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Pug looking at vomit on kitchen floor

The essentials

  • There are plenty of possible reasons for dog vomit — Dog vomiting can be caused by a simple GI upset or something more serious, like a viral infection, disease, or poisoning.
  • One-off instances of vomiting usually aren’t cause for concern — However, you should take your dog to the vet if they’re vomiting multiple times in one day, or for more than one day in a row.
  • A bland diet can help — Feeding your dog boiled chicken and white rice or sweet potato can soothe a dog’s upset stomach.

While dogs vomit for many reasons and it’s not always something to be worried about, frequent vomiting in dogs can be an indicator of a serious health problem.

We’ll cover the causes of dog vomiting, the different types of dog vomit, and signs that it’s time to take your furry friend to the vet.

Dog vomiting vs. regurgitation

Dog vomiting and regurgitation are two different things — and it’s important to know the difference.

Dog vomiting. Vomiting is an active practice, and it happens when a dog forcefully ejects what’s in their stomach and upper intestine. Vomit typically contains yellow bile and some partially digested food contents or chunks, and usually smells sour or off-putting.

Some of the most common indicators a dog is about to vomit are drooling , licking of the lips, and excessive swallowing.

Regurgitation. Regurgitation, on the other hand, is a passive process. It’s a mild ejection of undigested food from the dog’s esophagus that never actually made it to the stomach. Regurgitation can happen when a dog gets excited or stressed out, and doesn’t involve abdominal heaving like vomiting does. It’s typically only something to be concerned about if it’s happening regularly.

Dog vomiting: When to worry

Vomiting in dogs can be normal at times. For example: A dog might need to rid their GI tract of something harmful or unwanted. However, you should also seek veterinary care if your dog is vomiting multiple times in one day, for more than one day in a row, or if the vomiting is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite. If Fido no longer wishes to eat, this should be cause for concern.
  • Changes in urination. Regular and constant urination.
  • Changes in hydration habits. If your dog starts drinking excess water or not enough.
  • Blood in vomit or stool. Keep an eye on the color and consistency of your dog’s stool.
  • Unusual or severe lethargy. If your dog is excessively or unusually tired.
  • Diarrhea. If your dog is regularly experiencing loose stool or runny diarrhea.
  • Lapses in consciousness. A reduction of alertness or responsiveness to external stimuli.
  • Pale or white gums. Check your dog’s gums to determine their color and health.
  • Abdominal pain. This can be shown by hunching, panting, whining, or pawing in your pet.
  • Weight loss. Noticeable weight loss in your pet.

20 common causes of vomiting in dogs

There are plenty of reasons your pet might vomit. Here are some of the most common issues (and fixes) to consider for your pup.

1. Eating too fast

Dogs love meals. However, some get too excited, eating quickly and inducing vomiting as a result. This is usually a one-off thing, although some dogs may do it often. You can take steps to reduce this behavior by using puzzle feeders to help slow your pup down at meal times.

2. Eating grass

Most dogs love munching on grass occasionally, and it’s not usually something to be concerned about. However, eating too much grass can irritate a dog’s stomach lining, causing them to throw up. Pet parents will usually be able to tell if this is the cause because you’ll see green chunks or chewed-up blades of grass in the vomit.

If you see Fido trying to snack on grass, do your best to stop them and give them a dog-safe treat to chew on. If your dog repeatedly tries to eat grass you may need to switch them to a higher fiber diet.

3. Changing food

Most dogs are very sensitive to diet changes. If you change up Fido’s food too suddenly, it can result in vomiting. If you’re going to switch up your dog’s diet,  introduce the new food gradually by mixing it with their current food over a 1- to 2-week period.

4. Eating things they shouldn’t

Vomiting is a dog’s body’s way of protecting them from toxins, so it’s common for dogs to throw up after they eat something they shouldn’t. Examples include toys, garbage, table scraps, outdoor “stuff,” sticks, bones, or other inedible substances.

5. Dog bloat

Dogs get bloated just like humans do. An air-filled stomach can cause dogs to become nauseous and vomit to give their stomach some relief.

6. Motion sickness

Dogs can experience motion sickness, which can lead to vomiting. Car rides and airplane trips are the biggest culprits behind motion sickness in dogs — but thankfully, vomiting from this can typically be avoided with the right intervention.

7. Food sensitivities and allergies

Dogs can experience food sensitivities and allergies in response to certain types of foods or proteins. In addition to itchy skin, dogs with a food allergy or sensitivity may experience vomiting and other digestive issues.

8. Intestinal parasites

If vomiting is accompanied by other symptoms, it may be a sign they have worms or another intestinal parasite:

  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Low energy
  • Itching or scratching
  • Coughing
  • Scooting their butt on the ground

These symptoms in addition to vomiting and worms in feces are most common in puppies.

9. Viral infections

Viral infections like distemper or canine parvo are common infections that often lead to vomiting in dogs. Usually, this type of vomiting comes on suddenly, and it can be severe.

Additionally, if your dog experiences vomiting in combination with a fever, loss of energy, loss of appetite, bloody diarrhea, or bloating, this is likely an indicator of a viral infection.

10. Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis occurs when a dog’s pancreas becomes inflamed. This can lead to vomiting, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, and reduced appetite, as the pancreas plays a vital role in digestion.

11. Heat stroke

Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that can lead to vomiting in dogs. If your dog is experiencing vomiting in addition to other heat stroke symptoms like excessive panting, inability to stand up, dry nose, and lethargy, seek immediate veterinary care.

If you suspect your dog has heat stroke, do your best to cool them down while you get them to a vet. Get your dog in an air-conditioned area, pour cool water (not cold to avoid shock) over your dog’s body, and encourage them to drink small amounts of cool water.

12. Inflammatory bowel disease

Dogs can develop inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like humans can, leading to inflammation and sensitivity in the digestive tract. The condition can also lead to chronic vomiting.

13. Ingesting poison

Rat poison, antifreeze, and pesticides are all lethal poisons to dogs and may cause vomiting if ingested. Household drugs like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin are all highly toxic (and in some cases, lethal) to dogs and can cause a dog to start vomiting shortly after ingested.

14. Fever

Dogs can develop a fever for several reasons. One of the most common signs your dog’s temperature might be running high is frequent vomiting.

15. Liver disease

Although this is a less common cause of vomiting, liver disease can also be a cause of a dog throwing up. Other signs to look out for (in addition to vomiting) that could indicate liver disease include:

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Lack of energy
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Excess thirst and urinating

16. Stroke

Vomiting on its own doesn’t indicate that a dog has had a stroke. However, if a dog has a stroke and develops balance issues as a result, they may vomit due to nausea.

17. Addison’s disease

Although a less common cause of vomiting in dogs, Addison’s disease can be a reason a dog throws up. Addison’s disease occurs when a dog’s adrenal glands aren’t working as they should.

As a result, the dog doesn’t produce enough of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. Other signs to look out for that might indicate Addison’s disease are diarrhea, loss of appetite, increased thirst, weight loss, and lack of energy.

18. Kidney failure

Some of the most common signs a dog has developed kidney disease are increased thirst and urination. But, as the disease progresses to kidney failure, dogs may also experience vomiting as one of the symptoms

19. Stress, excessive excitement, or anxiety

While anxiety or stress-induced vomiting isn’t as serious as some of the other causes on this list, it can be a culprit. Muscles can tense or heart rate can accelerate and the body reacts to the unusual feelings

20. Bug bites

Bug bites in dogs are one of the lesser-known but still common causes of vomiting. A dog will usually throw up from bug bites if they’re having some kind of allergic reaction to a tick bite, ant bite, bee sting, etc.

👉 In any case, if vomiting persists regularly, it’s important to have your dog seen by a vet to determine possible underlying causes.

What does the color of dog vomit mean?

We know it’s gross to look at, but the color of your dog’s vomit can provide some clarity on what could be going on inside their body or whether there’s an underlying issue to be concerned about.

That being said, any of the conditions we mentioned above can cause vomit to be any number of colors, so you can’t rely on color as the only gauge of what could be going on.

Clear mucus

Clear vomit generally consists of saliva or water and may include a foamy substance. In most circumstances, the dog may have drunk too much water or drank too quickly. Your pup also could have eaten something clear that couldn’t be digested.

Dogs with post-nasal drip from an upper respiratory infection or have kennel cough may also vomit clear mucus.

White (white foam)

The most common cause for vomiting white foam in dogs is due to post-nasal drip from an upper respiratory infection.

Typically this is foam or excess saliva — which could be nothing, or it could be gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV or bloat), a serious medical emergency condition. Bloat is rapidly progressive and life-threatening, owners need to head to an emergency vet immediately.

On a less serious side, it could also be caused by gastritis or bilious vomiting syndrome. It usually includes bits of grass, especially if your dog hasn’t eaten in a while. They could vomit two or three times, but otherwise, be normal.


Vomit that’s yellow or green usually contains bile, a substance that is produced by the liver and that assists with the digestive process. Sometimes dogs will occasionally vomit bile if they go too long without eating or if they are vomiting on an empty stomach.

Bright green or teal

Your dog may have eaten rodent poison and you need to call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately.

Bright red

Bright-red vomit indicates that your dog is vomiting blood. This can be a signal of gastrointestinal diseases, inflammation of the stomach (gastroenteritis), a traumatic injury, or ingestion of poisons. A small amount of blood isn’t usually an emergency, but you should still make your vet aware.

Dark red, brown, or black

Dark-red, dark-brown, black vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds can mean your dog is vomiting digested blood, which changes the color from bright red to dark.

🚨 If your dog is vomiting like this, it can be a sign of stomach ulcers, an intestinal blockage, or another serious condition and they should be seen by a vet.

Light to dark brown

Brown vomit can be anything from chocolate ingestion, mud or dirt ingestion, intestinal blockage, or even poop ingestion. Chocolate and an intestinal blockage are emergencies and should be seen by a vet immediately.

If your dog has eaten mud or dirt, it’s typically not an emergency. Coprophagia, or poop-eating, isn’t a

Diagnosing and treating dog vomiting

If you are concerned that your dog is not suffering from a one-off episode of vomiting it’s important to get them to the vet immediately.

When you take your pup to the vet, they’ll start with taking the basics into account like age, any other clinical signs, current physical condition, and their past medical history. To further diagnose the cause of vomiting, they’ll likely conduct some extensive testing like X-rays, blood tests, or ultrasound scans.

There are a wide variety of vet treatments for dog vomiting as these will depend on the root cause.

Vomiting is commonly caused by an inflammation in the stomach. In this case, one of the most common treatments a vet will prescribe or recommend is to feed your dog a bland diet (typically boiled chicken or white fish and white rice or sweet potato), alongside some anti-nausea medication.

If the root cause of vomiting is dehydration, your vet will likely administer intravenous fluids to help get your pup hydrated and feeling better again.

If the vomiting is caused by something extremely serious (like an intestinal blockage from swallowing a toy), your dog may need surgery and a vet stay for them to address the problem and administer frequent medication. Other serious conditions like poisoning or other medical issues may also require an extended stay with the vet.

Settling a dog’s upset stomach at home 🏠

Here are a few ways to help your pup’s tummy:

  • Bland diet. Feeding a “blah” diet to your dog makes it easier for them to digest a meal when they have an upset stomach. The most common recipe is 2 cups of cooked white rice mixed with 1 cup of plain, boneless chicken breast, but there are plenty of other options for starches and proteins.

👉 This should be a temporary solution to help your pup’s stomach, it’s important to note that this isn’t a balanced diet for your dog in the long term. 

  • Dietary changes. Give your dog’s stomach a break and have them skip a meal or two while their GI tract heals. They can fast for 24 hours without issue and it could help your pup’s stomach recover more quickly.
  • Hydration. Wetting your dog’s food or giving them small amounts of bone broth is an easy way to keep your pup hydrated. It’s also good to bring water with you if you travel and to keep your dog’s bowl clean to encourage them to keep drinking. Ice cubes are another good way to hydrate without flooding their stomach with too much water at one time, which could potentially make them feel worse.
  • Canned Pumpkin. Pumpkin is an excellent remedy for upset stomachs. It has a low glycemic index (meaning it’s absorbed slowly by the body) which can be soothing to the GI tract. Just make sure it’s 100% pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling, which contains a lot of sugar and spices. You can ask your vet for guidelines on how much pumpkin you should give based on your dog.
  • Pepto-Bismol. Pepto-Bismol might help with your dog’s upset stomach and diarrhea, but negative side effects can potentially occur. For this reason, Pepto-Bismol should only be given under a veterinarian’s recommendation.  epto-Bismol’s active ingredient, bismuth subsalicylate, can turn your dog’s stool black, which mimics melena (digested blood in the stool) and can cause more concern.

How to prevent dogs from having an upset stomach

There are a few ways to help prevent your dog from acute vomiting, such as:

Avoid dietary changes — Changes to your dog’s diet, whether it’s new treats,  a new kibble, or scraps from the table, can greatly affect your dog’s stomach and are commonly the culprit behind a dog’s vomiting.

Avoid dangerous substances — Dogs are notorious for getting into things they shouldn’t. Common household chemicals can be toxic for pets, such as household cleaners, antifreeze, and rodent poisons. Some plants can also be dangerous — it’s always smart to check that any houseplants or garden plants within your dog’s reach are safe and non-toxic.

Avoid indigestible items — Along with dangerous or toxic substances, dogs are known for eating items that their GI tracts can’t digest. Squeaky toys, plastic balls, bones, rawhides, sticks, food wrappers, rocks, socks, underwear, string/yarn/ribbon, and more can all cause intestinal issues and result in vomiting.

👉 Never give your pup rawhides — here are 7 of the best ones that are safe and healthy.

Dog vomiting has such a wide range of possible causes, some aren’t to worry about while others can be life-threatening or even fatal. If your dog is vomiting keep a close eye on them, how frequently the vomiting is happening, and if they might have ingested anything foreign.

If you’re ever uncertain, it’s always a good idea to consult a vet for their expert opinion and rule out anything serious.

Frequently asked questions

When should you be concerned about a dog throwing up?

If dog vomiting is a one-off incident, it’s usually nothing to be concerned about. However, you should also seek veterinary care if your dog is vomiting multiple times in one day, for more than one day in a row, or it shows the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Change in frequency of urination
  • Change in thirst
  • Blood in vomit or stool
  • Unusual or severe lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Collapse
  • Pale or white gums
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss

What can I give my dog for vomiting?

If you suspect your dog is experiencing a minor GI upset or inflammation of the bowels you can try feeding them a bland diet. Boiled chicken or white fish and white rice, pumpkin, or sweet potato can help ease your dog’s stomach if the source of vomiting isn’t something serious.

How many times should a dog throw up before going to the vet?

If your dog is vomiting multiple times in one day or has been vomiting for more than one day in a row, it’s time to take them to the vet immediately.

What are the common causes of dog vomiting?

The causes of dog vomiting are many and varied. Less serious causes of vomiting in dogs can be from eating too fast, eating grass, anxiety, motion sickness, food sensitivities, or bug bits. More serious causes (and ones that require veterinary attention) include viral diseases, parasites, heat stroke, pancreatitis, liver disease, poisoning, kidney failure, and Addison’s disease.

How can I tell if my dog’s vomiting is serious?

The frequency of vomiting and the color of your dog’s throw-up are two indicators of how serious dog vomiting is. White, yellow, or clear throw-up are less cause for concern, whereas colors like red, black, bright green, or teal are dangerous colors and require immediate veterinary attention.