Like other mammals or animals, our canines can throw up. While this is an entirely normal reaction to several possible triggers, it can worry any canine owner, especially one unfamiliar with dog vomit types, the possible reasons for the vomit, and things to do when a dog is sick. In this dog vomit color guide, I'll discuss all you should know about canine vomit, including the types, the possible causes, and the steps to take when your dog vomits.
But first, is your dog vomiting or regurgitating? You have to understand the differences to accurately tell whether your dog is regurgitating his meal or if he is throwing up.
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Dog Vomit Vs Regurgitation
Vomiting is when the canine in question egests partially-digested food. You may notice body signs like abdominal contractions, a retching noise, active abs, or bent over licking his lips or drooling before or after vomiting. The vomit may also contain yellow bile.
When canines regurgitate their meals, it often starts in the esophagus or the pharynx. The regurgitated food is undigested and usually covered in saliva or mucus.
Unlike vomiting, which is accompanied by certain behaviors like retching and contractions, regurgitation can happen without warning.
By now, you should be able to tell now if your dog actually vomited or regurgitated. Which is it? Knowing the difference is one of the first steps to providing an effective solution.
Possible Causes of Canine Vomiting
There are several possible reasons your dog may be vomiting. In this section, I'll briefly outline and discuss some of the possible causes of vomiting in dogs.
One of the common reasons your dog may be vomiting is food intolerance. Note that this is entirely different from a food allergy, as it has nothing to do with the immune system.
While there is no known reason for dog food intolerance, many animal experts believe that it may be due to hypersensitivity to specific compounds or nutrients in dog foods. In this case, you can closely observe your dog's meals and eating habits for a while and once you identify the problem compound or nutrient, start eliminating it gradually from his diet.
While food allergies are easily noticed in dogs like in humans, they often occur in the form of skin or gastrointestinal problems. One of the common symptoms of a dog food allergy is vomiting. It is usually one of your dog's first immune responses to something he ate. You may also notice skin irritations often marked by scratching.
When this happens, you should take time to observe and discover the exact foods that may be causing the reaction and gradually stop it.
Gastroenteritis is the inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by a sudden diet change or the presence of a foreign object present in the dog's meals. The condition is often marked by vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. While the situation often self-resolves without medical intervention, you can hasten it with remedies like fasting and gradual adjustments to the dog's diet.
While it is not very likely to be the cause, malignancy can cause vomiting, among other symptoms in dogs. The vomiting is often because of the presence of a tumor or complications from cancer. If you suspect this to be the case, ensure you see a vet immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Other conditions that may cause vomiting in puppies include kidney diseases, adrenal problems, pancreatitis, liver disease, diabetes, parasites, toxins, infections, motion sickness, inflammatory bowel disease, medicines, and supplements.
Dog Vomit Colors and What They Mean
Our canines' vomit can vary in color and type. And sometimes, the types and colors are indicators of the exact cause of the vomiting. In this section, we'll discuss all of the typical puppy vomit colors and what they could mean for your dog. This way, you are better able to understand your dog the next time it happens.
Green Dog Vomit
There are a few possible reasons your dog's vomit is green in color, including eating grass. Dogs can sometimes eat grass when they are outside, and the vomit, in this case, is usually bright green. It may also contain bits of the grass as they are generally not able to digest it properly.
Another reason for green vomit is the presence of bile. This bile-colored vomit commonly occurs when a dog is sick on an empty stomach or has reflux.
In this case, you should have him checked by a vet as soon as possible as an empty stomach vomit is often due to an underlying issue and hardly because of something your dog ate not too long ago, like grass.
White vomit is usually marked by white foam. If you are confident it is foam, then it could be from eating grass. If it's an actual white vomit, it can be due to a gastrointestinal problem or bloating. It would be best if you had the dog checked by a vet for urgent medical care. And even after, keep a close watch on him and keep your vet informed if you notice the symptoms persist.
Treat bloody vomit like a medical emergency requiring urgent attention when it occurs, as it often indicates a severe problem or inflammation in the stomach lining. This is particularly important if the vomited blood is fresh or a regular shade of blood red. Dark red blood is often a sign that it has been in your pup for a long time and possibly an ulcer.
Brown Dog Vomit
This vomit type usually has several possible causes. They include; the dog's kibble color, coprophagia (poop-eating) (a behavior is not uncommon among canines), and blood traces. You can quickly identify the second by the foul but the familiar smell of the vomit.
Yellow Dog Vomit
This vomit color is often another indicator of bile presence in the vomit and a sign that your dog suffers from reflux. It is also a way to tell that their vomiting wasn't a result of something they ate recently and that their stomach is empty. In this situation, the dog will need urgent medical care.
Black vomit is usually a sign of mud or dirt ingested by your pup at play. However, it is not as common and should cause no problem as long as you stop the dog from repeating or train it to reduce such behavior.
On the other hand, suppose, and on closer examination of the vomit, it appears very dark; it could be blood and a sign of an underlying problem like a stomach ulcer or an ingested and undigested toxin. It would help if you had your vet check your dog in this case, as it is usually a medical emergency.
General Remedies for Vomiting in Puppies
Even though vomiting is not always a sign of an underlying problem, it is still a reason to pay more attention to your pup. You want to be sure that you do what you can to help the dog get better.
I'll share some remedies for stopping vomiting in puppies in this section. It would help if you only used these recommendations after discussing your dog's vomiting with your vet. Your vet is always the best person to contact with canine health emergencies, especially if the vomit color may be indicative of an underlying condition.
Many canine experts recommend fasting when a dog is throwing up. The reason is that; having food in an irritated stomach often worsens the situation.
Try placing your dog on a fast for about 24 hours and ensure that he gets as much water as possible.
Over the Counter Medications
You can try several over-the-counter remedies to stop vomiting in your pups. Such medications include omeprazole and others like it. However, you want to make sure that you discuss this with your vet before giving your dog any over-the-counter medicines.
Natural remedies like ginger are useful as they boast anti-nausea properties to help reduce vomiting in humans, and they may work for dogs as well.
There are specific probiotics formulated just for dogs and could help reduce vomiting in some cases. They are incredibly helpful in inflammation-related vomiting.
With prolonged vomiting, you may need to adjust your dog's diet. However, the pup will need some time to get back to normalcy, and you can do this by gradually introducing meals in smaller portions. Many canine experts also recommend easily digested home-made canine meals made with foods that contain essential, beneficial nutrients. You can include ingredients like poultry, rice, or potato.
The whole point of using easily-digested with limited ingredients is to stop excess food material from triggering the process all over when it reaches the large intestine.
Dog Vomit Color Guide: Conclusion
Again, a pup's vomiting isn't always a sign of an underlying problem. There can be severe or non-severe reasons, but the only way to tell is to be knowledgeable about the different vomit types.
This article discussed some of the usual dog vomit colors and what they often tell about your dog's health. However, the one sure way to know what you may be dealing with is by having a vet check the pup. You want your puppy on his feet as soon as possible and having him checked professionally is one of the best ways to ensure that. I also discussed some of the common causes of vomiting in dogs and some remedies to stop vomiting. Again, only apply those remedies after consultation with your vet.
About the Author
Kirsten created The Pet Handbook with the aim of sharing her knowledge about pets, pet food, healthy habits, and more. All of her advice is based on years of her own experience with her pets, and feedback that she has received from grateful readers about her tips. If you want to know more please read the About Me page.