No one likes to see their dog vomiting. It can be even more concerning when the vomit is a strange color.
Ever heard of dogs puking a rainbow?
While it may sound trivial, having a chart to check your dog’s vomit color can be incredibly helpful.
It is sensible to take a closer look at your dog’s vomit. While this may sound a bit ‘yuck’ it should shed some light on the cause of the vomiting.
Apart from color, pay attention to things like consistency and content.
Vomit puddles range from white and foamy to dark and tar-like and most colors in between.
Take a closer look when you can. If possible, take a photo so you can show your vet.
Let’s dive deeper into the world of dog vomit colors.
What Does the Color of Dog Vomit Mean?
In some cases, the color of your dog’s vomit can help us determine why they are unwell. However, this is not always the case.
We cannot say for sure that a certain color of vomit equals a certain disease. However, it’s still helpful to assess vomit color as it may provide clues.
Your dog’s vomit may be an indication of issues related to the diet such as greasy food, allergies, regurgitation, or plainly foreign objects. More serious issues include parasites, pancreatitis, toxins, or a liver/kidney disease.
For all of these diseases there are color and consistency patterns that often go hand in hand.
Figuring out the exact cause of your dog’s vomiting is key.
So which causes can the vomit color actually help identifying?
Great question! There is a wide range of possible causes for vomiting, some more serious than others.
When your dog has vomited, we need to monitor them closely for the next few days.
Vomiting may occur on its own. For many though, vomiting will be one of several symptoms they experience.
Alongside vomiting, your dog may also experience e.g. lethargy, diarrhea or a tense abdomen.
Some of the most common reasons your dog may be vomiting would include:
- Viral or bacterial gastroenteritis
- Dietary indiscretion/trash can disease (when a dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have such as greasy food)
- A gut obstruction (can occur after eating something indigestible or when there is an intestinal mass or intussusception)
- Toxin ingestion
- Liver or kidney disease
- Travel sickness
- Stress-induced vomiting
- Bilious vomiting syndrome
A one-off vomit in an otherwise well dog is rarely a concern however ongoing vomiting should be investigated.
Have your dog checked over by their vet, who may decide on running some further tests.
As well as a physical exam, a blood test and some diagnostic imaging can help provide a diagnosis.
Treatment of vomiting will be dependent on what is going on. For many, conventional methods like anti-nausea injections and antacids can prove useful. We’ll go over natural remedies below.
When vomiting causes dehydration or abnormal salt levels, your furry friend may need to be hospitalized on an intravenous fluid drip.
Types of Dog Vomit
Dog vomit can come in many shapes and forms, it’s important to differentiate between these:
- Saliva and foam
- Digested food
- Undigested food
- Undigested blood
- Digested blood
Let’s see which colors come with the aforementioned types of vomit.
Dog Vomit Color Guide
Here’s a simple dog vomit color chart to help you determine the possible causes why your pooch is throwing up.
Brown Dog Vomit Smells Like Poop
If your dog is bringing up vomit that could be mistaken for poop, this is a red flag. If you have not seen your dog vomit, you may be unsure where the pool of liquid came from.
Try to monitor your dog closely and consider setting up a dog camera.
Yep, you’ve guessed it. Unless the brown vomit indicates a blockage, it can be seen after your dog has eaten feces. This is known as coprophagia.
Your dog may have eaten their own or another animal’s poop. For some, this causes a stomach upset and vomiting.
We can also see this type of vomiting when there is a blockage in the gut. Food cannot move along the gastrointestinal tract and is eventually brought back up.
As it has been partially digested and may have been sitting in the gut for a while, it can smell rancid.
Dog Vomiting Yellow Liquid
Bile vomiting sometimes happens after grass has been eaten.
Yellow liquid is most often bile which is a digestive fluid made in the liver to break fats down into smaller fatty acids.
If your dog has regular yellow bile vomiting, consider ‘Bilious vomiting syndrome’ which is a chronic condition that can cause regular bile vomiting.
Lifestyle changes such as more regular feeding can help.
A study found that altering feeding patterns and therapy such as gastro-protectants improved symptoms in 70% of dogs according to the JAAHA (Journal of American Animal Hospital Association).
Bright Red Vomit
Bright red vomit is a true emergency, especially if there is a lot of it. Try to stay calm and get your dog to your nearest vet ASAP.
Bleeding that originates in the mouth, food pipe and stomach can all lead to red vomit.
Possible causes of red vomit would include clotting disorders, Haemorrhagic Gastroenteritis and stomach ulcers.
In this study, the affected Labrador puppy had overdosed on Vitamin D.
Some dogs may become anemic and develop pale gums. With a large amount of blood loss, a dog can develop circulatory shock.
Blood transfusions and intravenous fluids are sometimes be required.
White liquid vomit is generally seen when there is not much food in your dog’s stomach. The liquid is usually saliva mixed with a small amount of food and/or bile.
This type of vomit can occur during travel sickness. This is because dogs drool and froth a lot due to the stress.
Your dog’s throwing up saliva and/or white foam?
It’s common for dogs to bring up small puddles of foamy liquid. This occurs when their stomach is completely empty.
As a dog doesn’t generally feel like eating when nauseous, it makes sense that this type of vomit is regularly seen.
How significant this type of vomit is depends on how your dog is acting.
If they bring up a small saliva vomit and then go about their day as normal, we have little reason to be concerned.
However, if they have other signs such as runt stool or a bloated abdomen, it is important they are assessed.
Recommended Reading: Dog throwing up white foam
Black vomit with ‘coffee granules‘
Dark black vomit is an indication of internal bleeding further down the gut.
When there is bleeding within the digestive system, the body digests the blood and it turns a dark color.
Possible causes for black dog vomit would include intestinal obstructions and toxin ingestion.
Green liquid is not uncommon as it can be brought up after a dog has been eating grass. Dogs eat grass for lots of reasons including to settle nausea.
Some dogs like the taste of grass, especially in the Spring months when it is at its sweetest.
Importantly, sometimes bile can create green vomit. If you haven’t seen your dog eating grass and their vomiting is green, this would be the next most likely contender.
Bile is usually vomited when a dog has an empty stomach.
Undigested Food or ‘Chunky Vomit’
Undigested food is typically regurgitated rather than vomited. It is important to distinguish these processes from each other.
Regurgitation is when food is brought back without it being digested. It looks pretty much the same as when it went in.
It may be in a tube shape due to it being compressed within the food pipe. Regurgitation will usually happen right after eating.
Possible causes of regurgitation include megaoesophagus or a persistent right aortic arch.
Vomiting is when a dog feels nauseous and gets sick. As a result, they may drool excessively and act unwell.
When the food is expelled there are forceful abdominal contractions which are visible.
When Should You Be Concerned About Your Dog Throwing Up?
For some canine critters, throwing up is an infrequent occurrence that doesn’t throw them off their stride.
For others, vomiting can be a sign of something sinister.
You should start worrying if a dog is vomiting regularly or if they have additional signs such as:
- Reduced appetite
- A bloated or tense abdomen
- Dry gums
- Fast breathing
If in doubt, have your pooch examined.
How to Soothe Your Dog’s Stomach
Mild cases of vomiting can be treated at home with a little TLC.
It is best to stop feeding any treats or chews and to keep your dog’s diet nice and simple. You can buy prescription sensitivity diets or become your dog’s personal chef for a day or two.
Feed meals little and often and never limit water intake.
Food such as boiled white skinless chicken, white fish, rice and potato tends to be well tolerated.
Some worry about feeding grains such as rice but most dogs tolerate them well. Check my article for more information about rice feeding.
Starting a course of probiotics is also a sensible step. Probiotics are ‘good bacteria’ which help support a robust gut microbiome.
This can speed up the recovery in cases of gastroenteritis. Long-term, giving probiotics can also strengthen the immune system and prevent infections.
Have a look around your home and garden to ensure there is nothing Fido has been getting to.
An open trash can or nibbled house plant could be the reason for your dog’s upset stomach.
Dogs of all ages can be infected with parasitic worms, though these are more common in puppies.
Make sure you get all cases of scary-looking or persistent cases of vomit checked out by a vet.