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Learn : Food Transition & Vomiting

Why is my dog vomiting white foam?

Sad Dog

Is your dog vomiting or spitting up white foam? While this can be alarming at first, usually you can quickly figure out what’s going on.  

While some of these reasons are severe, many will resolve on their own so don’t panic. The important part is whether your dog seems sick. If your dog is acting normally, just keep a close eye on them. However, if you notice them acting lethargic or otherwise acting unwell, it’s wise to give your vet a call.

What is white foamy vomit?

White foamy vomit is usually due to saliva and digestive secretions mixing with air in your dog's tummy, resulting in vomit with a soap suds like appearance. 

Typically there is some sort of irritation or trigger causing the white foamy vomit. This type of vomit is different from the common yellow-orange vomit, which indicates the presence of bile. 

Dogs can also regurgitate white foam. Unlike vomiting, with regurgitation, dogs do not typically heave or act like they are going to bring something up. Regurgitation is almost always white or clear fluid with or without food (and if it’s food, it’s undigested and recently consumed). 

Be sure to tell your vet if you suspect vomiting or regurgitation as they can provide clues to what’s going on inside.

What causes my dog to throw up white foam?

There are many reasons that your dog may be vomiting (or regurgitating) white foam. 

Often times, it is due to some type of irritation of the stomach, such as:

  • Eating something irritating or toxic (and we all know dogs aren’t picky on what they put in their mouth!)
  • Bacterial infection
  • Abrupt food changes
  • Eating grass or plants 

Other reasons for them to vomit white foam can be severe and life-threatening, such as:

  • Bloat
  • Pancreatitis
  • Heat Stroke
  • Organ dysfunction (kidney disease as an example)
  • Serious toxins (battery acid, sago palm, cleaning chemicals)
  • Foreign body (something stuck in the esophagus, stomach, or intestine)

How do I treat my dog for vomiting white foam?

If you think that the foam they are vomiting is due to a serious issue, or they’re experiencing other symptoms, your vet should look at them right away. If it’s after hours, look for a local 24/7 veterinarian emergency hospital in your area.

If your dog has vomited white foam only once and is still happy and eating, this may just be a mild upset stomach. Keep them cool and relaxed and withhold food for 12 hours, to help calm their stomach. Monitor them closely for more serious symptoms. 

After this, you can start back by feeding a bland diet (such as cooked rice) for 24 hours and then slowly transition them back to their normal diet. This should help to settle their stomach but, if they continue to vomit white foam or show other signs they’re not feeling well (diarrhea, trouble breathing, lethargy, pain) then it’s time to see a vet. 

A dog that vomits more than twice in 24 hours or continues to vomit for more than two days needs to see a vet. The vet can help determine what is causing them to vomit and give your dog injections to help them stop. 

How do I prevent my dog from vomiting white foam?

The best ways to keep your dog from vomiting white foam are to:

  • Monitor what they are eating. Make sure that they are not eating inedible objects or human food.  
  • Keep your dog from eating toxic plants in your yard, like Pennyroyal or tomato plants
  • Keep their food and water bowls clean, and when transitioning to a new diet be sure to do it gradually.
  • Take them to your vet for regular checkups. This helps you detect disease early in your dog’s life and allows you to begin treatment for any illness that they have right away. 

Remember, all dogs vomit from time to time a one-time episode of white foamy vomit isn’t a cause for major concern, just give your pup a little extra love and make sure they stay feeling alright.

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