Why Is My Dog Vomiting White Foam?

Is your dog vomiting white foam? Let’s look at some reasons for a dog vomiting white foam and find out what to do when your dog is throwing up white foam.
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Is your dog vomiting white foam? Bearing witness to your dog vomiting white foam can be disconcerting at the best of times and cause dog owners to panic at the worst. There are so many reasons for digestive upset in dogs, and they share so many similar symptoms, that general upset can be difficult for veterinarians to diagnose quickly. While some of the causes for this issue — such as a dog finding rotting food in the garbage or ingesting a foreign object — can occur to any dog at any time, you can manage, treat or prevent the riskiest and most dangerous reasons for a dog vomiting white foam.

First, why is your dog vomiting white foam?

Why is your dog vomiting white foam? A sick or sleeping Retriever dog, lying down.
Why is your dog vomiting white foam? Photography © MartinPrescott | E+ / Getty Images.

A dog who gets sick once before returning to normal is likely to have eaten something she shouldn’t. If a dog throws up several times in a day or for more than a couple of days in a row, on the other hand, schedule a veterinary appointment. The leading causes for a dog vomiting white foam include internal injury, infection and inconsistent eating habits. The major ones we’ll examine include:

  1. Ingesting toxins, poisons, foreign objects
  2. Bilious vomiting syndrome
  3. Bloat
  4. Kennel cough
  5. Pancreatitis and other digestive inflammations
  6. Parvovirus
  7. Rabies

1. A dog vomiting white foam may have eaten something strange

Eating a foreign object can lead to an upset stomach, indigestion or intestinal blockages, all of which might reasonably point to a dog vomiting white foam. With the exception of dog toys, small, loose objects should be kept well out of the reach of indoor dogs. Household items that are toxic to dogs — especially household cleaners that not dog safe and pesticides directed toward insects or rodents — can also cause adverse reactions, like a dog vomiting white foam.

Store all household chemicals in tightly-capped, shatterproof containers and never leave them out. If you put out rat, roach or mouse traps, put them in spots out of your dog’s reach. Here is a list of plants and foods that can be toxic to dogs. Note the presence of any of these in your home. It may be of critical importance to a veterinarian if a dog is vomiting white foam.

2. Your dog might be throwing up foam because of Bilious vomiting syndrome

Bilious Vomiting Syndrome in dogs is similar to acid reflux in humans. Bile and stomach acid are naturally occurring fluids that aid in the digestion and processing of food. On an empty stomach, however, they can cause irritation. That irritation can lead an otherwise healthy and hungry dog to ignore meals, or, in more extreme situations, vomit to expel the excess. The vomit from Bilious Vomiting Syndrome can be colored yellow, white, green, orange, brown or some mixture. Sometimes, it’s accompanied by slimy mucus.

Feeding an active dog smaller meals at regular intervals throughout the day — including a small snack first thing in the morning and last thing at night — may be the best and easiest way to address what could become a more serious problem. If excess stomach acid or bile are at fault, over the course of her life, a dog who produces excess digestive fluids can suffer from damage to her stomach or intestinal lining, leading to more serious digestive issues as she ages.

An alternate solution is acid-reducing medications. Consult with your dog’s veterinarian, who can recommend an antacid which may also help relieve your dog’s suffering, especially if your work schedule prevents you from being able to physically give your dog meals throughout the day.

3. Bloat may cause dogs to vomit white foam

Bloat, also known as gastric torsion or stomach dilation, is an extremely serious condition in dogs. In the worst cases, a dog’s stomach literally becomes twisted from its normal position in the abdomen. This not only traps air, food and fluids in the stomach, but it also restricts blood flow.

One of its early symptoms, before all movement into and out of the stomach cuts off, is a dog vomiting white foam. This condition most commonly occurs in deep-chested adult and senior dogs. While the precise reasons for it are unclear, prevention consists mainly of making sure dogs are not overactive just after meals.

4. A dog vomiting white foam can be a sign of kennel cough

Kennel cough is a mild illness, most commonly contracted in multi-dog households, at boarding facilities, veterinary offices, dog parks, and places where training classes are held. Wherever a large number of dogs are present, this upper respiratory infection can strike.

If a dog throwing up white foam has recently been in one of these situations, a veterinarian may reach a diagnosis much more quickly. Other symptoms to look out for are a hacking cough and eye discharge, or a runny nose. Kennel cough also tends to be a self-limiting sickness, typically running its course in about two weeks.

5. Pancreatitis might cause dogs to vomit white foam

Swelling or inflammation of the pancreas interrupts a dog’s normal digestive functioning. When food cannot be properly and regularly broken down, processed and eliminated, the dog has limited options for getting rid of the excess material in his stomach. Vomiting is one route, and white foam can accompany it.

Dogs with canine diabetes are at increased risk for developing pancreatitis, which is when white foam in the vomit is also linked to diabetes. Other symptoms include adopting a hunched-over position, noticeable abdominal pain and fever.

6. Parvovirus may cause foamy vomit in dogs

A viral infection seen most frequently in puppies and very young dogs who live in multi-dog homes, dogs get parvo through oral contact with feces. Signs of this illness generally begin within a week to 10 days of exposure to the virus.

Along with your dog vomiting white foam, the most alarming symptom of parvo is diarrhea that contains blood and has a strong odor. This is a deadly disease; however, most early-life combination vaccines help puppies build up immunity to parvovirus. An unvaccinated dog vomiting white foam may indicate parvo as the cause. Consult a vet as soon as possible.

7. A dog vomiting white foam might have rabies

Rabies is the last, and least likely, culprit for a dog vomiting white foam. We’re all familiar with the image of a rabid dog foaming at the mouth, but regurgitating foam only happens in the very last stages. By the time a dog takes to vomiting white foam, observers will have noticed much more worrisome signs, such as aggressive behavior. As with parvo, rabies is preventable with the appropriate vaccines and boosters.

The bottom line on a dog vomiting white foam:

A sick pug with a mask on.
The two most dangerous reasons why dogs vomit white foam are actually preventable. Photography by WilleeCole Photography / Shutterstock.

An informed, observant and proactive dog owner has a distinct advantage. This means knowing your dog’s eating habits, noting any deviations, and being able to adjust as circumstances require. Changing the portions and frequency of a dog’s meals, whether she is a growing puppy or an active adult, can help prevent the buildup of bile and acid, which causes later-in-life digestive problems.

Keeping a dog in a clean environment— including regularly sanitized food and water bowls— minimizes the risk of contracting parasites as well as bacterial infections. The two most dangerous reasons for a dog vomiting white foam — parvo and rabies — are largely preventable with proper vaccination.

Tell us: Has your dog ever vomited white foam? What was the reason for your dog vomiting white foam?

Thumbnail: Photography © Lindsay_Helms | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

This piece was originally published in 2010. 

About the author

Melvin Peña trained as a scholar and teacher of 18th-century British literature before turning his research and writing skills to puppies and kittens. He enjoys making art, hiking, and concert-going, as well as dazzling crowds with operatic karaoke performances. He has a one-year-old female Bluetick Coonhound mix named Idris, and his online life is conveniently encapsulated here.

Learn more about how to decipher what your dog is throwing up on Dogster.com:

80 thoughts on “Why Is My Dog Vomiting White Foam?”

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  8. My 3 yr old 14 lb Shih-tzu/Bichon mix dog has begun frequently vomiting white/yellow foam. It’s not constant but at least a few times a day. She also vomits undigested food. Tried feeding less and Pepto Bismol, which DID seem to stop the vomiting for 24 hrs but she vomited again this morning, including the food she ate yesterday. We feed at 5 PM and our other dog isn’t exhibiting any of the same symptoms. She isn’t lethargic and definitely has an appetite. No diarrhea, no excessive urination, no bloating or apparent pain. She is behaving normally except the no-warning vomiting 1 to 3 times a day in the past week. She has been regularly immunized and on Nexgard and Heartgard. There is a stomach flu going around in humans in the area and I wonder if it’s possible it she’s caught a form of that although shows no other symptoms other than the obvious nausea and vomiting. Any ideas?

  9. Ciedelle Mae Pada-on

    Hi, my puppy isnt eating well. She’s 9mos old. She eats only when she wants to and is very picky with her food. She drinks water alot though. But recently, I noticed whe vomited a yellowish foam (maybe because the last thing she ate is has yellow soup) just once. Im worried because she doesnt eat well. She’s still a very energetic puppy. Just really worried.

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  13. Alyson Krawchuk

    My Cavapoo is 4 and throws ups a few times a week with some foam. It is due to her drinking her water too fast. She has always done this since she was a puppy. I have a special bowl for her to use to help her slow down but every once in while she still throws up. When we travel she always over drinks that first day and throws up and then is fine.

  14. my 11yr. yorkie has been vomiting off and on. sometimes it’s clear,
    last time it was white foam with a piece of chicken cut small I give
    him. we give him science diet small bites for senior dogs. he has been
    on science diet since he was a puppy,but really does he eat it. I began feeding him very lean ground beef which he loved. after awhile, I decided
    to mix in with this science diet chicken by purdue, very expensive, grilled chicken. I always cut it in tiny pieces, there are no bones at all
    in it. He loves it, but still won’t eat the science diet dog food mixed with it. When he throws up, after, he always is very thirsty and drinks a lot
    of water. He sleeps a lot during the day. I am very concerned. He will
    be going for his yearly ck-up in july. His eyes also have a light blue color over them. sometimes, he just stares at something for awhile.
    sometimes I will be holding him and he gets up on my lap and begins
    looking all around the room like he sees something. a spirit?
    Please help us, I don’t want to put him down, but I don’t want him
    to be suffering.

    1. Don’t make him eat that food anymore. Change foods he is telling you there is something wrong with the food and it can be making him sick

  15. People ! Please do not try to interpret what is going on with your dog based on any article someone wrote. Yes, vomiting could be this or could be that but ALWAYS contact your veterinarian if your dog or cat is exhibiting a behavior or symptom that makes them uncomfortable!!!!

  16. I thought my dog had been poisoned and was about to die when i saw him vomit white foam but my vet took good care of him on time.I don’t know what i could have done without him.

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  18. A puppy is found which seems to be 3 to 4 months old …and she is so weak and avoiding drinking water and eating …she se just digging and resting all day and I saw her vomitting and her mouth was covered with white foam..and I think she is also suffering from fever too… I don’t know what to do .. please help me about this..as my regular vet is not available right now at this moment

    1. Hi Neil,
      This article might be helpful:
      https://www.dogster.com/dog-health-care/why-is-my-dog-vomiting-yellow
      Please contact your vet if you have any questions about your dog vomiting.

  19. Mrs Joanne Thirlaway

    I have a male fawn pug, 7 months old, been sick foam, just not him self, is this something to worry about, any idea what has coursed this,any help to give me, thanks. J Thirlaway.

    1. Hi there,
      Sorry to hear you and your dog are going through this! Please get your dog to an appointment with your vet to find out the culprit behind your dog vomiting white foam.

      1. My 7 month old Aussie-Pit puppy had an episode of vomit 1 day in her kennel it was ALOT and now she has thrown up 2 more times her food and white slime or foamy stuff over a week period. She has also had some loose bm’s periodically within the past week. She’s doesn’t appear to be ill as she still is very active, still eats and drinks as normal.
        Should I just keep an eye on this or what ?

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  21. My rotty has been throwing up clear liquid with white foam what could it be? After she does she just lies down. Does not seem to wanna eat either. Any way i can help her get better?

    1. Hi im just wondering if you ever figured out the problem? My american bulldog x mastiff does this very often (daily) and the vet has done lots of tests and still 0 results.

  22. my Samoyed ate some food and after a long while vomited it and the after a while yellow bile and he’s not eating or drinking, doesn’t appear to be in any pain. is he ok?

  23. My 12 year old Maltese throws up white foam once a month. His diet hasn’t changed. He wants to be held the entire time he’s ill. He started this when his teeth were extracted. He started licking himself and toys like crazy since then. He’s been to the vet several times. They give him a shot to stop the vomiting and it works. I need to know what to do to prevent the vomiting. He also acts like he’s in pain.

  24. My Chorkie dog is throwing up white foam, she is constipated and won’t stop coughing, is this kennel cough or something more serious?

    1. Hi there Emma,

      Thanks for commenting and we are sorry to hear this is happening to your dog. We suggest taking your dog to the vet to get examined by a professional.

  25. Hi my Jack Russel is 14 yrs old and every so often like twice a month she will present with a painful tummy and looks like she has pains every so often, and throws up white bile, she will not eat whilst like this but will drink water, again she will throw up the white bile, once she has been sick a few times she seems to start and lick up, and then goes to sleep as this seems to wipe her out, ……..could this be Pancreatitis !! after about 2/3 hrs she settles down …..I am going to try feeding her small amounts 2/3 times a day to see if this helps but any info you can suggest would be helpful as I have just lost her sister with kidney disease but this is different too how her sister was and can’t afford another large vet bill just yet……..but if she has to go I will take her,

  26. My shihtzu started a gagging cough a few days ago like there is something stuck in her throat. At times, she spits out white mucous. I’m wondering if she might have kennel cough? I’ll wait for a week or so and see if it gets any better. Otherwise, she is eating and excersizing as normal.

    1. Hi Lynn,

      Thanks for reaching out! Sorry to hear your dog isn’t feeling well. Please consult a vet. This article might provide some insight, too:
      https://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/is-your-dog-coughing-a-lot-what-to-do-next

    2. Hi Lynn Hope your dog is feeling better. A few years ago I took my dog to the vet for coughing. I didn’t know what was going on as he had the kennel cough vaccine. The vet diagnosed him with “burr ends” as in the weed. I didn’t believe it then I went home and found somehow he brought some in on his fur from outside. I cleaned up the burrs and a few days later no more coughing….

    3. My elderly shih-tzu cross started coughing around a year ago. It got really bad one night so I took him to an all night emergency vet where they diagnosed trachaeal collapse — apparently fairly common in shih-tzus and silkies and other small dogs. His coughing occasionally provokes vomiting.

      Alongside the more acute and/or critical issues with coughing, this may also be a cause. There are several possible treatments including wait-and-see, which the dog and I are pursuing at present.

      Whatever, it takes a vet to diagnose these things.

  27. If I am not mistaken, some white foam could also be Not from the stomach but fluid in the lungs. My senior dog was diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF) and the white foam came up quickly, no gagging like when they are about to be sick. Until I knew it was CHF, I thought it was vomit…

  28. My pup will vomit white foam after a car ride if he has no food in his stomach. If he has eaten before the trip he will vomit his meal during the ride but if his stomach is empty he will vomit white foam after we stop.

  29. Pingback: How to Make a Dog Vomit | Dog Traing Info

  30. Lois Cirrincione

    I have 2 senior Yorkies. We live in a community with a lot of frogs. My dogs are immediately wanting to catch them. Each caught a frog, which I think “spit” at them when caught. Pups dropped said frogs and then had white foam from their mouths for a few minutes.

  31. My dog was throwing up green bile he even lost his appetite and is not even eating or drinking anything he appears to be so weak now he is throwing up in brown and white with some mucus in it

  32. My 3 month old Frenchie doesn’t eat very regularly and has thrown up frothy water a couple of times, could that be the reason?

  33. I rescued an 8 year old miniature poodle from the rescue center here in NC. She was fine until about a week later. She gagged up, rather than a true vomit, white foam that had the consistency of slimy egg whites.
    I was feeding her about 1/4 cup of food a day and every 3rd day or so she would do this again. I have changed her dog food several times from one feeding to 3, no people food and Mother Hubbard mini bones.
    When it first began I went to my vet and he gave her an antibiotic and stated that it sounded more like gagging in the throat bringing it up from the stomach. Never any food in it. While on the antibiotic she did it once. Then we had a period of time, a few weeks, where she was fine. Now we are back to the every three or 4 days. I could continue to test foods, eating habits etc., but I don’t want her suffering while I am testing.
    She is such a sweet little girl that I want to make her well. I have had pancreatitis and it was not like this. I also had a Siberian Husky , one of 20, that did have pancreatitis and again it did not present in the same way. I was taking her to a veterinarian Gastro but she just kept getting issues closer and closer in time.
    I am planning to go to my vet, but just wanted to see if this sounded familiar and I could give him as much info as possible. I raised, showed and sledded with my showdogs for a long time and now rescue Bichon’s and miniature poodles.
    Thank you for taking the time to read this

    1. Hi Connie,
      Definitely continue working with a vet but these articles might help, too:
      https://www.dogster.com/dog-health-care/dog-vomiting
      https://www.dogster.com/dog-health-care/why-is-my-dog-vomiting-yellow
      https://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/does-your-dog-throw-up-bile
      https://www.dogster.com/dog-health-care/all-about-dog-gastrointestinal-issues-diarrhea-vomiting-constipation-and-more
      https://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/dog-vomiting-vet

    2. Hi, we have the exact same thing happening with our Chihuahua pup since a few weeks. Been twice to the vet but nothing they could find. It is very distressing as we are not the tiniest step closer. We have two Chi pups, they eat and do the same and the other one is fine.

    3. That same thing has been happening with our dog. We’ve had several periods where it seems like it gets worse, and then it’ll get better for a while. We’ve tested different things, changed dog foods, etc, and while changing to low-fat food has helped when he used to also get diarrhea, the vomiting is a separate problem.

    4. Hi. Sounds like food allergies maybe. My male Pomeranian vomited often. I took him off dog foods and cooked for him for quite awhile. No more vomiting. Also there is a freezed dried food made by Trudog.com that worked wonders for him. Good luck.

    5. Jana Hirsekorn

      Small dog issues due to inbreeding to restrict size. I have a 6 lb Chihuahua that is about 16 and a rescue. She began coughing and also spitting up mucous a few years ago. Her Vet discovered she has a tiny trachea and a heart murmur which causes the cough and mucous. She is On a heart pill and a cough suppressant twice daily and it helps! However we also suspect she has pollen allergies. .m

  34. My dog would cough up white foam only on certain mornings. Finally figured out I was brushing her teeth with doggie toothpaste and then she had nothing in her stomach for the night. Began brushing her teeth with gauze and water and the morning white foam incidents have not happened since.

  35. My 1 year old pup on occasion for several months brings up foamy slimy mucus. It doesn’t appear that he brings it up from his belly, it seems as though it is a pocket that accumulates in his throat. He is not ill Otherwise. We’ve been trying for months to figure it out. It appears he’s had kennel cough a couple of times as well.

    1. Take him in. My dog did that at 5 yrs. Old and found out he had megaesophagas. It was new at the time and my vet said it was cause it sat in this pocket until he thru up. He was starving because nothing was getting to his stomache. Now they nake chairs that your dog gets in and wats sitting up. It helps the food go down. I wish that was around for my baby. I lost hime 6 weeks latet

  36. Courtney Appleby

    My dog threw up white foam. Almost every 30 minutes one morning (8 mo Doberman). My vet wanted to see him immediately. It’s a good thing I took him. He had FLIPPED his stomach and required immediate surgery.

    The reason for the foam ( as was explained to me by my vet) because he had flipped his stomach, his stomach kept producing acid from being hungry. Acid & saliva mixed as it came up created the white foam.

  37. Well my baby be okay can he die from it he eat bread from deale on sandwich after he this up he went to sleep do I need to worry

    1. Hi Sheena — Sorry to hear your dog isn’t feeling well. Please contact a vet with any urgent medical questions.

    2. JOSEPH H GUERRERO

      I’m not a expert but I have been raising my baby for quite some time now, my baby threw up a few times in his 11-year life and I believe it was because he ate to fast, he never experienced any continued symptoms! Your baby should be fine. Just keep watching him. As a matter of fact, he threw up today and Wright now he is his old self again! Joey G and Maxithepug.

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