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My Dog is Throwing Up White Foam – What Could be Wrong

Picture of a Golden Retriever

Is your dog vomiting white foam? If that’s so, should you be worried, should you take your Fido to the vet as quickly as possible or can you wait for a while and see whether it happens again?

In this article, we’ll look at some of the possible reasons that dogs throw up white foam on occasion, what you can do about it especially if you have no way of getting to the vet clinic, and we’ll also discuss several ways of preventing this issue from recurring.

Causes

Because you probably want to know the answer to the question as fast as possible, we will tell you that there can be several reasons for your dog throwing up white foam. In many cases, it is not a cause for serious concern. Nevertheless, it could require a visit to the veterinarian, especially if your canine friend is showing other clinical signs, along with this one.

Indigestion

White foam is how your canine companion’s digestive tract reacts to something bad. Whether it’s a toxin, food that has gone bad, or your dog just ate some grass while spending time outdoors, all of these can be causes of this problem. If the indigestion doesn’t become complicated and the vomit isn’t associated with other symptoms (such as diarrhea, for example), it can cure all on its own. You do have to pay attention to any symptoms shown by your dog after the first time he threw up the foam.

Acid reflux

Your dog can have either acid reflux or reflux gastritis, but both of these are manifested in a specific way. Usually, the vomiting occurs in the morning after your pet has had his or her first meal. This means that your dog’s stomach becomes irritated by the stomach acid. As you might expect, acid reflux happens after your dog hasn’t had a meal in several hours.

We would advise feeding your dog several small meals throughout the day instead of giving him just two big ones, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Leave a small amount of kibble to his disposal through the night, because in this way, he won’t be famished when you finally feed him in the morning and the vomiting will fail to occur.

Kennel cough

However mild this disease might be, it is highly contagious and can be passed on to and contracted from other dogs extremely easily. If your dog has been in the company of other dogs recently (if, for example, you were out of town and you had to leave your canine friend at a kennel) and you’ve noticed that he’s vomiting white foam, this illness could be at the root of the problem.

Typically, it is accompanied by other serious symptoms, not just the vomit — sneezing, lethargy, a runny nose, and a loss of appetite. Fortunately, it can be diagnosed with ease and it is usually treated with common antibiotics (to prevent the development of additional infections).

Bloat

Bloat can be a life-threatening condition. It occurs more often in senior dogs and large breeds, as well as deep-chested dogs. In a nutshell, this condition causes the dog’s stomach to fill with food, fluid, or gas, which makes the organ expand and sometimes even shift around its own axis. The white foam vomit can be one of the first signs that bloat is happening.

The problem with this medical condition is that it develops very fast. Dogs can lose their life in a matter of hours. If you are even under the suspicion that your dog might have bloat, take your pet to the vet as soon as possible.

Pancreatitis

While white foam isn’t exactly specific for pancreatitis as this type of disease is characterized by an impressive number of symptoms depending on its progression, sometimes it can be a clinical sign that indicates this illness. The inflammation of the pancreas causes a variety of digestive issues, and one of the most common symptoms is frequent vomiting.

Dogs that have pancreatitis also experience abdominal pain and a loss of appetite, along with dehydration, weakness, and a hunched back. Diarrhea can be among the clinical signs, as well.

Rabies

However unlikely it might be in this day and age when almost all pet owners vaccinate their pets against this disease, rabies can be a cause for a dog vomiting white foam. You might have come across the image of a rabid animal with foam at the mouth, but what you might not know is that this only occurs in the last stages of the disease. Aggressive behavior is what you will notice first, long before the white foam appears.

Make sure to take your Fido to the vet every year or every two years (depending on your vet’s recommendation and the type of vaccine utilized) and always stick to the vaccination program prescribed for your canine companion. Only in this way can you prevent lethal (and more importantly, zoonotic and highly dangerous) illnesses such as rabies, but also leptospirosis and a variety of others.

Kidney disease

While your dog can vomit white foam because of kidney disease, the moment when things really become serious is when the vomit becomes dark and almost looks like coffee grounds. If you pay attention to your canine friend’s behavior and notice a change in his or her urination frequency, you should make a visit to the local vet clinic, especially if these signs are associated with vomiting.

Parvovirus

Parvovirus is a potentially deadly disease that affects dogs that weren’t vaccinated against it, especially puppies. It is characterized by the appearance of vomiting and diarrhea (even bloody diarrhea) and it can quickly dehydrate an animal. In the beginning stages of this disease, your canine companion could throw up white foam.

What can you do to prevent all of these problems?

First of all, if there is a vaccine against any of these diseases, you need to make sure that your dog has received it. Have a talk with your veterinarian if you’ve just adopted a puppy and agree on a vaccination schedule that works for preventing contagious illnesses, many of which can be transmitted to humans.

As for the ‘classic’ cause for your dog vomiting white foam, meaning indigestion, the best thing you can do about it is to make sure that your dog never eats something funny or never swallows a foreign object. Indigestion can be caused by spoiled food, too, and since bloat can be at the root of this symptom, as well, we strongly advise feeding your dog small quantities of kibble throughout the day rather than giving him/her two large meals.

What can I do if my dog is throwing up white foam?

Don’t panic. You need to keep your head to get your dog to the vet, especially in cases where you suspect he has bloat, for example.

Follow the frequency of the phenomenon. If your dog throws up white foam today and then it doesn’t happen for months and months, it’s safe to say that it was a minor indigestion that was solved by your dog’s body naturally. If it occurs every morning after a meal, it could be acid reflux or gastritis.

If your dog throws up white foam, water, or anything else more than several times in a day, take your Fido to the vet as soon as you can. Vomiting and diarrhea are the two main causes of dehydration, and dehydration can be life-threatening.

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