Why is My Dog Vomiting White Foam?

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
Renko Aleks/Shutterstock

Sometimes, our dogs can exhibit behavior that can cause great panic in any owner. After all, they can’t talk to us and tell when something is hurting them, or when they feel ill, scared, or angry. So they let their bodies do the talking. 

One of these scary behaviors is vomiting white foam. It can happen all of a sudden, and frighten you to no end. But is it really a reason to panic? And what causes a dog to vomit white foam in the first place? Let’s find out more.

Why Do Dogs Vomit White Foam?

The reasons for white foam vomiting can be many, and the cause might not be clear to you immediately. What’s even more frustrating, there are several possible causes for this occurrence. In some cases, the reason for the vomiting can be complex, but often enough it is super simple. It could end up being a sensitive tummy irritated by a new brand of food on the menu, or just a passing belly ache that’s nothing to stress over. However, you should always consult with a vet to eliminate any underlying health issues, as there are many conditions whose symptom is vomiting. 

One of the conditions that manifests as vomiting foam is bilious vomiting, which is caused when a dog's stomach is empty for an extended period. This leads to the production of gastric acid, so the stomach contents may include a foamy, white substance. Feeding smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day may help prevent this. 

Gastritis, or the inflammation of the stomach lining can also cause vomiting. This condition may be triggered by various factors, such as dietary indiscretion, changes in diet, ingesting foreign objects, or infections. The vomit can likewise be white and foamy. The same can happen in the case of gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines, which is often caused by infections, dietary changes, or the ingestion of inappropriate or spoiled food. Be careful of the expiration dates and the quality of food you give to your dog, as an innocent mistake can cause a lot of digestive issues for your four-legged bestie. 

Another possible reason for white foam vomit can be the  ingestion of foreign bodies. Dogs may ingest non-food items that can cause irritation or blockages in the digestive tract, leading to vomiting. If you notice them dry heaving, this could be the reason why. The same goes for the ingestion of  toxic materials. Ingesting toxic substances can lead to white foamy vomiting. Common toxins include certain plants, human foods (like chocolate, xylitol, or onions), and household chemicals.

As a precaution, you should make sure to have a well-stocked  first aid kit for your pet, so you can provide help on the spot until you can manage to get to a vet’s office - sometimes, in these situations, mere minutes make a world of difference.

Some of the more serious ailments that can cause such vomiting include  pancreatitis and  bloat. Pancreatitis, or the inflammation of the pancreas, can cause vomiting and may be triggered by dietary indiscretion or other factors. Bloat, also known as gastric dilatation and volvulus, is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with gas and twists on itself. It requires immediate veterinary attention.

Ultimately, if your dog is vomiting white foam, especially if it's accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as lethargy, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or changes in behavior, it's crucial to seek prompt veterinary care. The veterinarian will be able to conduct a thorough examination, run diagnostic tests if necessary, and recommend appropriate treatment based on the underlying cause of the vomiting. Never disregard this, or try to make things better on your own. Veterinary care is important, and often urgent. 

And after the worry is over, and your dog is feeling well once again, you’ll still have the issue of vomit stains to deal with – especially if you have carpets or your pooch barfed somewhere stainable, such as their bed or the sofa. To tackle the stain and the unpleasant odors left behind by white foam vomit, use a  potent cleaner that is formulated exactly for the removal of pet stains and smells

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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