Why Is My Puppy Throwing Up?

Here's how to know if your puppy's vomiting is normal 🤮

puppy with vomit

Pretty much everything your puppy does is adorable. Except when she throws up.

If your puppy’s vomiting, it can definitely be concerning (and a little gross, too). But most of the time, it’s nothing to worry about.

Some cases can be more serious, though — so how can you tell the difference?

The Dodo spoke to Dr. Graham Brayshaw, director of veterinary medicine at the Animal Humane Society in Minnesota, to find out how to tell why your puppy’s throwing up (and if you really need to take that trip to the vet).

Is it normal for puppies to throw up?

It’s actually pretty normal for puppies and dogs to throw up occasionally. Dogs may throw up if they eat too fast or just eat something that upsets their stomach.

“If your dog or puppy has a good appetite and seems otherwise healthy, a rare vomiting every few weeks or months is nothing to worry about,” Dr. Brayshaw told The Dodo. “In these cases, it is usually something they ate not agreeing with them, and they should be fine.”

But if your puppy throws up a lot or you notice other symptoms at the same time, such as diarrhea, then you should take her to the vet right away.

“If the vomiting is consistent, like every day or week, or if your dog is vomiting a lot at one time and won’t stop, you should contact your veterinarian,” Dr. Brayshaw said.

Why is my puppy throwing up?

According to Dr. Brayshaw, “The most common reason [a puppy is vomiting] is they ate something they shouldn’t have or that doesn’t agree with their stomach. Even if what they ate doesn’t block them up, it can irritate their GI tract. Intestinal parasites and viral infections are other common causes.”

There are lots of reasons why your puppy could be throwing up, but here are some of the most common causes of vomiting in puppies:

Why is my puppy throwing up food?

Throwing up food has a bunch of potential causes, such as eating too fast, changing to a new food, eating human food and choking. It’s also possible that your puppy’s throwing up food when she’s actually regurgitating.

“Common causes could be they just ate something that didn’t agree with them, they ate too quickly or they ate something they shouldn’t have,” Dr. Brayshaw said. “Other causes could be intestinal parasites and viral infections.”

How to know if your dog is vomiting or regurgitating

Sometimes it can be hard to tell if your puppy’s throwing up or just spitting up her food (aka regurgitating), but there’s a difference.

If your puppy’s vomiting, she’s actually throwing up digested or partially digested food from her stomach, and there might be bile. “If you see their stomach squeezing, they make a loud noise while doing it and they are retching, that means they are vomiting,” Dr. Brayshaw said.

On the other hand, “regurgitation is a more passive throwing up of esophageal contents. Usually it is very quick, in one motion, not that loud, and happens right when or after they eat,” Dr. Brayshaw said. If your puppy regurgitates her food, it’ll just be pieces of chewed up food that haven’t been digested yet because they have only recently been swallowed. Regurgitation is usually caused by a problem with the esophagus, such as megaesophagus, rather than a GI tract problem.

Why is my puppy throwing up white foam?

Swallowing a lot of air or saliva can cause your pup to vomit foam and can be a symptom of nausea (excessive panting and drooling). This also usually happens when your puppy’s stomach is empty.

“If a puppy retches a lot and swallows a lot of air, it can add enough gas to the stomach contents and fluid that it will come up as foam,” Dr. Brayshaw said.

Throwing up white foam can also be a sign of kennel cough, which is a contagious infectious respiratory illness.

Why is my puppy throwing up yellow?

Yellow vomit and vomit with yellow foam is from stomach acid or bile, and this can be a symptom of bilious vomiting syndrome. “[The yellow vomit] means your puppy needed to vomit, but their stomach was empty,” Dr. Brayshaw said.

Puppies with bilious vomiting syndrome usually throw up in the morning because their stomachs have been empty for too long. With nothing to absorb acids in the stomach, these acids can irritate your dog and make her nauseous.

Bilious vomiting syndrome doesn’t cause other symptoms, but it’s important that you find a feeding schedule that works for your dog. If you feed your dog super early in the day, for example, you can try giving her dinner later in the evening so she doesn’t go as long between meals — but definitely talk to your vet for their recommendation.

Why is my puppy throwing up clear liquid?

Clear liquid vomit is just water and saliva. You’ll see this when your puppy has an empty stomach, and it can be caused by a number of things, like having a stomach irritation, coughing, drinking too much water or drinking too quickly.

Why is my puppy throwing up green?

Green vomit most likely means your puppy has been eating grass, especially if you notice pieces of grass in her vomit. It’s not certain whether dogs eat grass because they’re feeling sick or if they get sick from eating grass, but many dogs do throw up after nibbling on it.

Why is my puppy throwing up red or black?

If your puppy hasn’t recently eaten anything that’s red in color, she might be throwing up blood, so you should take her to the vet immediately if you see red vomit. Black vomit could also be blood that has been partially digested, so you should take your pup to the vet for black (or dark red) vomit, too.

What should I do if my puppy’s throwing up?

If your puppy only throws up once and otherwise seems fine, you probably don’t need to do anything. But if she keeps throwing up, throws up blood or you notice other symptoms, like diarrhea, you should contact your vet.

“If your dog is otherwise feeling bad, losing weight or can’t hold anything down at all, you should call your vet immediately, as it could be a more serious problem,” Dr. Brayshaw said.

Your vet will probably ask you to describe the vomit (if it contains food, the color, etc.), what your dog recently ate and if there are specific times she throws up, like after eating. They’ll also do a physical examination of your puppy, and they may perform diagnostic tests, such as blood tests, to help them figure out what’s causing her to vomit.

How to prevent your puppy from throwing up

Here are some tips for how to prevent your puppy from getting sick:

  • Keep human foods that can make your dog sick (and any items that are poisonous) out of her reach. You should also keep your trash can covered so she can’t get into it. You can get this Simplehuman pet-proof trash can from Amazon for $73.16.
  • When changing her food, do it gradually. You should mix in her old food with the new food at first until she’s eventually eating just the new food.
  • If your puppy eats too fast, you can try a slow feeder. You can get this ZippyPaws slow feeder that earned The Dodo’s Paw of Approval from Amazon for $14.99.
  • If you think your puppy has bilious vomiting syndrome, try feeding her dinner later in the evening so she doesn’t go as long without eating (but keep in mind that you’ll have to take her out soon after eating, so you may not want to do it too late).

It’s super gross when your puppy throws up, but most of the time it’s probably nothing to worry about. If you notice any other symptoms or she keeps throwing up, contact your vet to find out if there’s something wrong.

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