Why Is My Dog Throwing Up White Foam?

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No matter how many times you try to stop your dog from getting themselves into trouble, they always manage to find a way to chew up your favorite pillow or eat something they definitely shouldn’t.

These little things can make owning a dog frustrating at times, even if they don’t suffer any serious consequences for their impulsive actions. That is until your dog is throwing up foam.

Once this consequence comes knocking, you may wonder, “Why is my dog throwing up white foam? Should I call the vet? Are they okay?”

Don’t worry – we have all the answers you need. Let’s dive into what this condition is, when your dog needs medical attention, and how you can help them avoid this situation in the future.

Why Is My Dog Vomiting White Foam?

Why is my dog throwing up white foam

Before taking your dog to the vet, you need to verify the difference between regurgitation and vomit.


If you notice your dog throwing up visible chunks of food that have clearly not been digested yet, then that is regurgitation. Regurgitation is usually not serious and may just be a sign that your dog has eaten their food too fast.

Their body then naturally expels it, so they can try again without harming their digestive tract. It’s gross, sure, but it’s not dangerous.

Dog Vomit

On the other hand, dog vomit is food that has already been digested and is mostly liquid. It may be a greenish or yellowish color due to your dog’s bile salts. Vomit is a far more serious concern for dogs than for humans, as it can be a sign of disease.

If you are still uncertain about whether your dog has vomited or simply regurgitated its food, then it’s best to consult your veterinarian on the matter.

Typically, a dog throwing up white foam is a sign that they have issues with their digestive tract. To determine the actual cause of these issues, you must watch how they behave afterward so you know how quickly to seek out medical attention.

The most common causes of this condition and the symptoms for each of them are listed below.

Ingestion of a Foreign Object

If your dog gets sick once and then returns to normal after throwing up, then they most likely ate something bad. This can cause your dog to have an upset stomach, indigestion, or intestinal blockage, any of which may lead to them then vomiting white foam.

dog vomiting white foam

If you’re certain your dog has ingested some foreign object, then take note of what small, loose items might be in your dog’s reach. Find a way to better secure them.

You should especially keep household items that are well-known to be toxic to dogs (such as household cleaners or pesticides directed toward insects or rodents) as far away from them as possible.

Store these household chemicals in tightly-capped, shatterproof containers that you keep out of your dog’s reach. If you need to put out rat, roach, or mouse traps, be sure to also place them in an area your dog cannot reach.

Keep in mind that there are many common foods and plants that are toxic to dogs as well.

Inside Plants

Some examples of inside plants that are poisonous to dogs include:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Caladium
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Dumbcane
  • Elephant’s Ear
  • Emerald Fern
  • Hyacinth
  • Philodendron
  • Weeping Fig
  • Yew

Outside Plants

Some examples of outside plants that are poisonous to dogs include:

  • Azaleas
  • Daffodils
  • Foxglove
  • Ivy
  • Morning Glory
  • Nightshade
  • Oak
  • Green Potato
  • Rhododendron
  • Wisteria

Your dog may also throw up white foam after eating grass. Most dogs have tried eating grass at least once in their lifetime. If you notice your dog is eating grass, it may be due to boredom, intestinal issues, or the need for fiber, or they simply enjoy how the grass smells and tastes.

In the case of intestinal issues, you may notice your dog eating grass to help boost his natural enzymes. He isn’t eating the grass because he intends to vomit. He is eating the grass because he is malnourished.

Human Food

Several human foods or parts of certain foods can be toxic for your dog to ingest. Be sure to keep these foods away from your pooch:

dog vomiting white foam
  • All parts of an avocado can be toxic to dogs. Be mindful of mopping up any guacamole you might accidentally drop on the floor!
  • Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical that acts as a cardiac stimulant that is fatal to dogs.
  • Most fruit pits and seeds contain cyanide, a poisonous substance for humans and pets if ingested in large quantities.
  • Garlic contains a small amount of thiosulphate, a chemical that can be toxic for dogs if ingested in large quantities. Keep in mind that this chemical can build up in the system, so even if your dog seems fine after eating garlic at first, it may have adverse effects on their health later.
  • Both grapes and raisins can adversely affect a dog’s kidneys.
  • Macadamia nuts can adversely affect your dog’s nervous system.
  • Mushrooms may damage your dog’s nervous system, kidneys, and/or heart.
  • Nutmeg can cause seizures and damage to the central nervous system.
  • Onions contain larger amounts of thiosulphate, the same toxic chemical that is in garlic.
  • Sugar-free foods contain xylitol, which can cause liver failure in dogs.
  • Certain parts of tomatoes, potatoes, and rhubarb contain oxalates, which are toxic to dogs.

Holiday Warnings

Preparing and decorating your home for the holidays often means introducing new, holiday-specific plants and foods into your home.

While this may make your home look nice and cheery, it also means that you’re introducing poisonous substances to your dog.

For example, many of the decorative plants hung during Christmas – such as holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias, are quite toxic for dogs. A curious munch could spell disaster.

During Easter, you may want to plant lilies or tulips, but these are generally toxic for dogs as well.

While every dog owner is constantly reminded that chocolate is poisonous to dogs (especially around Halloween), most owners may not know that excessive sugar can also be quite poisonous for them.

During Thanksgiving, be wary of feeding your dog too many leftovers. Too much fat intake, especially over a short period of time, can cause heart and liver problems for your dog.

Contagious Diseases

If your dog throws up several times in a day or continuously for more than a couple of days in a row, then they may have contracted a disease.

dog vomiting white foam

Kennel Cough

Has your dog recently stayed in close quarters with other dogs over an extended period of time? Whether at a kennel or a friend’s place, if they are now coughing up white foam, they may have contracted kennel cough.

Kennel cough is an upper respiratory infection identified by a dog’s hacking or honking cough, producing white foam.

Other symptoms of kennel cough include having a runny nose, sneezing, lethargy, and/or a loss of appetite. This disease, while very contagious, is actually quite mild and usually clears up on its own within 7 to 10 days.


Parvovirus is a highly infectious virus that comes in two forms—intestinal and the rare cardiac form. It typically affects puppies and very young dogs and can be contracted from ingesting an infected dog’s feces.

One of the early signs your dog has contracted parvovirus is if they vomit white foam. Other symptoms include bloody diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, and rapid dehydration.

Luckily, this disease is easily preventable if you give your dog the appropriate vaccines and boosters.

Here’s a video with more details on parvovirus.


While you may immediately associate a dog foaming at the mouth with rabies, this disease is usually at the very bottom of a veterinarian’s prognosis.

You will know right away if your dog has rabies, as they will display unusually aggressive behavior towards you on top of vomiting white foam.

Rabies can be prevented if you have given your dog the appropriate vaccines and boosters.

Other Reasons for Throwing Up White Foam

Here are a few other reasons your dog may be throwing up white foam.

Acid Reflux or Reflux Gastritis

If you notice that your dog is specifically throwing up in the morning, then it might be suffering from acid reflux. This occurs when acid has built up in their stomach overnight. Acid reflux in dogs is very similar to acid reflux in humans.

Intestinal or gastric fluids come up from the stomach and then flow into the esophagus. The fluids can cause irritation, inflammation and can also ultimately damage the dog’s esophageal lining.

To help with reflux gastritis, your vet may suggest a low-fat prescription diet to help reduce the production of stomach acid. You may also need to start feeding your dog smaller and more frequent meals.


Your dog’s stomach may become bloated if a combination of air and intestinal fluids build up in their digestive system. Bloating in dogs is an extremely serious condition that can, unfortunately, be fatal if left alone.

In the worst-case scenario, a dog’s stomach may literally become twisted from its normal position in the abdomen, which can trap air, food, and fluids in the stomach and restrict the blood flow.

Before the flow in and out of your dog’s stomach becomes cut off, your dog will have white foamy vomit. Other symptoms include constipation, increased drooling, coughing, and/or pale gums.

This condition is most common in deep-chested adult and senior dogs.

Fungal Organisms

Because most dogs like to curiously sniff, scratch at, or dig into things, they may pick up a few contaminated fungal organisms.

If ingested or inhaled, a fungal organism can cause an infection that, in turn, may give your dog a harsh cough or make them vomit white foam.

Your dog can easily catch a fungal organism from messing around with soil that contains bird, poultry, or bat feces.

dog throwing up white foam


Dogs that suffer from canine diabetes are also at increased risk for developing pancreatitis, which is when your dog’s pancreas becomes inflamed.

The swelling or inflammation of the pancreas interrupts your dog’s normal digestive functions. As such, the food they eat cannot be properly or regularly broken down, processed, and eliminated.

Your dog’s digestive system then has limited options for getting rid of this excess food in their stomach, which can result in constant vomiting and pain. The white foam they vomit as a result may also be linked to their diabetes.

Other symptoms may include your dog remaining in a hunched-over position due to pain, as well as noticeable abdominal pain and fever.

Kidney Disease

If your dog is throwing up white foamy vomit and you have been noticing they are having issues when urinating, are acting lethargic or disoriented, then they may be suffering from kidney disease or other kidney-related problems.

Chronic kidney disease can develop over the span of months or years and can be managed with diet and medication. If you notice any of the symptoms we have mentioned, take your pup to the vet immediately. They will then perform blood work and other tests to see how your pup’s kidneys are functioning.

Motion Sickness

Sometimes white foamy vomit can simply be the result of indigestion or motion sickness. This is one of the more harmless causes of vomiting for dogs.

Bilious Vomiting Syndrome

If your dog is vomiting white frothy vomit or yellow bile, it can result from Bilious Vomiting Syndrome. This is a condition historically associated with early morning bile vomiting that is thought to be due to acid reflux.

Other signs your dog may be suffering from Bilious Vomiting Syndrome include a reduced interest in food, lip-smacking, and drooling.

Stomach Ulcer

One of the more common reasons your dog is vomiting white foam is because of bloat of gastrointestinal problems. If they are trying to throw up but can’t, it is time to seek emergency care.

Most stomach ulcers, however, do not present with white foam vomit. Instead, you may notice bright red blood or partially digested blood that appears to look like coffee grounds.

What to Do When Your Dog Vomits White Foam

Watching your dog’s behavior during and after they vomit is crucial to determining the severity of their pain.

If your dog appears to behave normally outside of their occasional vomiting, then you can wait a little longer to see if they develop a more serious medical issue.

However, if you notice that your dog is lethargic, has a tender abdomen, or refuses food on top of constant vomiting, then you will need to take them to the vet to have them checked out.

In most cases, they may simply prescribe pet medication to alleviate these symptoms.

When to See Your Vet

If your dog is still a puppy, old, or has pre-existing medical problems, then you need to see your veterinarian immediately when they throw up white foam.

Even if they find nothing seriously wrong with them, they can still treat your dog for dehydration, which will undoubtedly result from all their vomiting.

If your dog has regular episodes of vomiting white foam, you notice that they are behaving strangely, you notice that they don’t look well, or they have several bouts of diarrhea, then you should see your vet right away.


If your dog ate a foreign object or suffers from indigestion or acid reflux, then you don’t need to take them to the vet.

Simply hold off on giving them any kind of food or water for the next 12 to 24 hours to allow the stomach lining to settle. Any further ingestion may just make them vomit all over again.

If they display no other worrying symptoms, then slowly introduce them to a diet of plain chicken, boiled rice, and low-fat or non-fat cottage cheese for a few days. This bland diet may help decrease any further acid reflux.

Gradually introduce them to their regular diets again a few days after they appear to tolerate this. However, if this vomiting frequently occurs after they eat, you should consult your veterinarian on what to do next.

If your dog is suffering from parvovirus, rabies, bloating, or pancreatitis, then you must take them to your vet right away. Early treatment for these conditions is crucial!

This video goes into more detail on dog vomiting.

How to Keep a Dog from Vomiting

You can’t always prevent vomiting, but there are things you can do that limit it.

  • Keep all objects out of reach, so they aren’t tempted to chew on them or eat them
  • Discourage your dog from eating grass or plants while outdoors
  • Provide them with healthier food and treat options
  • Avoid feeding them too many treats throughout the day
  • Make sure to take your dog to the vet for their annual checkup


Dogs are bound to get themselves into all kinds of trouble, no matter their age. If you notice your dog throwing up white foam, however, then this could mean something serious.

Make sure you follow the helpful tips above and always consult your vet if you are still unsure how to help your beloved canine.

Have you ever dealt with your dog vomiting white foam?

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