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Ever wonder why your dog throws up white foam?
Let’s just go ahead and accept that there could be many reasons why this is happening. Some causes are pretty minor and will resolve themselves. While other causes could be very serious or life-threatening.
It is logical to start with the more common causes, ask some questions, and move toward the more serious reasons. Like human doctors, sometimes you have to go through a process of elimination and troubleshoot to get to the root cause of a symptom. If you have an overall handle on your dog’s health, environment, and care, then their throwing up will most likely be a minor issue.
Some of the minor causes could be:
If the pet hasn’t been cared for properly or is elderly, then the cause may be more serious.
Some of the more serious issues could be:
~ Let's go through each one and examine a bit closer to begin troubleshooting ~
1 - Upset stomach - Your dog’s symptom’s could be as simple as he or she ate something that just didn’t agree with their system. Their body has a natural way of getting rid of anything foreign that doesn’t agree with them. The easiest and quickest way to do this is to produce vomit to clear the stomach and digestive track.
Ask yourself: Has my dog eaten grasses, bits of a toy, or anything spicy perhaps? Have I fed them “people” food? Did the foam have grass in it?
We recommend you always keep their environment free from any object they may decide to chew or swallow. Also, be judicious on what type of human food you give to your pet. Check out this list of healthy foods your dog can rock to keep them happy and smiling.
2 - Empty Stomach - There is a big term called “Bilious Vomiting Syndrome” that simply means the bile and acid inside are causing irritation to the stomach lining. This often happens when the dog’s stomach is empty. The fluid is necessary for aiding in breaking down food but can be an issue too for some animals that aren’t eating. Their body handles the issue by expelling the gastric fluids through vomit.
Ask yourself: When is the last time my dog had a meal? Have they had surgery recently that would hamper their appetite? Do they like their food?
You need to determine why they aren’t eating and make adjustments accordingly. Maybe you need to try a tastier food or make a feeding schedule and stick to it. Their body needs to have food at regular intervals (just like us) for peak functioning. If your dog is older, you might consider feeding boiled chicken (without seasoning) as a late night treat. Boiled egg whites are also a great boost of healthy protein for their body at night. For a quicker solution, opt for healthy dog treats. And of course, our homemade peanut butter treats will make any doggie dive into a feeding frenzy and are perfect for a bedtime snack.
3 - Kennel Cough - This is a term given to a viral infection of the upper respiratory system that is caught from being around other dogs in kennels, at home, at the dog park, etc. It is a mild issue that usually resolves itself in a couple of weeks.
Ask yourself: Has my dog been around other dogs? Does he or she have discharge in their eyes or nose? Is there a hacking cough?
If symptoms do not improve on their on, a visit to the vet may be warranted. Also, a good way to keep their immune system running strong is to give them digestive enzymes.
4 - Toxic poisoning - Your dog has eaten something toxic like a pesticide, antifreeze, or cleaning solution, etc. This is VERY SERIOUS. If you suspect this has happened, call an emergency vet and get your pet help immediately!! It could be a matter of life or death. Your dog’s body will most likely not be able to recover on its on.
Ask yourself: Does my dog have access to toxic chemicals of any kind? Was he roaming around outside where he could have gotten into something dangerous or deadly? Is he acting strange or different than normal?
We recommend that you know your dog’s environment at all times. Take double precaution and make sure your dog doesn’t have access to any harmful chemicals in your home. If you are limited on space, you can always use a dog gate to control the chemical area or the area where your dog can go. Just like small kids, our dogs can get into trouble in a skinny minute.
5 - Bloating - This is a very serious condition also known as “stomach dilation” or “gastric torsion”. The stomach will actually become twisted and begin to cut off all blood flow to it. The result is trapped food, air, and liquids inside the stomach. Some of the early signs of this condition is vomitting white foam. It normally occurs after your dog has exercised or had a meal. This is mostly common in larger dogs like German Shepherds and Ddobermans.
Ask yourself: Did my dog just eat a meal? Do I have a large dog with a deep chest? Did they just run around and get a lot of exercise?
Other signs may be unsuccessful attempts to vomit, anxiety and pacing, reluctance to sit or lie down due to pressure and pain, and hiding.
You should seek medical attention for your dog immediately if you suspect this condition. If you are on the fence but think it is a possibility, we recommend erring on the side of caution and get your sweet dog to the vet for an examination.
6 - Kidney Failure - This is a condition where the kidneys aren’t filtering the toxins out of the body correctly. Elderly dogs or dogs with congestive heart failure are more susceptible to this disease.
Ask yourself: Does my dog’s urine smell different than usual? Does it smell pungent or look really dark? Is my dog elderly? Is my dog on any medications for the lungs or heart? Does my dog seem confused or is slow to respond to my commands?
Due to the fact that toxins in the bloodstream can kill your pet, we recommend a trip to the vet asap to get an urine analysis. This can discount or support that the kidneys are having an issue.
7 - Pancreatitis - One of the jobs of the pancreas is to break down food and help the system process it through the body. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, food doesn’t properly process and hangs around inside the stomach. Your pet’s body will try to deal with this problem by throwing up white foam. Dogs with diabetes are more prone to developing pancreatitis.
Ask yourself: Is my dog a diabetic? Is my dog running a fever? Is he or she hunched over? Does the abdomen seem tender or swollen?
If you suspect your dog has this condition, please see a vet as soon as possible. There are medications that can effectively treat this issue.
9 - Parvo and Rabies - These are both very serious conditions that could be deadly. Parvo is a viral disease contracted by oral contact with feces. It is common in puppies and multi-dog homes. Rabies is contracted by being bitten or scratched by an animal that is a carrier. Early signs of Rabies include a frothy mouth and spitting white foam. Parvo and Rabies are the least likely reasons for white foam but are deadly. Please be sure to protect your dog from these terrible diseases by getting their vaccines and boosters.
For Parvo, Ask yourself: Is my dog vomiting blood? Does he or she have diarrhea with a strong odor? Is their stool bloody? Have they had their parvo vaccination? Have they been boarded or around strange dogs in the last 7 - 10 days? Is your dog still a puppy?
For Rabies, Ask yourself: Has my dog been bitten by another animal recently? Is my dog current on his rabies vaccine? Are they beginning to foam at the mouth? Are they acting unpredictable or "crazy"?
If you suspect either one of these diseases, keep your dog confined away from other pets and people and see a vet now!
There are various reasons why your dog could be vomiting white foam. We know that some reasons are mild and will take care of themselves. For example, an upset stomach or acid from hunger can be fixed pretty easily. On the other hand, there are some more dire causes of white foam like toxic poisoning, bloating of the stomach, pancreatitis, kidney failure, Parvo, and Rabies. It is important to troubleshoot the problem by starting with the mildest and most likely reasons and move through to the more serious and less common causes.
On a final note: If you are feeling anxious, confused, or just not sure what is going on with your pet, a doctor visit for a quick check is always our recommendation!
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