Dog parents know that the occasional upset stomach comes with the territory. Infrequent vomiting (especially when there is an obvious cause) isn’t too worrisome, but what about when it’s an alarming color?
Here are some of the most frequent explanations for our pups’ tummy troubles so you can know when to cook up some chicken and rice – and when to see your vet.
Vomit that is yellow and foamy likely has a high concentration of bile. Bile is a substance that the gallbladder releases into the small intestines to help break down your dog’s’ food.
If your pup goes too long between meals or eats something that is particularly fatty or difficult to digest, excess bile can linger once the stomach has emptied. The irritation this causes to your dog’s gastrointestinal tract often leads to recognizably yellow vomit.
In addition to missed meals, anything that puts your pup off their normal eating schedule or introduces unfamiliar foods may lead to excessive bile and an upset stomach.
Some likely causes of bilious vomiting include:
A lower-fat, higher-fiber diet may resolve bilious vomiting by helping your dog steadily digest food. You may also consider breaking larger meals up into multiple smaller ones throughout the day.
If your pup’s stomach issues persist, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian. Prolonged vomiting can lead to health complications or have a dangerous underlying cause.
Unfortunately, dogs can’t tell us what’s bothering them (or fess up to nosing through the trash). The color of your dog’s vomit can provide helpful clues to what may be causing their upset stomach.
Green. Whether dogs eat grass to relieve nausea or get nausea from eating grass is a great canine mystery. In either case, green vomit is a good indicator that your pup has been grazing.
Bright red. Cherry red vomit is a sign of upper GI bleeding, ulcers, or irritation. Visit your vet to get treatment and rule out serious health conditions.
Brown. To many pet parents’ chagrin, brown, strong-smelling vomit is the likely result of eating poop. If your home has both dogs and cats, it’s a good idea to come up with a solution that restricts your pup’s access to the litter box.
Dark red or black. Dark vomit or vomit that resembles coffee grounds can indicate lower gastrointestinal bleeding or cancers. Don’t hesitate to visit your vet to investigate its cause.
White. White or clear vomit may mean that your dog’s stomach is empty, but colorless frothy vomit can also be a sign of bloat. For dogs, bloating is a medical emergency that requires surgical intervention as quickly as possible to prevent internal rupturing and respiratory distress.
When it is a one-off event, yellow vomit isn’t a huge source of concern as long as it resolves quickly. However, prolonged yellow, foamy vomiting can be a sign of a more serious condition like liver disease or pancreatitis.
Monitor your dog carefully after an upset stomach, and respond quickly if the issue persists. Your vet can help identify the source of the vomiting to get your canine companion the relief they need.