Why Is My Dog Throwing Up?

Here's how to know when it's serious 🤢

dog throwing up

If your dog’s throwing up, you’re probably wondering what you can do to settle his stomach and make him feel better. It might even be a little stressful, especially if you don’t know why exactly he’s vomiting.

And it turns out there could be many reasons why your dog’s throwing up, according to Anmarie Moucha, a registered veterinary nurse with DodoVet.

But when should you worry? We’re breaking it all down for you.

How serious is it when your dog’s throwing up?

Vomiting is never normal behavior, so you should always keep a close eye on your pup if you’ve noticed he’s thrown up.

But the seriousness of your dog’s vomit can vary depending on how much it’s happening.

“Vomiting once may not be an emergency, but when a pet vomits multiple times, then it is more of a concern,” Moucha told The Dodo.

You should also pay attention to whether or not your dog’s vomiting up anything other than digested food, and if he’s exhibiting other symptoms.

“Vomit (when no other symptoms are present) consisting of just food or white foam/yellow bile is not an emergency concern,” Moucha said. “Vomit that has blood in it, if black in color, smells foul, has pieces of objects in it are all much more alarming vomits than just the bile or regurgitation of food.”

If your pup’s vomit looks like coffee grounds, this is a serious emergency — it means your dog is vomiting digested blood and you should go to the vet right away.

Why is my dog throwing up?

Dogs throw up most often because they’ve eaten something that’s bad for them.

“It can be a toxin or an non-edible object, like a sock or part of a toy for example,” Moucha said.

Your dog may also be throwing up because of discomfort or an underlying health issue.

“Certain conditions like parvo, pancreatitis, some cancers, acid reflux and bolting food [aka eating too quickly] can also cause a dog to vomit,” Moucha said. “Dogs can vomit due to some other systemic illness, and vomiting is one of the signs.”

Why is my dog throwing up white foam?

If your dog’s throwing up white foam, it means he’s throwing up a mixture of saliva and stomach acid. This could be caused for a few reasons, including:

Why is my dog throwing up yellow bile?

If your dog’s throwing up yellow liquid, that’s actually his stomach bile that’s coming back up. This typically happens when he’s vomiting when there’s nothing in his stomach and can be caused by things like:

Why is my dog throwing up blood?

Your dog could be throwing up blood for a bunch of reasons, including:

  • Ingesting a foreign object
  • Parasitic infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Viral infection
  • Pancreatitis
  • Parvovirus
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Blood clot issues
  • Gastrointestinal inflammation
  • Inflammatory bowel syndrome
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Cancer

How to help a dog who’s throwing up

There may be some situations where you can settle your pup’s stomach by giving him a bland diet until he’s feeling better.

“If your dog vomits up just food or bile and you know they have not ingested anything they shouldn't have and there are no other symptoms or ailments, you can withhold food for at least 12 hours and then try a bland diet,” Moucha said.

But if you spot any other symptoms, you should go to the vet to figure out what’s making your dog throw up.

“When in doubt, have your dog seen by their primary vet,” Moucha said.

If you catch your dog throwing up, it may not always be an emergency, but it’s something to take seriously. And if he has other symptoms or is throwing up other materials, get him to the vet ASAP.

Want access to a vet 24/7? With DodoVet, you can connect via video chat, phone or text with an empathetic veterinary expert who can help you be the best pet parent you can be. Say goodbye to Dr. Google and have all your pet parent questions answered anytime, anywhere. Learn more here.