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Dog Throwing Up White Foam: What to Do Now!

Let’s face it. Seeing your dog throwing up white foam is quite unsettling. Although there’s a myriad of reasons for this, most of the time, it’s nothing more than a mere digestive upset. Given that gas and indigestion are quite common for dogs, vomiting naturally aids the body in getting rid of the inedible material your pooch devoured.

When this happens, your fur baby will recover in a few hours and be back to happily wagging their tail in no time. Nonetheless, we can’t rule out the instances where you’re unsure about the cause. As such, we’ll explore what to do when you notice your dog coughing up white foam.

Why Is Your Dog Throwing Up White Foam?

Common reasons for dogs coughing up white foam include excess air or gas in the stomach, bloat, and digestive issues. However, more serious causes are kidney problems, parvovirus, or kennel cough. The white foam indicates there’s nothing left in your pup’s stomach to vomit besides white slime.

When your dog throws up puddles of white, bubbly foam, chances are, they’ve consumed something they shouldn’t have, as pups are prone to doing. It also indicates they may have eaten hurriedly or exercised too soon after. The white foam composition is typically a mixture of gastric juices and saliva and is a result of the mucous lining becoming frothy and irritated.

Dog Throwing Up White Foam and Gagging

sad bulldog

At times, pups become nauseous and make suffocation sounds that indicate kennel cough, also known as tracheobronchitis. Nonetheless, a dog with this infection will typically recover without treatment.

Dog Throwing Up Thick White Mucus

It’s a marker of health problems such as pancreatitis, kennel cough, and parvovirus. The fundamental reason behind a pup coughing up thick white mucus is that nothing else is left in the stomach.

10 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Coughing Up White Foam

Let’s delve into a few reasons for your pup throwing up white foam.

Indigestion

As one of the most common reasons for dogs coughing up white slime, indigestion indicates that your pet is trying to expel the irritants in their stomach. It may also be the outcome of excessive drinking or eating and consuming rotten foods that ultimately upset the canine digestive system. Nonetheless, if your dog doesn’t vomit frequently, there’s nothing to worry about. However, if it’s recurrent, then it may indicate an underlying issue.

The first course of action is to examine your pooch’s food for ingredients that may be irritating the digestive system. You can feed your pet one or two tablespoons of pumpkin that gets the job done in treating indigestion. If it doesn’t help, reach out to your local vet for proper treatment.

Acid Reflux

It triggers a burning pain, commonly known as heartburn, which occurs when stomach acid makes its way to the food pipe. Furthermore, it’s more painful when the stomach is empty. If your furry friend has acid reflux, you’ll notice them coughing up white slime in the morning before their first meal of the day.

To curb this acid reflux symptom, reduce the quantity of food in each meal and feed your pup more frequently. Doing so also prevents stomach acid accumulation, which means your pup won’t cough up white foam.

Kennel Cough

It’s a prevalent infection in puppies and is caught in environments where you’ll find clusters of dogs, such as animal shelters, kennels, and dog shows. Although you may not realize, there’s a difference between coughing up and throwing up white foam. The mixture of air and saliva results in coughing up white foam, typically referred to as kennel cough. Moreover, it’s similar to the common cold that humans develop occasionally.

sick bulldog sitting on bed wearing blanket

While kennel cough is highly contagious, it has mild symptoms and usually subsides after a few weeks. The tell-tale sign of this cough is a hacking or honking sound that’s easily mistakable with that of a goose. Aside from that, a pup with kennel cough doesn’t seem ill.

They eat, drink, and play as usual, but you’ll notice an excessive cough. It’s at this point that we recommend visiting your local vet. Four to five days after infection, they may exhibit gagging, a runny nose, eye discharge, and vomiting.

The good news is kennel cough is preventable with the Bordetella vaccine. However, if you prefer to take the natural route and ease the kennel cough symptoms organically, then Manuka honey is a healthy ingredient to consider. It soothes the throat.

The anti-fungal, antiviral, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties of honey make it significantly beneficial to your dog’s overall wellbeing. For medium-sized pooches, one teaspoon or ¾ tablespoon of honey up to 4 times per day effectively treats kennel cough.

Bloat

It’s a condition in which the stomach is loaded with an unusual amount of air, causing swelling. Bloat is more prevalent in larger dog breeds with narrow waists and deep chests, for instance, the Rottweiler and Great Dane. The swelling is life-threatening because it constricts the veins and blood flow.

As a result, you’ll notice excessive drooling, inability to cough and defecate, and white foam oozing from your dog’s mouth. To diminish your pup’s chances of experiencing bloat, avoid feeding them large meals in one sitting or doing strenuous exercise immediately after eating. Nonetheless, if you suspect your pooch has bloat, consult a vet immediately.

Kidney Problems

It’s one of the main causes of a dog throwing up white foam. If your pooch is suffering from mild kidney problems, you’ll notice frequent urination. However, in adverse cases, your pup will vomit white slime, at which point, you should contact your vet. They’ll recommend a few dietary regimens with low phosphorus levels and a moderate level of protein. It’s worth noting that kidney problems can be life-threatening if left untreated.

Rabies

Ensure your pooch is up-to-date with their vaccinations. If you’ve followed the vaccination schedule, then you can rule out the white foam as a sign of rabies. Pups suffering from this deadly virus exhibit muscle spasms and aggression. A dog throwing up white foam is usually the last symptom to appear.

Bilious Vomiting Syndrome

black dog with white foam outdoor

Closely similar to acid reflux in humans, bilious vomiting syndrome is a condition that involves the excess production of bile in your dog’s stomach. As a result, it causes irritation that manifests as brown, green, white, or yellow vomit accompanied by slimy mucus.

The most effective way of controlling bilious vomiting syndrome is to feed your pup smaller meal portions at frequent intervals with light snacks in between. However, if this proves futile or you simply lack the time due to a busy lifestyle, your vet can prescribe medication that will work like a charm.

Pancreatitis

Defined as the swelling of the pancreas, pancreatitis alters a dog’s regular digestive function. When the body doesn’t properly digest food, it has no choice but to expel it through vomiting. The vomit that pancreatitis triggers is usually frothy and white.

It’s worth noting that pooches suffering from diabetes are more susceptible to pancreatitis. In addition to your dog throwing up white foam, other symptoms of this disease are fever and severe abdominal pain. It’s at this point that you should rush your pet to the vet.

Parvovirus

It occurs when your dog’s intestine’s inner lining gets damaged, hindering the proper absorption of food and water. Consequentially, your dog suffers from dehydration and malnutrition. Moreover, parvovirus can usher in a bacterial infection in the bloodstream, which can be fatal.

The obvious signs of this viral infection are diarrhea and foamy vomit. Parvovirus calls for immediate care because a pup’s body becomes overly weak and expels anything they try to consume.

Regurgitation

It entails a dog throwing up foamy food that wasn’t digested. As such, the contents are easily recognizable. You can rest easy knowing regurgitation isn’t as adverse and merely a result of your dog being ravenous. As a result, you’ll notice your pooch experiencing harmless hiccups.

What to Do If You Notice Your Dog Throwing Up White Foam

If your dog persistently throws up white foam, consult your vet right away. However, if the symptoms are not adverse, then you have nothing to worry about. For instance, if your pup has consumed lots of grass and starts throwing up white foam after that, they’ll be fine in a few hours.

If your dog coughs up white foam due to a stomach upset, your goal should be reducing foaming in the intestine. To do so, avoid feeding your pooch for a maximum of 12 hours, then offer ice as a substitute for water until the symptoms subside. Typically, a sick pup will intuitively refuse to eat or drink water. When you think your dog can stomach something, offer soft and easily digestible foods such as boiled chicken and rice in small portions.

Upon realizing that your pup is a furry ‘garbage disposal’ on legs that will chow down any object it stumbles upon, keep a close eye to prevent this. Although we understand that keeping any object out of reach from your furry friend can be an uphill battle, ensure potentially toxic items don’t disappear into their mouth.

Dog owners, more so, those residing on farms, would be taken aback if they knew what their pups had consumed. You may not be aware that your dog consuming anything in their sight is a sign of boredom and requires more stimulation and exercise, particularly if they are digging and scratching items in your home.

yellow labrador retriever puppy face close up

When to Consult a Vet

Under normal circumstances, a dog throwing up white foam leads to indigestion as a result of ingesting foreign objects, all of which block the intestine. Except for chew toys, small, loose objects should be kept out of reach of pups.

Furthermore, household items that are toxic to pooches, including cleaning agents and pesticides, can trigger severe reactions, including a dog coughing up white foam. Keep household chemicals neatly tucked away in shatterproof, tightly-sealed containers and avoid leaving them out. If your put out mouse, rat, or roach traps, ensure they are in spots out of your dog’s reach.

On the other hand, if your dog is coughing up white foam as a result of pancreatitis, kidney problems, parvovirus, and other ailments, it’s time to consult your vet right away. The same applies if your pet is exhibiting any of the following symptoms.

  • Excessive drooling
  • Bloody stool or diarrhea
  • Constant thirst (dehydration)
  • Fever
  • Pale gums
  • Inability to defecate
  • Frequent urination
  • Inability to urinate
  • Disorientation
  • Lethargy

Poisonous Foods to Dogs

Foods that are safe for human consumption and other animals may be poisonous to your dog, causing them to throw up white foam and pose a serious threat to their overall wellbeing. The reason is that the rate of metabolism differs from one animal to another. With that being said, here’s a breakdown of some of the most poisonous foods to pups.

  • Chocolate: It has a cardiac stimulant known as Theobromine that is life-threatening to pooches
  • Garlic: It has a small quantity of Thiosulphate that builds up over time and can cause an adverse reaction in dogs
  • Avocado: All parts of it are poisonous to pups
  • Mushrooms: They cause kidney and heart problems
  • Nutmeg: It can trigger seizures and damage the central nervous system (CNS)
  • Macadamia: It damages a dog’s nervous system
  • Grapes and Raisins: They usher in kidney problems
  • Seeds and Fruit Pits: They contain cyanide that is harmful to dogs
  • Sugar-Free Foods: They have a chemical known as Xylitol that triggers liver failure in pooches
  • Rhubarb, Tomatoes, and Potatoes: They have oxalates that are poisonous to pups
  • Onions: They have larger quantities of Thiosulphate that is toxic

To Wrap It Up

A wealth of digestive tract issues can trigger a dog throwing up white foam, so keep an eye out to determine how fast they need medical attention. Although most pups throw up white foam as a result of consuming something they shouldn’t have, as they say, better safe than sorry. Consult a vet to rule out any uncertainty and get an accurate prognosis.

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Michael Brady

Michael is an animal-lover who specializes in marketing. He started running Dog Food Care with his mother, Sarah, after leaving his office job. Michael gained enough flexibility in his schedule to be able to adopt a dog of his own and welcomed Emmie the dachshund into his home in 2020.