My dog is throwing up white foam!

It can be quite disturbing to watch your dog throw up white foam. The health reasons behind this occurrence can be many, ranging from minor to serious. It is therefore vital to check the accompanying symptoms for proper diagnosis and prompt and effective treatment.

The white foam which a dog throws up is a mixture of stomach contents, mucus, and phlegm. It is usually foamy and thick. Continuous vomiting can result in regurgitation of white blood cells and other cells occurring in the intestinal lining, which is a serious situation requiring the immediate attention of a vet.

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Dogs may spit up or cough out white foam to vomit something that it has eaten and which is making it sick. Occasionally, like all animals, dogs may consume stuff from the garbage that is full of detrimental bacteria. The primary sign that owners need to check is if your pet has started eating grass. Grass has enzymes which induces vomiting. Prolonged vomiting has to be checked by a vet for underlying causes.

Causes of dogs throwing up white foam

Some of the common causes of a dog throwing up white foam are listed below:

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  • Reflux Gastritis or Bilious Vomiting Syndrome: If your dog throws up white-yellowish foam soon after awakening in the morning, then it may have bilious vomiting syndrome. It is a common digestive condition affecting dogs which arises due to acids buildup in the stomach. The condition can be treated via fasting and a plain diet of chicken and boiled rice that soothes the stomach and decreases acids accumulation. Persistent vomiting despite the change in diet can be an indication of some inflammatory bowel disease which needs to be treated by a vet.
  • Indigestion: One of the most common causes of a dog throwing up white foam is an upset stomach. Dogs may sometimes throw up foamy, thick, white vomit after ingesting inedible matter such as weeds or dirt; eating or drinking too fast; or soon after completing exercising.Throwing up is just one of the ways to remove matter from the body that do not provide any benefits for your dog. Persistent vomiting however requires the attention of a vet who will then verify whether or not your dog has swallowed any indigestive substances like toys, etc., and perform surgery if needed.
  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus or Bloat: Throwing up of white foam by dogs can also be a symptom of bloat, a potentially fatal condition requiring immediate medical attention. Bloat develops due to abnormal buildup of fluids, air, and/or foam in a dog’s stomach.This causes the stomach to rotate, bloat, and trap food, air, and water while simultaneously causing internal organs’ damage, abdominal veins blockage, and eventual death of the affected dog. In addition to throwing up white foam, affected dogs may also elicit other symptoms like restlessness, abdominal bloating, a hunched-up look, failed attempts at defecating or vomiting, coughing, increased drool, pale gums, and salivation.
    • Initial treatment at a vet involves stabilization of the dog and decompression of the stomach so that it does not exert pressure on the vital blood vessels.A stomach pump and stomach tube is used to decompress the bloated stomach. Later, trapped vessels are replaced by intravenous catheters which are then used to administer fluid solutions into the bloodstream of the dog.Pain medicines are given for stabilizing the dog and preparing it for surgery. Surgery involves pushing the stomach back to its original position thereby preventing the recurrence of bloat.
    • Deep-chested, large dogs like the Great Dane, Irish wolfhound, German shepherd, akita, Saint Bernard, Irish setter, weimaraner, Doberman, and bloodhound are more vulnerable to developing bloat that other dog breeds.Quickly eating a large meal or exercising just after a meal can increase the risk to bloat. The condition can be prevented by feeding your dog 2 to 3 meals across the day, and limiting physical activity for 2 hours post meals.
    • Rabies: Historically, throwing up of white foam by dogs has been considered as a symptom of rabies. White foam vomit is however a last-stage symptom of rabies and typically occurs long after the affected dog has elicited other signs of rabies such as extreme aggression.Rabies associated throwing up white foam by dogs occurs due to throat and mouth nerve damage which prevents the dog from eating/swallowing food. It may however be noted that if your dog has been given all the right vaccines then throwing up white foam will not be a symptom of rabies.
    • Kennel Cough: A disease of the upper respiratory system, kennel cough refers to infection of dogs by airborne bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica. In addition to occasional vomiting of white foam, affected dogs will elicit a hacking, dry cough along with retching throughout the day. Other symptoms include nasal discharge, nasal mucous membrane inflammation, and conjunctivitis. The condition is usually mild and resolves in less than 14 days.
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