Your dog may be vomiting mucus for a variety of reasons. It’s important to know what caused your dog to vomit so that you can understand the best course of action. Vomiting, regurgitation and coughing up an expectorant are all roughly considered the same thing. They are, however, very different bodily responses with different causes. If you call the veterinarian’s office they are likely to ask you about frequency, color and consistency. Open communication and mutual respect are important in any vet client relationship.
Different antecedents will cause different reactions. Sometimes no further action is needed other than some sympathy or a little rest and relaxation. Other times your dog may be vomiting mucus or coughing up liquids and mucus as a symptom of a more severe problem.
Dog Vomiting Mucus – Regurgitation
- Dog Vomiting Mucus – Regurgitation
- When Is Vomiting More Serious?
- Dog vomiting Mucus – Types of Vomit
- Yellow Vomit
- White Foam Vomit
- Granular Vomit
- Grass Green Vomit
- Fluid Vomit
- When It’s Kennel Cough
- Treatment and Control
- Change of Diet
- Some Drugs That Your Vet May Prescribe For Vomiting and Related Issues
- Take Away
Dog vomiting is vastly different from regurgitation. When an animal is regurgitating the physical process is much easier. Their bodies don’t move or work in order to expel the contents.
With regurgitation they basically just drop their head and expel food. This happens typically soon after eating.
The undigested food or liquid is expelled in a tube-like formation from the esophagus and possibly the stomach
Remember that regurgitation is a normal way that many species, especially birds feed their infant children.
Coughing is noticeably different from vomiting by what part of the body is moving. With coughing the chest and rib cage will be moving.
Coughing is the bodies way to remove mucus or fluids from the lungs.
Vomiting is caused by a feeling of nausea that signals the brain and triggers the body to expel the contents of the stomach. It is the body’s way of removing a possible dangerous substance.
Pre-vomiting, saliva collects in the mouth and the dog may swallow repeatedly or drool. The dog’s body will clench and tighten around the abdominal region as they work to move the food from the abdomen to the mouth.
We often hear this called heaving because it’s the reflexive and forceful expulsion of material from the digestive system. Your vet may say you can recognize vomiting because it is an active process.
Vomiting is often caused by digestive distress. The dog may have eaten something that did not agree with them, eaten too quickly, or ingested a foreign object such as a toy. This sporadic vomiting is not cause for alarm.
Remove the food if they were eating, make available some fresh cool water, and give them some time to relax and rest. After resting for at least twelve hours and behaving normally your pet can then resume regular activities.
When Is Vomiting More Serious?
Dog vomiting can also be linked to more serious problems such as diabetes, bacterial infection or kidney failure.
Examine the dog’s vomit for mucus, blood or excess fluids. This will give you a clue to what interventions may be necessary.
Dog vomiting Mucus – Types of Vomit
The contents that are expressed may contain bile. Dog vomit containing bile may be yellow foamy liquid or a thicker, yellow mucus. It becomes foamy if it has been churning around in the stomach for a while.
This yellow or orange bile is a liquid that is produced in the liver. The bile is then stored in the gall bladder. Bile is released into the stomach when the dog eats and helps to break down fatty foods.
Bile can cause several kinds of vomiting. If the dog has an empty stomach it may fill with bile which can cause nausea.
Veterinarians refer to this as bilious vomiting syndrome. It is caused when bile leaks into the stomach from the small intestine.
This type of vomiting is not necessarily a call to panic. Give your dog some fresh clean water and allow them to rest. If the dog recovers, then all is well. If the dog continues to vomit or dry heave then call your vet.
You may consider changing the dogs eating schedule.
If you normally feed your dog once per day than you should start feeding them twice per day. This will keep more food in the digestive track and reduce the incidence of bile collecting in the stomach. Also, a diet low in fat and high in fiber will be easier for the dog to digest.
Yellow vomit may also be a symptom of pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas and is not uncommon in dogs. In addition to vomiting your dog may also experience diarrhea and extreme abdominal pain.
Pancreatitis can be acute or chronic and range from mild to severe symptoms. There is a pattern of genetic weakness in several breeds including Miniature Schnauzers, Spaniels, Dachshunds and Poodles.
Any dog with pancreatitis should visit the veterinarian for monitoring. Supportive care may include diet changes, fluids, and control of nausea and vomiting.
White Foam Vomit
Sometimes your pet will throw up a white frothy looking substance. This is a mix of saliva and gastric liquids. When the dog’s stomach is empty these things may be all that’s left to vomit.
This is primarily caused by intestinal distress. Your dog may have previously thrown up the contents of the stomach so there is no food matter left.
White foam vomit can also be caused by an empty stomach which fills with acidic gastric liquids. This causes irritation and vomiting.
One answer to this is to feed your dog smaller multiple meals. If you just feed once a day try feeding half that amount twice per day. That way the stomach has food in its system for a greater amount of time and doesn’t fill with fluids.
Partially digested food may look granular when it is vomited. This is typically food or foreign body related however, look closely. The granules may be indicative of blood in the abdomen.
Digested blood has the consistency of coffee grounds and is typically has a dark red to black coloring.
Granular vomit may be a symptom of an ulcer. Your dog’s body has a gastric mucus barrier that protects the organs from the gastric fluids. Gastric fluids are very acidic and have a pH of ~2. Gastric fluids in the wrong place can actually eat away at tissues causing pain and infection.
Therefore, when you have heartburn you characteristically have a burning sensation because acid is being pushed up the esophagus.
An ulcer occurs when that barrier is compromised. To compensate the body starts to produce excess mucus. The acid and the mucus irritate the stomach lining causing nausea.
An ulcer can lead to internal bleeding and the dog should be seen quickly by the vet. Your vet will preform a biochemistry profile to confirm an ulcer versus a possible intestinal infection.
Supportive treatment will include switching to a mild diet, fluids, and medication. Antiulcerative therapy needs to continue for six to eight weeks. Medication may include drugs that decrease acid secretions to help promote healing.
Your vet may also prescribe gastric cytoprotective agents such as antacids to help neutralize the stomach and protect the lining and related tissues. Antibiotics may be prescribed if the vet feels an infection is occurring in the intestinal wall.
Grass Green Vomit
Your dog may eat grass which causes the vomit to be greenish in color. This vomit may also have yellow bile mucus or fluids mixed in with the partially digested grass.
Dogs eat grass for a variety of reasons. They may eat grass to add fiber to assist with digestion. It may also be a sign that they are not getting enough nutrients. Sometimes dogs just eat grass because they are dogs.
Keep in mind that dogs are actually omnivores and not true carnivores. You dog will benefit from having a do
g food that contains vegetables. Carrots and broccoli make a great snack for dogs. You can also add cooked sweet potatoes and pumpkin to their food. Both are high in nutrients and fiber as well good for the digestive system.
When a dog vomits clear or colored fluids that is typically an indicator of a medical problem. Basically, something other than food is irritating the digestive track. This may be related to kidney, liver, or pancreas disease.
When It’s Kennel Cough
Your dog may expel material from their mouth when they are coughing. This is not the same as vomiting but needs to be observed.
Kennel cough or infectious tracheobronchitis is an infection of the upper airways in the lungs. It can be quite severe in young, elderly, or immune compromised dogs. It is a virus spread through infected air particulates.
The dog develops a dry hacking cough which is often accompanied with retching and gagging. A white foam or liquid coming from a dog’s mouth is often mistaken for vomit. This may not be so. This is one of the key indicators of kennel cough.
Treatment involves isolation from other dogs and medicine. Your vet will likely prescribe a cough suppressant with codeine such as hydrocodone.
There is a vaccine for kennel cough. Your dog should receive this annual vaccine if you travel and use a boarding facility. In addition, most vet’s advice you to get this vaccine if you frequent dog parks with your dog.
Treatment and Control
So any one of these types of vomit may indicate a trip to the vet. Let’s look at what your vet may prescribe or do.
Change of Diet
Often if the dog is experiencing vomiting several times in a week then there is something irregular going on in their body. You might think if you have had any changes in diet or given your dog any new treats.
Giving your dog fat scraps from the table is not a good idea.
The primary goal of a treatment plan is to identify and treat the underlying reason the animal is vomiting.
Your vet will use that information along with a complete physical to help narrow down the possibilities. It may be necessary to do blood work. Blood work tells us many things including an elevated white blood cell count which may mean infection.
A dog who has been vomiting frequently will be given Intravenous (IV) or subcutaneous (SC) fluids to replace the fluids they have expelled. IV and SC fluids work much faster than just having the dog drink from a dish.
Antiemetics will help stop the feelings of nausea and make the dog feel better. However, they can also cover up some of the symptoms. It is important to correlate the ceasing of vomiting with treating the problem. IE: the dog was dehydrated and receiving a liter of fluids helped to put the body back in balance.
Some Drugs That Your Vet May Prescribe For Vomiting and Related Issues
Phenothiazine tranquilizers help to decrease vomiting caused by several illnesses. They have an antihistaminic and anticholinergic effect. Dogs on these drugs should be monitored as they are strong medicines and can have some side affects such as making the dog overly sleepy or even causing seizures.
NK-1 receptor antagonist maropitant are a newer drug that has shown positive results. It is often used in animals with cancer has been instrumental in in stopping vomiting after treatments.
Metoclopramide under the brand name Reglan is a common drug used for acid reflux.
Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid which is used in a variety of treatments and offers relief from vomiting, colitis, and inflammation.
Baytril is an antibiotic popular for use with digestive disorders.
Vomiting is going to happen. Remember to stay calm and observe your pet. If it seems serious or you have any questions, then don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian.
vetmed.wsu.edu: Pet Health Topics: Vomiting
petmd.com: Acute Vomiting in Dogs
petmd.com: Bilious Vomiting in Dogs
Vetstreet.com: Why Does my Dog Vomit Yellow Foam?