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23 May 2022


Why is my dog throwing up white foam? What caused it and how to treat it

Should I be concerned if my dog’s vomit is pale and frothy?

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If your dog is throwing up white foam, there’s no reason to panic. Foamy, white vomit can look a little disturbing and it’s likely your dog is in distress, but chances he’ll be fine before you know it. Here’s why your dog might be throwing up white foam and how to treat your sick pup.

Why Is My Dog Vomiting White Foam?

Pale vomit that looks like foam or bubbly saliva (as opposed to chunkier dog vomit) occurs because of excess air or gas in the stomach. Your dog is most likely throwing up white liquid because there’s not much else in his stomach to purge. The white foam is a mix of saliva and beaten gastric juices. The mucus lining his stomach is irritated, becoming frothy, and that’s what you’re seeing come up onto your carpet or floor.

What Are the Causes?

The most common reason for a dog to throw up white foam is GI distress. Foamy vomit may occur if a pooch has excess gas in his stomach. If your dog is experiencing indigestion and there’s nothing left in his stomach to expel, he may start throwing up this pale, frothy liquid or foam.

Causes of GI distress that could lead to vomiting white foam include:

  • Eating grass or another similar stomach irritant.
  • Ingesting a toxin.
  • Heat stroke.
  • Bacterial infection.
  • Eating sugary, fatty, or spicy human food.

It’s possible that the presence of air in your dog’s vomit could indicate a more serious issue. Other less common causes of white foam in your dog’s throw up include:

  • Kennel cough: Also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, this is a highly contagious respiratory disease. Vomiting will likely be accompanied by a strong cough and sneezing or a runny nose.
  • Tracheal collapse: This condition, which affects toy breeds primarily, occurs when the tracheal rings that make up a dog’s windpipe being to collapse. If this is the case, your dog will develop a honking cough as well.
  • Bloat: Also known as gastric dilation, bloat occurs when the stomach fills with air. If bloat occurs, your dog’s abdomen will appear distended.
  • Fungal infection: Contact with environment yeast, which is often found in bird or bat droppings, can cause this sort of vomiting, as well as diarrhea, shaking, and lack of appetite.
  • Acid reflux: Just like humans, dogs can experience acid reflux when gastrointestinal fluid flows into the esophagus.
  • Pancreatitis: Damage to the pancreas (or pancreatitis) occurs when digestive enzymes inflame the pancreas
  • Kidney problem: When your dog’s kidneys aren’t functioning properly, he may exhibit extreme changes in thirst level, pale gums, and frothy vomit.

What Should I Do If My Dog is Throwing Up White Foam?

It’s possible that your dog’s gastrointestinal issue could be a sign of a more serious issue, so it’s always a good idea to call your vet if you believe you have any reason to be concerned. If you know your pup chowed down on some grass earlier and the throw up isn’t extreme, he’s almost certainly fine. However, if your dog is exhibiting other symptoms like coughing, difficulty breathing, lethargy, or tremors, make an appointment immediately.

If the white foam is caused by a more serious issue, the treatment should be handled by a medical professional. However, if your dog is simply suffering from stomach upset, your goal should be to calm the frothing in his gut.

Withhold food for up to 12 hours and offer your dog ice instead of water until his symptoms subside. When your dog is ready to eat again, offer a small amount of easily-digestible food (like boiled chicken and rice). If he tolerates the meal, you should and your pup should be in the clear!

The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.

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