Why Is My Dog Vomiting? There’s nothing that can get a pet parent moving quite like the sound of a dog vomiting or about to vomit. It’s a sound that all pet parents recognize and hate to hear.
So, what causes dog vomiting?
Dogs vomit for many reasons. Some of the reasons are nothing to worry about, but sometimes, vomiting is a sign of a serious health problem that needs immediate veterinary care.
Is It Dog Vomiting or Regurgitation?
One important thing to keep in mind is that dog vomiting and regurgitation are not the same thing. Think of dog vomiting as more of an “active process” and regurgitation as more of a “passive practice.”
Why do you need to know the difference? Because the causes of and treatments for the two conditions are very different, and vomiting tends to be more concerning than regurgitation.
Vomiting occurs when the contents in the stomach and intestines are forcefully ejected. Dog vomit can contain yellow bile or dog food that has been partially digested, and it smells sour.
Vomiting can happen right after a meal or anytime later on. There are usually signs beforehand that show the dog is about to vomit, such as drooling, licking lips, and swallowing excessively.
Some dogs may eat grass before or after they vomit, possibly to induce vomiting or protect the esophagus, because grass can cover sharp objects like bone shards when the dog vomits. It’s a good idea to prevent them from eating a large amount of grass, as it may make matters worse.
Regurgitation in Dogs
Regurgitation, on the other hand, is a mild ejection of undigested food from the dog’s esophagus, meaning that it never made it to the stomach. A major difference is that regurgitation doesn’t involve abdominal heaving.
It tends to happen shortly after eating—maybe your dog ate too much or ate too fast. Or your dog could be overly excited or stressed out.
What Does Your Dog’s Vomit Look Like?
Once you’re pretty sure that your dog is vomiting and not regurgitating, you can identify the type of vomit by the appearance of it. What the vomit looks like can help determine the causes of vomiting in dogs.
Yellow vomit is very common when a dog has an empty stomach, and the yellow color that you see is due to bile secretions. This occurs most commonly in the middle of the night or early morning hours.
It can be caused by acid buildup, reflux, or any other systemic condition that causes nausea on an empty stomach.
White, Foamy Vomit
Vomit that is white and foamy can be caused by a buildup of stomach acid. The foamy appearance is likely caused by the vomit coming into contact with the air or being sloshed around in the stomach before the vomiting occurs.
Clear, Liquid Vomit
If your dog is vomiting a clear liquid, it’s likely due to stomach secretions or water that’s pooling in the stomach and being brought up when they vomit.
This usually occurs when dogs drink while feeling nauseous and can’t keep the water down.
Mucus-Like, Slimy Vomit
Slimy, mucus-like vomit occurs when a dog drools and the saliva pools in the stomach in response to some major irritation. The dog relieves their nausea when they vomit up the mucus.
Bloody Vomit (Red or Pink)
Vomiting blood can be a sign of a serious medical condition in dogs and should always be taken seriously. If your dog vomits blood, it could be a sign that they are bleeding into their stomach or upper small intestine. Blood itself can cause nausea, so if your dog is vomiting blood, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.