Why Is My Dog Throwing Up White Foam?

If your dog has even thrown up white foam, you know what a scary and distressing experience it can be. Throwing up white foam can have many causes, some of which can be very serious. At Affordable Pet Hospital in Tampa, we’ve helped many dog owners navigate this exact situation. We understand how concerning this can be and aim to provide insight into potential causes and next steps.

Understanding the Causes of White Foam Vomiting

Generally, a dog throwing up white foam indicates that they have an empty stomach. The white foam is typically just a mixture of stomach acid and saliva. The dog may have already thrown up all their stomach contents due to indigestion, eating too fast, or simply eating something that doesn’t settle well. In these cases, throwing up white foam is expected and not a cause for concern unless it persists for several hours.

Gastritis, or an irritation and inflammation of the stomach lining, can also cause white foam vomiting. Gastritis is usually caused by eating spoiled food, allergies, or ingesting a known irritant. For gastritis to resolve, the cause of the irritation must be identified and eliminated.

However, if your dog’s stomach is empty because they’re not eating at all, there is reason to investigate further. Several conditions, such as bilious vomiting syndrome, parvovirus, and pancreatitis, have white foam vomiting as a symptom. These conditions require prompt veterinary care to treat or the dog’s condition will worsen.

Finally, a very serious condition known as bloat can also present with white foam vomiting. Bloat causes the dog’s stomach to fill with gas and twist. Bloat is very painful and requires immediate emergency care.

When to Seek Veterinary Care for White Foam Vomiting

An isolated incident of white foam vomiting is not a cause for concern unless you know that your dog ingested something toxic. However, if a known toxin was ingested, if the white foam vomiting has persisted for several hours, or if any of the following symptoms accompany the white foam vomiting, seek veterinary care immediately:

  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Signs of pain or discomfort
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Symptoms of dehydration such as panting, sunken eyes, and dry nose and/or gums
  • Vomiting with blood or a substance that looks like coffee grounds

Early intervention is critical to effectively diagnose the cause in any of these situations. For certain conditions, like parvo and bloat, early intervention may be the only thing that saves the dog’s life.

Preventing White Foam Vomiting

While it’s not possible to monitor everything your dog tries to eat, especially if they’re an outside pup, there are a few steps you can take to prevent white foam vomiting. Keeping an eye on their diet, ensuring toxins are out of the dog’s reach, providing smaller, more frequent meals, and staying up to date on the dog’s veterinary care are all easy ways to decrease the risk of white foam vomiting.

Trust Affordable Pet Hospital for Your Dog’s Care

At Affordable Pet Hospital, we prioritize educating our client’s owners about all issues that could come up with their pups, including white foam vomiting. Keep a close eye on any dog that vomits white foam, and if it persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, seek qualified veterinary care immediately. If you’re in Tampa, competent veterinary care is just a call away at 813-991-9898 (for after-hours emergencies, call 813-991-9244). You can also email us at clientcare@newtampapet.com or request an appointment online for non-urgent issues. We’re located at 10028 Cross Creek Blvd, Tampa, FL 33647, and ready to help all the pooches of Tampa Bay stay happy and healthy with quality, compassionate veterinary care.