Seeing your dog vomit white foam can be disconcerting. Are they okay? What does it mean? Will that foam come out of your carpet??? Let's talk about what's going on when your dog vomits white foam and, more importantly, what you should do next.
Why Foamy Vomit is Different
Dogs vomit. It's just something they do! But - and excuse the detail - chunky vomit is different from liquid or foamy vomit in more ways than one. In some cases, you're right to be more concerned if your dog vomits foam than if they vomit up breakfast. Chunky, partially-digested vomit is almost always a result of something not sitting quite right in the stomach, such as when your dog eats too much or consumes something too fatty. But foamy or liquidy vomit is usually unrelated to food. It can be indicative of a medical issue.
Potential Causes for Foamy White Vomit in Dogs
There is, of course, no exhaustive list of the reasons dogs vomit. It's always entirely possible that the vomiting, no matter what the consistency, is a result of simple indigestion or motion sickness. Foamy vomit is more likely than chunky or granular vomit to be a sign of something more serious. Here are a few of the potential causes to be aware of:
Ingestion of a Foreign Object: White foam vomit could indicate your dog's body is trying to expel something foreign, like a toy or even a toxic substance.
Acid Reflux: If your dog's foamy vomit happens most often when their stomach is empty, it could be caused by a buildup of stomach acid which is known as Bilious Vomiting Syndrome. Medicine and an adjusted feeding schedule can help.
Kennel Cough: Vomiting white foam can be a symptom of kennel cough, especially when experienced alongside eye discharge, a runny nose, and a hacking cough. Parvovirus and even rabies can also sometimes result in foamy vomit.
Pancreatitis: When the pancreas is swollen or irritated, digestion is disrupted and vomiting can happen. Dogs with diabetes are more likely to suffer from pancreatitis.
Bloat: One of the earliest symptoms of potentially-deadly bloat is foamy vomit that occurs soon after eating.
When to Worry
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. If you have reason to believe your dog mag have contracted a bacteria or virus, pay special attention to the vomiting. You know your dog best. If an episode of vomiting seems annoying but relatively unexceptional, just keep a close eye on things to make sure it's an isolated incident. If your dog seems to be in pain, panicked, or out of sorts at all after vomiting, it's time to contact the vet. And don't forget - a vomiting dog is a quickly-dehydrated dog! Offer your dog plenty of clean water after vomiting and call your veterinarian if you have any concern around dehydration.