Why Is My Dog Vomiting

Last Updated on March 6, 2023 by Woody Pet

In general, dog vomiting is not a good sign regardless of what extent the reason may be behind it. Although it is very common among dogs to do so, it may still be a sign of a serious underlying issue. Read more to find out when dog vomiting should be a cause for concern and when to take action! 

Dog Vomiting: Color Guide, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Why Is My Dog Vomiting

Dog vomiting is commonly listed as one of the symptoms of many serious illnesses your dog can contract. Seeing your dog throw up is a cause for immediate concern for most dog parents because of this. With all the information you could find on the internet, it’s almost too difficult to calm our nerves especially when dog vomiting is a concerning symptom. However, it is also important to note that dog vomiting is a common occurrence in dogs. Read on to find out when it’s time to bring your dog to the veterinarian.

What is the difference between vomiting and regurgitating in dogs?

dog vomit color guide
Image From Sandy Millar

Vomiting and regurgitation look similar to us – in both instances, your dog is expelling contents from inside. The difference between the two is not obvious at first glance, which might cause a lot of unnecessary panic and confusion to dog parents. 

Vomiting is when the contents of the stomach and upper intestine are forcefully ejected. You may also find some food, fluid, and debris onto the space they just vomited on. Prior to them throwing up, they will usually show signs of nausea, excessive drooling, retching, and contractions of the abdomen.

Meanwhile regurgitation is when the contents of the mouth, pharynx, or esophagus are expelled. This is more of a passive motion that expels undigested food and fluids. Prior to regurgitation, they may exhibit difficulty in breathing and swallowing. Regurgitation is more of a burp in which some of the contents in the esophagus, either liquid or solid, come back up – there is no abdominal heaving involved. 

Given all of these, telling the difference between the two is not as straightforward as we like it to be. The easiest way to determine whether they have regurgitated and not vomited is to examine the contents of what they have thrown up. Food or other substances that have been regurgitated are undigested meaning that they will still keep the cylindrical shape of the esophagus.

When is dog vomiting normal?

Image From Luigi Pozzoli

As mentioned earlier, dog vomiting is a very common problem. In some instances, it occurs a variable time after eating or may occur in a pet who is off with the food they’re given. In the topic of food as well, your dog may have eaten a little too quickly or swallowed a foreign object. Dogs with a hacking cough may retch and sometimes vomit at the end of an episode of forceful coughing. These types of dog vomiting are usually not a cause for immediate concern. 

Dog Vomit Color Guide

Dog vomit can come in various colors which help indicate what it means, its severity, and causes:

Green Dog Vomit usually just means that they have ingested a huge amount of grass or they’re throwing up bile. This isn’t a serious problem you should panic over. However, if they seem ill and continue vomiting, seek help from your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Yellow Dog Vomit is a sign of bile. If your dog is throwing up yellow, it’s usually nothing to worry about. What you can do is to clean it up and keep an eye out on your dog should they be exhibiting more symptoms.

Black Dog Vomit is a sign that your dog may have ingested mud or dirt. If the dog vomit looks similar to coffee granules and has a dark red color, it may indicate a stomach ulcer or undigested toxin. Take your dog to the veterinarian if they have this type of vomit.

White Dog Vomit is likely a cause of an upset stomach. If they haven’t eaten in a while prior to this type of dog vomiting, they may be throwing up bile. However, there are some cases that your dog may seem like they’re throwing up white when they’re really just coughing up white foam. This calls for immediate attention and action as it indicates that your dog is suffering from bloat or gastrointestinal problem. 

Red Dog Vomit is usually a sign that your dog is vomiting blood. If the color of the blood is in a normal shade, this indicates that they have troubles with the lining of their stomach or have possible inflammation. If the color is dark red, there might be a poisonous substance inside their system that has been there for a long time. This could also be a sign of an ulcer. 

Dark Brown Dog Vomit means that your dog has ingested too much poop. Most dog parents especially are a little too familiar with this one. However, it could also be an indication of a blockage in their intestines if your dog keeps throwing up. When in doubt, always contact your veterinarian. 

Why is my dog vomiting?

dog vomiting
Image From Max Gotts

Aside from the reasons mentioned in the above section, there are some signs and symptoms that you have to look out for. Listed below are some of the causes behind dog vomiting

  • Ingestion of irritating substances 
  • Toxins or poisons
  • Pancreatitis in dogs
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Diet change
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Viral infection
  • Medical reaction
  • Bloat
  • Bacterial infection
  • Heat 

When you’re keeping an eye out for other symptoms, also consider the following: 

  • Frequency 
  • Time of day
  • Brand and type of normal food
  • Time since last meal and/or treats
  • Changes in appetite

When should I take my dog to the veterinarian?

broken dog tail
Image From Justin Veenema

If the following symptoms go together with dog vomiting, you should consider taking them to the veterinarian:

  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Anemia
  • Blood
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Seizures

Dog vomiting is not something that us dog parents should take lightly. Let’s keep an eye out for more symptoms that may persist to ensure their safety. Remember, when in doubt, always seek help from your veterinarian! 


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