Dogs throw up. It’s one of the parts of being a dog parent and living with your furry BFF.
Whether your pup is eating too fast or eating something that hurts their tummies, vomit is a normal part of life — to a certain extent.
It’s important to be prepared to deal with this throw up when you have a pup of your own. However, what should you do if your dog is throwing up white foam? Is this dangerous? How can you help your dog?
This comprehensive guide breaks down what you need to know if you notice your dog throwing up white foam.
What Is White Foam and What Causes It?
Dogs can vomit for a range of reasons. The cause of their vomit is usually apparent from the color of the vomit.
White, foam-like throw up can indicate a range of things. Let’s talk about some of the most common reasons your dog is throwing up white foam below.
One of the most common reasons many believe dogs throw up white foam is due to eating grass. If your dog gets into grass and eats it, they may produce a white, foamy vomit.
Similarly, other plants and leafy greens that aren’t friendly to the doggy digestive system can lead to discomfort and cause your dog to throw up white foam.
If your dog is experiencing GI discomfort or issues with their digestive tract, this can lead to throwing up white foam.
For example, if your dog is eating too fast, this can lead to irritation in the stomach and the regurgitation of their undigested or partially digested food. This one’s not really a serious concern.
However, eating too quickly also risks choking and dog bloat, a severe health condition. Separate your pup’s kibble while they eat using a muffin tin or use a special feeding bowl to help slow them down.
Your pup may also be experiencing indigestion, acid reflux, gastrointestinal swelling, and obstruction or blockage in your dog’s stomach. These factors can make your dog throw up white foam, too, so if you notice any other symptoms accompanying the vomiting such as signs of pain, panting, or disorientation, call your vet right away for additional guidance.
Several human foods are delicious for us but toxic to dogs. For instance, grapes, chives, onions, garlic, nuts, chocolate, and alcohol are toxic for dogs. If your dog gets into these foods or if you accidentally drop some on the floor, your pup may eat them.
Don’t panic. If your dog throws up once, it’s likely not a cause for concern. However, if your dog does continue to throw up and begins experiencing other symptoms like excessive drooling, pale gums, or repeated vomiting episodes, it’s time to seek immediate medical attention.
Most states require you to give your dog a rabies vaccination. Rabies is a dangerous viral disease that affects mammals’ central nervous systems. This disease enters the body and incubates before causing any symptoms.
The incubation time varies depending on factors like where the bite was. Approximately one week after the rabies virus shows symptoms, it becomes fatal.
Rabies can be spread from animal to animal and from animals to people. If your dog does have rabies, one of the key signs is throwing up white foam.
You’ll likely also notice a range of other symptoms that will tell you whether it’s rabies (which is extremely rare) or another health concern.
- You’ll notice behavior changes like increased fearfulness, lethargy, stress, or psychological withdrawal, and depression.
- Your dog may lick the original wound, even if it’s been a few weeks.
- Other symptoms include restlessness, increased agitation, overreaction to sights and sounds, severe aggression, and disorientation.
- You’ll notice seizures, paralysis in the head and neck area, and the inability to swallow, which results in throwing up white foam.
Rabies is extremely rare, especially if your pup has the rabies vaccine. If your dog is a rescue, it’s critical to make sure he has his shots and is healthy before taking him home with you.
If you notice your dog throwing up white foam, don’t panic. Rabies is rare and is most likely not the culprit. However, if your dog exhibits aggression, seizures, head paralysis, and severe mood changes, or if your pup has had any kind of altercation with an unknown animal (wild or domesticated) seek help from a veterinarian.
A dog vomiting white foam may be experiencing bloat. When you think of bloat, you may think of feeling bloated as a human. We can get bloated due to gas, indigestion, and mild sickness, none of which are medical emergencies.
Keep in mind that bloat is not the same for dogs. Bloat is considered a medical emergency for our canine friends, so if you suspect that your pup has bloat, seek emergency medical help right away.
Bloat, also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus complex (GDV), is when the stomach fills with air. This causes pressure to build in the body, slowing down and nearly stopping blood flow from returning to the heart.
Bloat is extremely dangerous but also extremely rare. If you notice an enlargement of your dog’s abdomen, throwing up white foam, salivation, restlessness, dry heaving but no additional vomit coming up, and/or abdominal pain, seek medical help right away.
While this is rare, it may be the reason why your dog is throwing up white foam. Note that if your dog simply throws up once and doesn’t exhibit other symptoms, they're usually fine.
What To Do: Your First Steps
So, what should you do if your dog is throwing up white foam? In most cases, it’s good to examine the vomit — is there anything in there that shouldn’t be, like off-limits human food or a piece of their toy they chewed off? Regardless, in most cases of throwing up just once, your pup will be fine. If they’ve eaten grass, eaten too fast, or eaten human food or non-food items, their bodies will expel it with a characteristic white foam.
That said, whether it’s one throw-up or three over the course of the day, you should monitor their behavior closely. Wait a few hours, give them some water, and then wait a few more hours before giving them that bland white rice and baked chicken breast we mentioned earlier.
If they return to normal and can keep food down within a day or so, you can return them to their normal activities.
When To See a Doctor
If your dog experiences any sudden changes in behavior, vomiting continuously, throwing up blood, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, severe discomfort or pain, seizures, or aggression, it’s important to see a trusted vet ASAP.
If your dog vomits three or more times in 24 hours, give your vet a call and describe their symptoms.
While throwing up white foam isn’t serious in most cases, there are some instances where noticing this symptom could save your dog’s life. Things like infection of the kidneys, liver disease, pancreatitis, and viral illnesses like parvovirus are all potential severe causes of vomiting.
Your vet may perform an ultrasound, X-rays, and other diagnostic testing to inspect your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.
Can You Prevent Throwing Up in Dogs?
As a dog parent, you want the best for your furry BFF, so many people wonder if there are ways to prevent dogs from throwing up white foam in the first place. The answer is yes and no. Some factors are in your control, and others aren’t.
For instance, dogs tend to get into things they shouldn’t. You can try to keep the toxic foods out of reach, but if you have a big dog, they may still get into something they shouldn’t. Be careful not to leave food on the counters. If you do, leave them in sealed containers so that they don’t find their way into your dog’s tummy.
You can also always make sure to take your dog in for their annual exam, and give them a healthy diet and exercise regimen to help keep things moving.
By supporting your pup’s health in the ways you can and learning what to do if your dog throws up white foam, you can be an even better dog parent!
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