A dog vomiting white foam is something that can be worrisome to witness. However, before worrying too much, it is important to take a deep breath, as panicking in most cases will not help.
While it is possible to list several common causes for a dog to vomit white foam, the best thing to do is see your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment, especially if the vomiting does not resolve and persists.
Veterinarian Dr. Ivana Crnec shares 13 possible causes of dogs vomiting white bubbly foam along with potential treatment options.
Help, my dog is throwing up white foam!
A dog vomiting white foam is a distressing experience for all dog owners. If the vomit is in the form of foam or bubbly saliva, the discomfort is even greater.
In such a case, the concerned owner wonders if this is normal and what may be causing it. So what causes dogs to vomit white foam?
Generally speaking, there are many reasons for a dog to vomit white foam, from mild gastrointestinal upset and acid reflux to serious respiratory infections and kidney problems.
What does this mean?
When someone says dog vomit, the first thing that comes to mind is vomit thick with bits of undigested dog food. However, sometimes the vomit can be frothy and bubbly.
That is, dogs vomit white foam when they have excess gas in their stomachs or when they have nothing left but air and some juices.
In such cases, white frothy vomit is a mixture of saliva, air bubbles, and agitated gastric juices.
13 Causes of Dogs Vomiting White Foam
When a dog vomits white foam, there are several possible culprits. To make things easier to understand let’s go over the most common causes.
1) Ate Grass
Dogs are prone to eating grass, especially when they are feeling an upset stomach. The grass eating behavior is, in fact, an attempt to alleviate discomfort and many dogs frantically eat grass.
This is because the herb irritates the stomach lining both physically and chemically and induces vomiting.
A grass-eating dog is a dog with a potential gastrointestinal tract problem, and many need appropriate help: fluids, a bland diet, probiotics, or even antibiotics, depending on the underlying problem causing the discomfort.
However, finding the real culprit is of the utmost importance.
2) Dietary indiscretions
Dietary indiscretions are quite common in dogs. This fancy term describes the situation where a dog eats an inedible item like sand, leaves, or dirt.
Dietary indiscretions cause stomach upsets: vomiting, diarrhea, gas, changes in appetite and abdominal pain.
A dog with an upset stomach requires symptomatic therapy and proper training to avoid similar scenarios in the future. Here are 15 signs of an upset stomach in dogs.
3) Ingested a toxin
Many household items and chemicals pose a danger to dogs. Some of these toxins can be found in the kitchen (chocolate, dough, grapes), the bathroom (bleach, toilet water, cleaning products), the garage (antifreeze, paints, varnishes) and the garden (plants, insecticides, fertilizers). ).
Ingestion of these toxins causes vomiting accompanied by a number of toxin-specific signs and symptoms.
An intoxicated dog needs urgent veterinary care and administration of antidotes, intravenous fluids, and supportive therapy.
4) Ate human food
While chocolate, xylitol-containing foods, and grapes are directly toxic to dogs, there are many human foods that are not directly dangerous. However, they can cause problems if consumed in large amounts or more frequently.
Such human foods include overly salty, sugary, fatty, and spicy delicacies.
Feasting on these foods leads to digestive upset followed by bouts of vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach aches. Supportive care and a bland diet for upset stomach in dogs are critical to a quick and smooth recovery.
5) Gastric dilatation and volvulus
Gastric dilatation and volvulus is a condition in which the stomach rotates around its axis and begins to distend causing pressure on the surrounding organs.
It is more likely to occur in large and giant dogs with deep chests.
A swollen dog is in danger of death and requires immediate veterinary attention. The vet needs to decompress the stomach and then perform surgical repositioning.
In high-risk dog breeds, the condition can be prevented with a special surgical technique.
6) Bilious vomiting syndrome
Biliful vomiting syndrome is the canine equivalent of acid reflux in humans. The exact reason why bile backs up within the digestive system is unknown, but the condition is more common in dogs with giardiasis and inflammatory bowel disease.
Dogs with this vomiting bile syndrome vomit bile or white foam after not eating anything for a couple of hours, usually in the morning, before the first meal of the day.
Treatment involves regular use of antacids and special diets.
7) Fungal Infections
Dogs like to feast on the droppings of other animals. While some types of poop are harmless, others have hidden risks.
For example, bird and bat droppings often contain fungal pathogens that, once consumed, can trigger fungal infections.
The clinical manifestation of a fungal infection is similar to any other digestive upset. Management is also similar: lots of intravenous fluids, bland diet, supportive therapy, and a combination of antibiotics and antifungals.
Pancreatitis is a painful and severe inflammation of the pancreas. It is usually associated with high-fat foods and can occur in two forms: acute and chronic. A dog with pancreatitis will vomit, have diarrhea, and refuse to eat.
Chronic pancreatitis requires lifelong treatment and carefully crafted diets low in fat and oil.
Acute pancreatitis is more difficult to manage and is considered a emergency. If left untreated, acute inflammation of the pancreas can be fatal.
9) Kennel Cough
Canine cough (canine infectious tracheobronchitis) is a contagious disease that affects the respiratory system. The pathogens that cause the infection are present in densely populated environments such as kennels, boarding facilities, pet shelters, and dog kennels.
A dog with kennel cough will have trouble breathing, make unusual sounds, cough up white foam, and experience a runny nose.
There is no particular treatment except supportive care. The disease can be prevented with regular vaccination.
10) Tracheal Collapse
Tracheal collapse is a condition in which the tracheal rings, which give the windpipe its circular shape, collapse, making it flat. The condition can occur in any dog, but is most common in small breeds of toy dogs.
In addition to obstructing the airway and making breathing difficult, tracheal collapse can cause dogs to cough and spit up white foam. The problem is progressive and, if left untreated, can be fatal. Surgical correction options exist, but almost all dogs require lifelong medication.
11) heat stroke
Heatstroke occurs when dogs are exposed to extremely high temperatures for a short period of time or moderately high temperatures for a long time. All dogs can get heat stroke, but the risk is higher in dogs with thick coats and short muzzles.
A dog with heat stroke is likely to vomit white foam, have diarrhea, drool profusely, and develop red gums.
As the condition progresses, you will lose coordination and may collapse. cooling the dog is critical, but it should not be done suddenly, as it can cause shock.
12) Kidney problems
Kidney problems in dogs occur in two forms: acute and chronic. Both forms can be triggered by various underlying causes, such as infections, toxins, and severe dehydration. Kidney problems are progressive and can cause permanent damage or failure.
A dog with kidney problems will drink a lot of water and urinate a lot or not at all. In both scenarios, it is possible to vomit white foam. The exact treatment depends on the underlying cause.
Rabies is the least likely culprit, but it’s definitely worth mentioning and checking out. A rabid dog will vomit white foam, especially during the advanced stages of the infection. In fact, the classic image of rage represents exactly this scenario.
Although there is no cure for rabies, it should be noted that the disease is 100% preventable with vaccination. Regular vaccination is also the reason why rabies is eradicated in most countries.
course of action
If your dog vomits white foam, it’s important to remain calm and carefully assess the situation. You need to determine if your dog has any additional worrisome issues or if the vomiting is an isolated symptom.
So, you need to call your trusted vet and explain the situation. Based on the information you provide, the vet will make recommendations: wait and see how the problem develops or take your dog to the clinic.
In both cases, it is essential to follow the advice and recommendations of the veterinarian. Never try to self-treat your dog at home, as he can make things worse. Be aware that many human medications are toxic to dogs.
However, as you can see from the above, the reasons for vomiting white foam range from benign and self-limiting to severe and requiring urgent veterinary attention.
Since determining the underlying cause is not something you can do on your own, it is recommended that you seek veterinary help as soon as your dog begins vomiting white foam. If there are additional clinical signs and symptoms, the need to call the vet is even more urgent.
The sooner you seek help, the sooner your canine friend will return to his normal self and not vomit, and the sooner he will be calm.