Common Causes
As BluePearl Pet Hospital discusses, while there are many potential causes for why your dog is vomiting up white foam, not all of them are all that serious. Figuring out precisely what is going on often means thinking about your dog’s behaviors and examining what he or she was doing immediately before vomiting. Once you do that, you’ll probably find that the cause can be lumped into one of these seven categories.
Yes, even your dog can get indigestion. One of the most common causes of throwing up white foam is that your dog is sick to his or her stomach, which causes his or her body to try to expel whatever it is that caused the stomach problem. Your dog is simply much more likely than a human to vomit when he or she gets sick to his or her stomach, but the actual level of distress your dog is in is probably around the same as what you experience when you eat something that does not agree with you. High-quality dog food is always the safest bet for our pups.
There are dozens of potential causes of indigestion in dogs. Your dog could have eaten something that didn’t agree with his or her stomach, eaten too much of something that wasn’t good for him or her, or even ate too fast. As long as your dog isn’t throwing up all more than normal and that he or she isn’t throwing up regularly, you can probably chalk the problem up to something as simple as indigestion.
If your dog vomits most mornings before eating, your dog almost certainly has another condition that is very common in humans – acid reflux. This condition occurs when your dog’s stomach lining is irritated by stomach acid, a problem that tends to occur more often when your dog’s stomach is running on empty than not. White foam is often a tell-tale sign that your dog has started to deal with this common ailment.
If you are worried about acid reflux, you can take some simple steps to help keep your dog’s stomach a little less full of acid. The easiest thing to do here is to feed your dog less food but to do it more often, which helps to keep something in your dog’s stomach at all times. As a bonus, this also goes a long way towards helping with a host of other digestive problems at the same time.
This one sounds a little more serious than the others that have been discussed, but it’s not quite as bad as many might assume. Kennel Cough is very much a common issue that happens after your dog has stuck in close quarters with other dogs. A common ailment among dogs who have just been boarded, this is actually a high-infectious contagious that ultimately doesn’t present much of a threat to a healthy dog. In fact, you’ll tend to see most Kennel Cough clearing up on its own in about a week.
The big symptom of kennel cough isn’t actually the white, foamy vomit but rather than pronounced coughing that will cause your dog to spit up. There are a host of other symptoms that range from lethargy to appetite loss, but most dogs are absolutely fine after the infection runs its course. It always a good idea to avoid the kennel and use your own crate, when possible – and with the money you’ll save, you can probably afford to buy them the best dog crate anyway.
Bloat is one of those conditions that you actually do need to worry about. It tends to be more common in older dogs or dogs who have deep chests, and one of the earliest symptoms that you’ll see from the condition is the dog’s white foam vomit. This comes from the dog’s stomach expanding with fluid or gas and might be the sign of something serious.
The symptoms of bloat are significant and serious. Dogs with canine bloat have breathing, defecating, and might even have trouble eating. This is a condition that needs to be taken seriously and that absolutely requires a trip to the vet. While the early stages of bloat may not seem too serious, dogs who deal with prolonged bouts of bloat can actually die from the condition. As such, any white vomit that is accompanied by a major change in your dog’s breathing or defecation needs to be checked out as soon as possible.
This is another one of those very serious issues that require emergency treatment. While it might share the same symptom as some very common problems, it’s one that also has a host of other issues that make it a little easier to identify.
Your dog’s pancreas is an important part of its digestive system. If your dog vomits consistently after eating, there is a good chance that this occurs because your dog’s pancreas has become inflamed. If your dog continually throws up white food after eating, you need to get him or she checked out as soon as you can.
There are a whole host of symptoms that are found in pancreatitis, and the presence of several of them will clue most dog owners and vets into the condition’s existence. If your dog is experiencing a loss of appetite, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or any kind of visible weakness, you’ll absolutely want to be safe rather than sorry and take your dog to his or her vet right away.
This is another condition where it’s necessary to look at more than just the vomiting to determine whether or not you need to be worried. While the foamy white vomit is absolutely a symptom, you need to be much more concerned about how your dog is acting. Is he or she listless and lazy? Does your dog seem disoriented? Is your dog having problems urinating? If so, there’s a good chance that your dog is having problems with his or her kidneys.
Just as with humans, kidney disease is a problem that needs to be managed. If you let your dog go too long without the proper treatment, your dog can go into kidney failure and might have to be put down. As such, you’ll want to make sure that you get your dog’s kidneys checked out as soon as you notice any of the behaviors that have been discussed here.
The parvovirus is one of those boogeymen of dog ownership, a condition that tends to strike at the youngest dogs in a way that can quickly lead to death. It’s one of the scariest things with which your puppy can get infected and it’s definitely something for which you want to be on the lookout.
Though foamy white vomit is one of the earliest symptoms that you’re going to see from parvo, it’s not the only symptom. Puppies tend to get lethargic, run fevers, and produce bloody stool if they catch the virus. Parvo is absolutely not something to be taken lightly, so you should definitely get your puppy checked out if he or she is showing more than one of the symptoms of the illness.
What to Do If Your Dog Vomits Up White Foam
This is always the big question for dog owners. After all, you want to do the right thing for your dog, but you don’t necessarily want to run out and see the vet every time your dog throws up. The unfortunate but simple answer is that you really will need to take things case by case to figure out what to do with your dog.
The first thing you need to think about is whether or not your dog is in a category that is more likely to need medical help. Puppies, old dogs, and dogs who are already suffering from health problems are more likely to be dogs who need a little bit of extra help. If your dog is very old or very young, you’ll probably want to get him or she checked out if he or she vomits more than once or twice.
It’s also a really good idea to keep all of the other things going on with your dog in mind. If your dog throws up once and moves along, you probably don’t have a problem about which you need to worry about. If your dog is constantly throwing up and has dozens of other symptoms, a vet is probably going to be your best bet.
In many cases, your goal needs to be to rule out something more serious. If you have any fears at all that something worse than an upset stomach is going on with your dog, you should go ahead and visit your vet. It’s not always easy to admit that you don’t know what’s going on, but a vet can check your dog out and make sure that he or she isn’t suffering.
At the end of the day, it’s very unlikely that throwing up a bit of white foamy vomit is actually cause for concern. It’s only when your dog is dealing with a host of other symptoms that you really need to worry. Always make sure to observe your dog for a bit after he or she throws up to make sure that your dog isn’t dealing with anything else and never be afraid to contact your vet if you aren’t quite sure about what is going on with your dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if my dog is throwing up white foam?
The first, most important step you should take if your dog is throwing up white foam is to start observing your dog. If he or she simply throws up, moves along, and goes about his or her day, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. If your dog continues to vomit or he or she seems to be sick in any other way, you may have some problems that require professional help. White foam isn’t necessarily a sign that anything is wrong with your dog, but when present with other symptoms it may let you know that there is something more serious going on with your pet.
What does white foamy vomit mean?
White foamy vomit can mean any number of things. For the most part, it generally means that your dog is trying to get rid of something in his or her body that has hurt his or her stomach. It’s very much akin to when you suffer from indigestion or acid reflux – there’s food or stomach acid present that is making your dog’s stomach feel bad, so he or she is trying to get rid of it as quickly as possible. White foam can also be a sign that something else is going on with your dog and that his or her digestive system isn’t functioning quite as well as it should. As such, you should look at white foam as just one indicator that something is going on with your dog.
When should you be concerned about your dog throwing up?
You should generally be concerned when your dog is throwing up if one of three things is occurring. The first, and most obvious, is if your dog is throwing up blood or bile – this is an easy-to-identify sign that something very serious is going on with your pet. You should also be concerned if your dog is throwing up frequently; the more often your dog throws up during a day, the more chance there is that there is a problem. Finally, you should be concerned if your dog has several other symptoms alongside the vomit.