Why Is My Dog Throwing Up White Foam?

Should you panic if your dog’s throwing up white foam? 😬

dog throwing up white foam

As a pet parent, you’re most likely no stranger to the occasional vomiting from your dog, but if you notice some white foam coming up, it can be easy to get a little freaked out.

So why exactly is your dog throwing up white foam — should you panic?

We spoke with Kaitlyn Tullio, a veterinary nurse at DodoVet, to find out what to do when this happens.

What is the white foam in my dog’s vomit?

The white foam in your dog’s vomit is basically a mixture of his spit and stomach acid. (Gross, we know.)

“White, foamy vomit is often caused by the production of excess saliva which the dog then swallows and vomits back up,” Tullio told The Dodo. “This usually occurs when there is excess gas in the stomach and the stomach is otherwise empty.”

How serious is it for my dog to be throwing up white foam?

If your dog’s throwing up white foam, the seriousness is going to vary — it can be no big deal, or it can be a bit of a concern.

“If your dog is still active and playful, it may just be an episode of indigestion or acid reflux that should resolve on its own,” Tullio said. “If your dog seems lethargic, doesn’t want to eat, and is having diarrhea in association with the white, foamy vomit, it is highly recommended you call your veterinarian for an appointment as soon as possible.”

Either way, you should err on the side of caution and hit up your vet for their guidance.

“It's always better to be safe than sorry,” Tullio said.

Why is my dog throwing up white foam?

There are a whole bunch of reasons your dog might be throwing up white foam, like:

What to do if your dog’s throwing up white foam

If your dog’s acting totally fine and just like his normal self despite throwing up white foam, there’s a good chance it’ll pass on its own — although, a quick call to your vet for some peace of mind never hurts.

And for something that’s going to resolve itself, be super careful about what you’re giving your pup for a few hours after vomiting so his stomach can settle.

“You can withhold food and water for about 12 hours and then reintroduce it in very small amounts to see if the vomiting has resolved,” Tullio said. “You can try feeding plain, boiled chicken with white rice (no spices). This is commonly used as a bland diet for dogs with GI upset.”

But a bland diet alone won’t always do the trick. If your dog’s showing other symptoms, your vet might recommend you come in for an exam. Your vet will first need to identify the underlying cause of his puking problem, and treatment will vary based on their assessment.

“Simple cases will probably need some anti-nausea medications and possibly some fluids if your dog has become dehydrated from vomiting,” Tullio said. “Surgery or hospitalization may be required for some of the more serious cases.”

How to prevent your dog from throwing up white foam

According to Tullio, the best way to prevent your dog from throwing up white foam is to keep him away from any toxins you may have around the house (or, if possible, ditch the toxins altogether).

Keep plants away and minimize the amount of grass they ingest,” Tullio said.

But keep in mind that vomiting white foam can be caused by a lot of things, so it’s not a guaranteed way to prevent it from happening, but it can definitely help.

And now that you know what to do, don’t panic if your dog starts throwing up white foam. Calling your vet will help you figure out the best approach for your pup.

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.

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