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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.

Pale vomit that looks like foam or bubbly saliva (as opposed to chunkier dog vomit) occurs because of excess air or gas in the stomach. Your dog is most likely throwing up white liquid because there’s not much else in his stomach to purge. The white foam is a mix of saliva and beaten gastric juices.

If your dog is a puppy, a senior, or has underlying health problems, you should see your veterinarian immediately if she’s throwing up a lot of white foam. Puppies and senior dogs have relatively weak immune systems, so constant vomiting of white foam could wreak havoc on their bodies and make them quite ill. For dogs with underlying health problems, the vomiting could worsen those other health problems or be a sign that those issues are not under adequate control.

Reasons For White Vomit in Dogs

There are a few potential reasons why your dog is vomiting white foam. Vomiting of any kind can indicate a more serious illness, especially if the vomiting occurs frequently.

  • Indigestion (often due to dietary indiscretion)
  • Acid reflux
  • Pancreatitis
  • Other gastrointestinal inflammation
  • Gastrointestinal obstruction
  • Toxin exposure
  • Infectious disease
  • Rabies (rare)

Bloat (this in an emergency; go to the nearest open vet if your dog has a distended abdomen)
Grass and plant materials can be difficult for dogs to digest, making the gastric juices stir up and appear white and foamy until the dog must vomit. The same can happen if your dog eats other things he shouldn’t. Toxins can cause GI irritation and worse, often leading to vomiting.

When To Visit Your Vet

White, foamy vomit isn’t always cause for concern. In general, one-off episodes of vomiting are something to take note of, but if vomiting persists at all, contact your veterinarian right away. (Acute, painful vomiting is a different story.) Chronic vomiting – foamy or otherwise – is definitely a sign there’s something going on with your dog.

Consult with your veterinarian as soon as you notice a pattern. Vomiting white foam should be taken more seriously when it occurs alongside other symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, lethargy, coughing, fever, or behavioral changes.

Treatment of White Vomit in Dogs

If the white foam is caused by a more serious issue, the treatment should be handled by a medical professional. However, if your dog is simply suffering from stomach upset, your goal should be to calm the frothing in his gut.

Withhold food for up to 12 hours and offer your dog ice instead of water until his symptoms subside. When your dog is ready to eat again, offer a small amount of easily-digestible food (like boiled chicken and rice). If he tolerates the meal, you should and your pup should be in the clear!


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