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My Dog is Vomiting White Foam - Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. June 21, 2017
My Dog is Vomiting White Foam - Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

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Vomiting in dogs is, like many other symptoms, common to many diseases, or a consequence of processes that have nothing to do with any pathology.

We have accumulated the most common causes of white foam vomiting in dogs, in order to summarize their symptoms and treatment. Don't panic just yet, AnimalWised are here to help you identify the problem quickly. Keep reading to do so.

You may also be interested in: Why Is My Cat Vomiting White Foam

Vomiting white foam from gastritis

Vomiting occurs in several circumstances, but inflammation of the gastric mucosa (gastritis) may be the most common. If a dog suffers from gastritis due to a virus, the remains of meals eaten during the day will appear first as they begin to vomit.

But as with humans, as hours pass, if vomiting continues, a bilious or whitish-looking liquid will appear. There is nothing in the stomach, but vomiting does not stop, and what we see is a mixture of beaten gastric juices.

How to treat gastritis in dogs

It is important to note that, although the causes of irritation and inflammation of the gastric mucosa are multiple, we must investigate the initial cause that sparks vomiting. In general, the veterinarian may suggest a temporary fast (depending on the breed and age). Or a stomach shield to decrease acidity, or an antiemetic, ie, a drug that cuts vomiting.

Given that in this situation, the oral route is not very effective, they will probably be injected initially. Then we will be asked to continue the treatment orally afterwards, until they find the cause and begin appropriate treatment.

Not only viruses typical of gastroenteritis cause vomiting, but also the accidental intake of irritants (some toxic plants for dogs , for example). So, a good prior exploration and a collection of data as accurate as possible can help a lot.

Remember that continuous vomiting causes the dog to lose substances essential for the balance of the organism (electrolytes such as chlorine and potassium). And this can increase chances of rapid dehydration in small dogs or puppies.

What causes irritation of the gastric mucosa?

If we understand that the liver and kidneys purify the organism in the dog, we will understand that the accumulation of waste products can irritate gastric mucosa. Among many other things.

Renal or hepatic failure often leads to vomiting without food content, between whitish and yellowish. If your dog is of a certain age or accompanies these vomiting with other types of symptoms (urinating more, drinking more, lack of appetite, apathy, bad breath...), it is possible that the origin is in some alteration of the renal or hepatic systems.

How to prevent white foam vomit in dogs

In the case of viral gastritis, we have no choice but to wait for the virus to disappear. They usually appear abruptly and disappear in a few hours, but in the meantime, we must watch our dog to ensure they do not get dehydrated. And our vet will administer antiemetic products (like metoclopramide, maropitant ...), as well as the stomach protectors (omeprazole, Ranitidine, famotidine...).

If vomit is caused by irritation, such as when eating part of a slightly toxic plant, the solution is to simply prevent our dog from accessing it. A stomach shield may be necessary to alleviate the production of gastric acids.

If the white foam vomiting is due to a renal or hepatic problem, there is not much that we can do to avoid its appearance, we can only follow the treatment that the vet tells us.

But we can anticipate and detect the problem in its beginnings. Performing annual checks on our dog from 7 or 8 years of age, depending on the breed, may reveal early cases of renal failure (a complete blood test).

My Dog is Vomiting White Foam - Symptoms, Causes & Treatment - Vomiting white foam from gastritis

Vomiting white foam from heart problems

Often, the first symptom of heart disease in dogs is the appearance of a hoarse, dry cough. At the end of this episode of violent coughing, white foam will appear in vomit. It resembles "whipped egg whites." Sometimes it is thicker, and we refer to it as "phlegm."

Sometimes we confuse these symptoms with kennel cough, or perhaps people think the dog is choking on something. Yet, this can be the result of a sick heart that has begun to increase in size. It accumulates blood in its chambers without being able to pump it and the dilatations arise.

This increase in size can compress the trachea, irritating it and causing a coughing fit, followed by vomiting white foam. Although the mechanism by which heart problems cause cough, and therefore, vomiting, are more complex.

How do I know if this is the cause of vomiting?

Although we don't realize at first, many times when our dog has been struggling to finish their usual walks, they will "laugh" (which is what we refer to when he starts panting excessively with his mouth shaped as if he were smiling). And they may lie down, cough and vomit white foam. All of these signs can help the vet as well as the proper tests they may need (heartbeat check, eco x-rays, radiographic films...) to get a proper diagnosis.

The treatment may vary, as are the possible heart failures. There are failures, valve stenosis (they don't open and close properly), cardiac muscle thickening...

In general, coughing and being sick will be reduced after several days of common treatment in most cardiac processes. Such as antihypertensives (enalapril, benazepril) and a soft diuretic to ease a weak heart (spironolactone, chlorothiazide...), as well as a special diet for cardiopathic patients in some cases.

My Dog is Vomiting White Foam - Symptoms, Causes & Treatment - Vomiting white foam from heart problems

Vomiting white foam from kennel cough

Kennel cough is another irritation of the trachea that causes dry cough and foamy vomit. It is known as " choked bone disease, ". So we shouldn't be surprised that a coughing fit ends with white (foamy) vomit!

It is important to collect data to differentiate this type of vomiting from heart failure and help our vet rule out that something has been swallowed. Are we missing a piece of something at home? A thorough examination will confirm it, as sometimes really small items that we did not even know we had can be swallowed by our pet.

How to prevent vomiting from kennel cough

The treatment and disappearance of white foam vomit, depends on the case (age, previous diseases). Your veterinarian may give your dog an anti-inflammatory along with an antitussive, or in cases where development is worse, an antibiotic.

My Dog is Vomiting White Foam - Symptoms, Causes & Treatment - Vomiting white foam from kennel cough

Vomiting white foam due to tracheal collapse

The tracheal collapse also produces white foam and in many cases, labored breathing and coughing. If we have a breed susceptible to this or our dog is older, it is possible that this tracheal alteration is the culprit.

Can tracheal collapse be prevented?

Tracheal collapse is a question of each breed, the quality of the cartilaginous rings of the trachea and other things that are beyond our control. However, using a harness instead of collar, maintaining an ideal weight in our dog and not subjecting them to intense exercise, can help us control the symptoms.

Our vet may find it necessary, in severe cases, to administer bronchodilators so that the little air that passes through the trachea can reach the lungs more easily.

My Dog is Vomiting White Foam - Symptoms, Causes & Treatment - Vomiting white foam due to tracheal collapse

Should I be worried?

Remember there is a difference between regurgitation and vomit. Regurgitation is when the dog throws up food that has not been digested yet. Normally, this is not serious and it might be due to the fact that the dog has eaten their food too fast. In contrast, vomit is when the food has been digested and can be a sign of an underlying health issue.

As you can see, something as general as vomiting white foam, can have multiple causes. As always, AnimalWised encourage you to collect as much information from your dog and consult your vet who can determine the issue as soon as possible.

My Dog is Vomiting White Foam - Symptoms, Causes & Treatment - Should I be worried?

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to My Dog is Vomiting White Foam - Symptoms, Causes & Treatment, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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4 comments
Maria Rausch Martinez
Hello,
My dog a Chihuahua went outside to do his business like maybe 3 to 4 minutes later I went to put him in and noticed that he was just standing still and not coming to me when calling him, I picked him up and place him in the floor he started walking and drinking water after that he started throwing up what it looks like white foam. He has been laying down and if I offer water he will drink it. what can it be? Please help me!
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Maria,

We can't diagnose any pets. We have covered the possibilities in the article, but it is up to your to take them to the vet to diagnose the problem properly. Without and examination or the proper background, it would be impossible for us to diagnose any problems.
Nia M.
Hi, my dog started throwing up white foam, first his lunch came up, than just white foam with what looked like a string of red-ish blood in it, Should i be worried ? What could this be? He’s acting pretty normal, except he clearly is having and upset stomach. His stool appears normal, no blood or anything.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Nia,

If it looks like there is blood in your dog's vomit, it implies there is something wrong. It might not be something serious, but then again it has the potential to be so. For this reason, you should take them to the vet. We cannot diagnose anything in the comments here and even the risk of a serious illness is cause to take them for an examination. We hope all goes well!
karen Colenbaugh
Ny dog toby has chf and a bad swollen liver. Just started throwing up white foam was wondering why and if it could b serious
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Karen,

It depends on the specific circumstances and other symptoms. Does it happen after your dog exercises? Coughing up white foam is something which is known to occur in dogs with congestive heart failure. Generally if it is white, it suggests there is no further infection, but this is not necessarily the case (e.g. if they have viral gastritis).

A dog with liver and heart problems will be more a risk than others, so if your dog continues to do it, we recommend you seek a vet's advice. We cannot give out diagnoses in these comments and only they will be able to provide the right examination and tests for an adequate course of treatment (if needed). We wish Toby all the best and hope he feels better soon.
Sherry Thorne
Severe dry hard coughing and throwing up white foamy Phnom alot

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