Critter Culture
Why Is My Dog Vomiting White Foam?

Why Is My Dog Vomiting White Foam?

Critter Culture Staff



Watching your furry best friend retch up white foam can send waves of panic through any dog owner's heart. It's that moment of dread mixed with the urgent need to figure out what's ailing your beloved pup. But here's the silver lining: many times, the mystery behind the foam can be unraveled and resolved, bringing relief to both you and your four-legged pal.

From mischievous adventures into forbidden cleaning supplies to more complex dietary needs that might not be currently met, the reasons behind your dog's upset stomach can vary. But fret not!

We're here to guide you through understanding these common culprits and what steps you can take to ensure your dog's tail keeps wagging happily. And remember, if the puzzle seems unsolvable, your vet is just an appointment away from helping you get to the bottom of it.

So, let's dive in and turn those worrisome moments into opportunities for care and bonding with your furry family member.


Getting into human food

Little girl holding an ice-cream offers it to a dalmatian puppy. SolStock / Getty Images

As humans, we eat some delicious foods that our dogs shouldn't have. Whether your pets sneak away with your sandwich or you give them table scraps, human food upset a canine's stomach. Fatty, sugary, and spicy dishes can be especially irritating. Stick to dog foods and treats that are vet-approved.


Munching on grass

A Beagle dog chews on the green grass at the base of a tree. Tamilisa Miner / Getty Images

If you've ever taken your dog to the vet because it ate an off-limits item like chocolate, the doctor might have induced vomiting. Your dog will do something similar naturally when it has an upset tummy—by chowing down on some greens. Grass irritates your dog's stomach and may cause it to throw up, which can ease their stomach pain and bloating.

Chowing grass is an instinctual behavior, and your dog knows that it will help ease discomfort. There's nothing to worry about if this is an occasional behavior. If it becomes a habit, however, try to identify the underlying cause of the unwanted munching.


Eating inedible items

Close Up Of Dog Eating Stone On Table Paul Miskiw / EyeEm / Getty Images

Dogs are guided by evolutionary instincts, but they don't always know what's edible and what's not. Your dog might try eating dirt, rocks, leaves, or sand. Inedible items can upset a stomach but are rarely a cause for concern. You shouldn't worry unless your dog ate something large or sharp that might damage their digestive system.


Ingesting a toxin

A puppy lies next to a blue bucket of cleaning products in the kitchen. inside-studio / Getty Images

Some foods, household items, cleaning chemicals, and auto maintenance products can cause intoxication and vomiting. If your dog has ingested a toxin, monitor them for behavioral signs such as confusion, trouble moving, and listlessness. A dog that is vomiting while showing these signs needs emergency veterinary care.


Bilious Vomiting Syndrome

Vet and Labrador retriever THEPALMER / Getty Images

Have you ever experienced acid reflux? Bilious vomiting syndrome (BVS) is the canine equivalent of this uncomfortable affliction. No one knows what causes it, but the tell-tale symptom of BVS is that your dog vomits white foam when they haven't eaten for a few hours. Vomiting is especially common in the early morning. Antacids and a special diet can help ease your dog's BVS discomfort.


Gastric dilation and volvulus

Ill retriever in veterinary clinic. alexsokolov / Getty Images

This medical condition is more likely to occur in large breeds and breeds with deep chests. When dogs suffer from this illness, their stomachs rotate and begin to distend. The rotation can put substantial pressure on the other organs.

Bloating is a primary sign of this illness. Gastric dilation and volvulus is an emergency condition that usually needs to be corrected with surgery.



A border collie puppy is lying with his belly up on a table FatCamera / Getty Images

Pancreatitis is a serious and painful condition where a dog's pancreas becomes inflamed. This affliction causes vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite. Pancreatitis can be either acute (short-term) or chronic (permanent). Feeding your canine a diet high in fats can trigger inflammation and pancreatitis.

Creating a strict, specialized diet can help your dog overcome inflammation. While you can manage chronic pancreatitis at home, you'll need to get immediate help if your dog is suffering from acute pancreatitis. Talk to a vet when the symptoms begin to find out which one your pet has.


Fungal infections

Playing off leash dog chasing bird in park alexei_tm / Getty Images

There's no way around it: Sometimes dogs are gross. Your favorite pet might really love eating the poop of other animals from time to time. Some feces won't cause any problems, but droppings from animals such as birds and bats can carry dangerous fungi.

If your dog ingests these droppings, a fungal infection that irritates their stomach lining can develop, and this can lead to vomiting white foam. This type of infection can be managed with the help of antifungals, antibiotics, fluids, and a bland diet.



Dog Drinking Water From Plastic Bottle. Pet Owner Takes Care Of His Labrador During Hot Sunny Day. Jaromir Chalabala / EyeEm / Getty Images

Heat-related illnesses aren't just a problem for dog owners. Your pets can also suffer from heatstroke if they spend either a prolonged time in somewhat high temperatures or a short time in extremely high temperatures. Diarrhea, vomiting white foam, drooling, lethargy, and bright-red gums are signs that a dog is suffering from heatstroke.

Breeds with thick, furry coats are more likely to develop heatstroke, but it can happen to any breed. Bring your pets in on hot days. If your pets must be outside, provide them with fresh water and a shaded shelter.


Kennel cough

Dogs looking up at woman with biscuit jar Hero Images / Getty Images

Do your pets spend time at doggy daycare, or have you boarded them at a kennel recently? Vomiting white foam after being in close contact with other dogs can be a sign of kennel cough. This contagious disease is spread from dog to dog in tight quarters like kennels, pet shelters, and daycares. The primary symptoms are unusual sounds, labored breathing, vomiting white foam, and a runny nose.

There's no cure for kennel cough. However, giving your canine plenty of fluids should help. Regular vaccinations can prevent kennel cough.


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