No dog owner ever wants to see their furry companion in pain. After all, dog owners view their pets as just another member of the family and will do anything to keep them as healthy as possible.
Unfortunately, sometimes taking care of a pet is not always easy, especially if they fall ill with a sickness or are in any form of visible discomfort. Although they may not be able to communicate that to you, you can still tell when your pup is not feeling at their best.
You can tell your dog is suffering by their body language and symptoms, but what could be the cause? They may be lethargic, vomiting, or have a loss of appetite. However, these are generalized symptoms that can be applied to just about every illness.
Just like humans, dogs can also suffer from vomiting or other stomach issues when they are sick. Although this may be an alarming sign that catches your attention, just remember that this is a common side effect of many things, and is usually only a minor issue.
What might really startle you is if your dog is vomiting white foam. You may begin to ask yourself, “Is this normal? Why is my dog vomiting white foam? Is this indicative of a more severe underlying issue that is harming their body? What can I do to alleviate their illness?”
If you are wondering why your dog is vomiting white or how to cure their symptoms, then you have come to the right place. This article will go over all the possible causes of why your dog is getting sick and what you should be doing as their owner to help them get better.
What Causes Vomiting in Dogs?
Vomiting is characterized by the forceful rejection of stomach contents that have already been partially digested. This usually occurs when a dog has consumed something that is indigestible, has eaten quickly, or has exercised after a large meal. Before the dog actually vomits, notice if they have a change in their behavior. Most of the time, before a dog is about to vomit, they will usually show symptoms such as nausea, drooling, contractions, or retching.
As previously stated, vomiting is most often a benign symptom. Just like how humans get a stomach bug, so can our beloved pets. You wouldn’t run straight to the doctors after having a stomach ache for just one night would you? The same goes for your dog.
Whether it’s food poisoning or a reaction to something they ate, sometimes a person will feel a hundred times better as soon as they throw up and rid their body of whatever substance was causing the reaction. When we compare this to dogs, the same applies. Some harmless causes of vomiting in dogs may include:
- Bilious vomiting symptom
- Eating foreign substances
- Working out after a large meal
- Eating too quickly
- Motion sickness
On the flip side, since vomiting is such a broad symptom, it can also be a sign of a larger health complication. Some possible health problems that are linked to vomiting can include:
- Ingesting toxins
- Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections
- Heat stroke
- Side effects of medication
- Change in diet
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Certain forms of cancer
What Does it Mean When Your Dog Is Vomiting White Foam?
Now that you have learned the general symptoms of regular vomiting, it’s important to understand the actual causes of vomiting white foam specifically. Even though a dog can vomit white foam from any of the causes in the above sections, this type usually has a more specific reason compared to generalized health concerns. Some specific severe health concerns that may cause dogs to vomit white foam include:
Throwing up white foam is a common symptom that your dog’s body is trying to rid itself of a substance that is in their system. More often than not, this can be a sign of eating too much grass or digesting too much dirt. As long as they are not throwing up constantly, a little indigestion is completely normal.
Common symptoms of kennel cough in dogs include eye drainage, nasal discharge, lethargy, excessive coughing, and you guessed it, vomiting white foam. This highly contagious respiratory disease can be easily transmitted from one dog to another just by coming into contact with a contaminated area. Luckily, once this condition has been properly diagnosed, the animal can expect a full recovery through treatment.
Bloat in dogs is a life-threatening condition that should be dealt with at the first onsight of symptoms. This condition occurs when a dog’s stomach becomes full of gas, liquid or air, which creates extra pressure on nearby organs. In severe cases, the stomach can actually twist and restrict the dog from expelling this gas through belching or throwing up. Once this happens, the blood circulation to the heart is restricted and the fear of going into shock becomes a frightening reality.
Aside from vomiting white foam, dogs will also experience several symptoms including an inability to defecate, coughing, pale gums, a bloated abdomen, and excessive drooling. If you think your dog is suffering from bloat, take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Pancreatitis in dogs occurs when the pancreas swells and becomes inflamed. In a healthy pancreas, food can be easily broken down and digested. When the pancreas is not operating how it should, it will have difficulty processing the food and will have to find another way to rid the body of the excess digested substance. That is why many dogs suffering from pancreatitis will throw up their food on a frequent basis.
Pay close attention to when your dog is vomiting. If this occurrence is most common in the morning, it could be that your dog is suffering from reflux gastritis. This condition occurs when the stomach becomes irritated by acid, usually when it is empty (hence why it is so bad in the morning).
In severe cases, the gastric stomach acid can cause damage to the esophagus and put the dog in significant pain when it’s time for feeding. Dogs suffering from reflux gastritis may throw up white or yellowish vomit due to an irritation in their stomach.
If your dog has a total loss of appetite, is physically weak, becomes disoriented, is struggling to urinate, or is vomiting white foam, they could be suffering from kidney disease. Prolonged kidney disease will eventually lead to complete kidney failure in dogs if left untreated. If you think your dog may be suffering from issues with their kidneys, it is highly advised to take them in for a physical examination.
This infection is a viral condition that is transmitted through oral contact with infected feces. Although this virus is mostly found in puppies, parvovirus can infect any dog and usually shows symptoms after just 7 to 10 days of being exposed to a contaminated source.
Other symptoms besides vomiting white foam may include bloody diarrhea, lethargy, anorexia, or fever in dogs. Unfortunately, there is no cure found for the Parvovirus. When a dog is diagnosed with this condition, they will receive treatment to mitigate their symptoms and to make them as comfortable as possible.
Although highly unlikely, a dog who is vomiting white foam may be suffering from rabies. Keep in mind if your dog did have rabies, this would be among the last stages and would probably already be identified at this point. To prevent this from happening, make sure your dog is all up to date on their vaccinations and boosters.
What to Do If Your Dog is Vomiting White Foam
First things first, is there an obvious cause for why your dog is vomiting? If you can answer this question, chances are your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have and are just trying to get rid of it. If their vomiting seems to come out of the blue and is becoming more frequent, then it may be a good idea to consult with your veterinarian for further analysis.
Once you make your appointment, be ready to inform your vet of all your dog’s symptoms and behavior changes that have been present in conjunction with their vomiting. In most cases, vomiting white foam is just a sign of digestive tract issues, usually in regards to something that has been consumed. If you notice your dog is now all of a sudden lethargic, has a loss of appetite, or is experiencing irregular bowel movements, make sure to notify your veterinarian so they can use this information during their diagnosis.
After your vet has received all information and has done a physical exam, they will then run a series of diagnostic tests to see the overall health of your furry companion. Most of these tests include a blood count, a urinalysis, x-rays, or even ultrasounds depending on what they are looking for.
If your vet finds out that a more severe issue is causing your dog’s vomiting, then a specific treatment plan will be used for their particular ailment. Treatment may vary significantly depending on the cause and severity of their health problem. It is strongly advised to follow whatever treatment plan your vet recommends.
As said previously, the majority of the time a dog is vomiting white foam is not because of some life-threatening issue, but is from an upset stomach or overconsumption. If this is the diagnosis for your dog’s sickness, consider yourself lucky that it isn’t anything worse.
Tips for Helping a Dog With An Upset Stomach
There are a number of different health problems that can have a major impact on your dog, and if an upset stomach is the severity of the problem, then there is nothing to worry about. Your vet will recommend changing their diet or restricting their food intake until their symptoms subside.
After you have restricted their diet and it’s time to reintroduce their food slowly, try feeding them a simple diet of chicken and rice until they are fully back to normal. Start with a small portion and wait to see how they react. The last thing you will want is for your dog to start throwing up again right after their symptoms were almost gone.
Other common food items that are known to help soothe an upset stomach in dogs are pumpkin, oatmeal, sweet potato, and banana. These foods are known to be amazing natural remedies to ease an upset stomach and get your dog feeling as good as new. Even though these are safe to eat, always consult with your veterinarian for recommendations and guidance.
If your dog is suffering from vomiting or even diarrhea, chance are they have become quite dehydrated throughout the entire process. While your dog is recovering, make sure they have plenty of clean drinking water readily available at all times. This step will help them quicken their recovery time and replenish their hydration.