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What is Vomiting Brown Liquid?

Although vomiting is a common symptom of many illnesses, it should not be overlooked. In some cases, your dog can simply be vomiting because they ate something inappropriate. Vomiting brown liquid, however, can be an indication that something more serious is wrong. Here are some of the more common causes of your dog vomiting brown liquid:

  • Bleeding ulcers
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Something they ate
  • Other sources of bleeding (such as tumor or gum disease)

Some of the causes of throwing up a brown colored liquid are more serious than others. For example, bleeding ulcers and intestinal blockages should be treated right away. If your dog is bringing up brown liquid due to something that they ate or because of a source of bleeding, the seriousness of it will depend on what they ingested or how much and where they are bleeding.

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Why Vomiting Brown Liquid Occurs in Dogs

Brown vomit can have a range of causes and can happen to any dog. Although it may be alarming to discover your dog expelling brown liquid, in most cases the dog can recover with no permanent side effects, as long as they receive the proper treatment.

Bleeding Ulcers

If your dog develops an ulcer and it begins to bleed, it could cause them to vomit. If the ulcers are located in the upper intestine or stomach wall, the vomit could turn a brown color since the blood would be digested by stomach acid. In some cases, tarry, black stools are another sign of bleeding ulcers. Ulcers can be caused by your dog ingesting aspirin or other types of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs. 

Others things that can begin the development of ulcers is stress, shock, ingestion of foreign objects or toxic substances, cancer, allergies, bacterial or viral infections, liver and kidney disease or failure, pancreatitis, mast cell tumors and intervertebral disk disease. Signs of stomach ulcers are severe vomiting, blood loss and dehydration.

Intestinal Blockage

A blockage in the intestines can also lead to the throwing up of brown liquid. Intestines can become blocked due to the ingestion of an object that cannot pass through. Some common objects found in dog’s stomachs are coins, bones, buttons, socks and underwear, toys, and marbles. Symptoms can be different depending on the location of the blockage. Signs that are often observed include vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and difficulty defecating. In the case of a total blockage, the vomit will be accompanied by a fetid smell. A foul smell can also accompany a dark brown vomiting if your dog has ingested feces. Blockages can develop from the digestion of bone, rawhide or a growth in the abdomen. Items will move through the gastrointestinal tract in around 10 to 24 hours, and signs of a blockage will occur within 24 hours after ingestion. 

The exact timing will vary depending on how early or late in the system that the item gets stuck. If the item gets lodged in the esophagus, your pet will begin to show signs fairly quickly. They will lick their lips, swallow often and regurgitate soon after eating. The vomit may emerge in a tubular shape and can contain pieces of kibble. They can also suffer from dehydration since they cannot eat or drink properly. This can be dangerous for the dog as they are unable to keep down their food. If located in the stomach, the pylorus will often get blocked which can keep food from passing through the intestinal tract, and therefore your dog will most likely vomit within a few hours of eating. 

Large and smooth items are the most common to create blockages in the stomach. When objects get past the pylorus but get stuck in the bends of the small intestine, it can cause gas to accumulate. This can lead to the intestine getting distended, and eventually the blood supply can get cut off. Tissues can die, and the dog will begin heaving right after being fed, experience abdominal pain, fever, shock and a distended intestine. This can cause death if not dealt with. Blockages located farther through the system will often have signs including diarrhea, and vomiting will happen 7 to 8 hours after eating.

Something They Ate

Sometimes, the reason for your dog to vomit brown liquid is something as simple as the fact that they have ingested something that was brown in color. Since vomit will usually take on the color of what your dog ate, if they have ingested chocolate, dirt or feces, it can cause brown vomit. Some other foods that are not that color can still cause brown vomit after being ingested.

Other Sources of Bleeding

This can include bleeding in the digestive tract which can be caused by a bleeding tumor in the upper small intestine or stomach, blood coming from a gum or tooth diseases as well as a blood clotting disorder. If your dog ingests rat poison it can also cause them to eject blood and have black stools. There can be secondary bleeding if your dog ingests blood from the mouth, lungs or licks it up from other wounds or nosebleeds. The dog may then expel the ingested blood, which can come out as a black or brownish color. 

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is a disease that can lead to your dog throwing up digested blood. Hemorrhages are serious as they can lead to low blood pressure, anemia and sometimes death, so it is, therefore, important to visit the vet. A warning sign of excessive blood loss is pale gums. If you notice lethargy, weakness, pale gums and excessive loss of blood, they can be warning signs of something serious and should be checked out immediately.

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What to do if your Dog is Vomiting Brown Liquid

Stomach ulcers can usually be easily managed medically, but if they have perforated the walls of the stomach your dog may require hospitalization and surgery. If the stomach ulcers are severe, even if they have not yet perforated the stomach wall, your dog may also be in need of hospitalized care as well as blood transfusions, intravenous fluid replacement therapies, and nutritional and electrolytic support. Other types of treatments include supportive care, modifications to their diet and lifestyle, as well as medication. It can be helpful to give antibiotics, painkillers and medication for vomiting. But be cautious, as some medications like NSAIDs and corticosteroids can actually contribute to ulcers. 

Foods that are highly digestible can aid in reducing irritation and inflammation of the digestive tract. The best way is to feed your dog small meals several times throughout the day. Your pet should always have access to water, unless recommended otherwise by your veterinarian. Blockages should ideally be treated quickly, as if they are left untreated, a dog with a blockage can face fatal complications. For example, peritonitis and perforation of the bowels can occur. If brought to the vet soon after the blockage occurs, you can avoid surgery and the blockage may be able to be removed via endoscopy. If death of the tissue, called necrosis, occurs, affected parts of the intestine will need to be removed along with the object.

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Prevention of Vomiting Brown Liquid

The best way to prevent intestinal blockage is to monitor your pet, and take action quickly if you notice them eating something that they should not. Do not let your dog have rawhide, cooked bones, toys and objects that are unsafe. Only allow your dog to have toys that are bigger than their throat, as they will be impossible to swallow. Since it can often contribute to stomach irritation, try to eliminate stress, such as loud noises, from your dog’s environment.

If you notice that your dog has swallowed something, your vet may suggest induced vomiting in a potential way to prevent a blockage from forming. It can be beneficial to teach your dog the drop-it-and-leave-it command to use if you catch them eating something that they should not. Dietary modifications, such as the introduction of highly digestible foods that can reduce inflammation and irritation can help your dog avoid stomach ulcers. Giving several small meals throughout the day will also help. Ensure that your dog always has access to fresh water.

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Cost of Vomiting Brown Liquid

Treating your dog will have different costs depending on the cause. A visit to the vet for stomach and intestinal ulcers can cost you about $2200. Intestinal obstruction and ingestion of feces or foreign objects can cost around $3000 and $1700. If your dog is vomiting brown because of ingested blood, the cost of treatment will vary depending on the location and severity of the bleeding.

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Vomiting Brown Liquid Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Mutt

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Five Years

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Pacing

Pacing all hours of the night every night for almost 2 weeks. Vomitted a caramel color liquid 2 times last weekly

Oct. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. It sounds like your dog either is not feeling good, or is anxious, or can hear something that you cannot. Since this has been going on for 2 weeks, it would probably be best to have your dog seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible, as they can examine your dog, see what might be going on, and get any treatment that your dog may need so that everyone can sleep again.

Oct. 28, 2020

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Blackmouth Cur

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Seven Months

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Vomiting

my puppy macc has been vomiting all day and has begun to have the shakes & won’t eat

Oct. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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I'm sorry to hear about Macc. The worry when a dog has continued vomiting is that they may become quickly dehydrated and can develop low blood sugar and abnormal salt levels. This is especially true if they are refusing to eat and drink and unable to hold water down. Vomiting can have many causes including an infection, 'trash can toxicity' (eating something inappropriate), a gut obstruction, parasites etc. It is best for a dog that has ongoing vomiting to be checked out. The vet will assess them and may run some basic tests such as an abdominal ultrasound and bloods. Medicine, such as anti-nausea medicine and ant acids, may well be prescribed.

Oct. 30, 2020

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Boxer-pit

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Three Months

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Mild severity

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Vomiting

Hello my dog just started to vomit today at 12:00am and she stops for a hit then keep vomiting, she hasnt been vaccine... i was about to ge there shot this weekend but im scared now

Oct. 22, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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Hi there, you are through to Dr Linda. I'm sorry to hear your pup has not been well. Vomiting in young dogs is not uncommon and can have many causes including parasites, toxin ingestion, an abrupt change of diet, stress, infection etc. I would want to ensure she is able to hold food down and would offer bland meals of chicken and rice which are easy to digest. If she cannot hold food down, she will need to see a vet right away as she may have a severe gastroenteritis or even a blockage / obstruction. She should have nice pink and wet gums ; dry gums could mean she is dehydrated. She should be happy to play and socialise as any lethargy in a pup is a red flag. I would certainly keep the appointment for her vaccines as they are vital for her health. If not well enough for them, your vet will explain this and focus on making her better. Once okay, she should get the vaccines as they will protect her from serious diseases.

Oct. 22, 2020

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Chihuahua

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One Year

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Brown Foamy Vomit

I was wondering what can cause my dog vomit to be foamy and brown she doesn't seem to be lethargic at all her nose is still wet and cool to the touch

Oct. 5, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Vomiting can be a sign of many things, including parasites, eating things that she shouldn't, or food intolerances. If she continues to vomit, or becomes lethargic, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible, as they will be able to examine her and see what might be causing this. I hope that all goes well for her and she feels better soon!

Oct. 5, 2020

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Pointer

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Sneezing And Throwing Up Black Liquid

12/13 year old dog has been sneezing for 2-3 hours. Then began throwing up white bile. Now throwing up black liquid.

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. That sounds quite concerning, I'm not sure if the sneezing is related to the vomiting. I think at this point it would be best to have your dog seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible, as they can examine her, see what might be causing this, and see what treatment might help best. I hope that everything goes well and your dog feels better soon.

Sept. 29, 2020

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Hershey

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Miniature Pinscher

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11 Years

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Serious severity

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Diarrhea
Loss Of Appetite
Lethargic
Can'T Hold Water

I have an 11 year old min pin and she hasn't been able to hold down water for the last 2 days. She ate a little bit those last few days (not as much as she usually eats) but as of today, she has no appetite, no energy, she had diarrhea earlier this morning, and seems dehydrated. All she wants is water but the last time I gave it her, before finally taking it away, she threw up a brown liquid color. What should I do from here? I'm worried

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Royal

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pitbull

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4 Months

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Vomiting

My puppy won't eat, she ate this morning but not this evening. She vomited once and it smelled awful.Her brother died on Sunday morning and he started the same way.... not eating , vomiting and only drinking water.I am worried!

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Mehgan

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Boxer

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12 Years

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Lethargy
Vomiting
Loss Of Weight
Vomiting Dark Stool-Like Substance

Our 12 y/o Boxer suffered renal failure 2 years ago and has never really been the same. Recently she has vomited hours after eating, drinks until she is sick AND this week she was throwing up rocks. ROCKS! Well tonight she vomited this brown vile smelling liquid, I thought it was poop, first a little then a bunch more. Once it was out she curled up and went to bed. That was 45 minutes ago. Although she seems herself, we can't get the weight back on her...I think I need to put her down, because her suffering is worse than not having her here.

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Pokkels

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Jack Russell Terrier

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4 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Appetite
Depressed
Dehydrated
Vomiting Brown,

I have a 4 and a half year old Jack Russel terrier, last week sunday we noticed that he didnt look his usual self and very down and when I tried to feed him he didnt want to eat. Upon closer inspection I saw that his ribs were start to show quite a bit and he is actually a stocky boy. I took him to a vet, they put him on a drip and kept him for observation, they also did an xray and said they dont see anything,they treated him for Gastro. They then said I could fetch him on the Wednesday. He came home and still didn't eat or if he ate it would be about 20 minutes and he would vomit and brown liquid, also when he swallows it seems as though its uncomfortable, only way to explain it is it looks like when we have a sore throat and struggle to swallow. I then took him back the net day and told the Vet that he still isnt right, they checked the xray again only to tell me that now they do see something and feel something hard inside next to his genitals. They then operated on him and told us they found a hard stool. He was there until Monday this week for recovery and observation. Monday night he still refused to eat, I know they feel groggy after ops but the op was last week Thursday and still no eating or drinking, I force fed him some chicken livers that I cooked up with his kibble and liquidized, I put it in a syringe and squirted it down his throat, 20 minutes later he threw up again, so we took him back again and he is back at the vet on a drip and they are now saying that it could be a stomach ulcer. I don't know what to do or think anymore but the poor dog is suffering and I just want to help him. Any suggestions. Thanks Chantelle

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Olive

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Australian Cattle Dog

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3 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Vomit

Took my dog to the vet this morning for some blood work, as we found a chewed up bottle of ibuprofen. Labwork came back normal and the vet said he didn’t see anything to be concerned about. My dog ate dinner fine, pooped and peed regular, and seems to be acting herself. Once we went to bed, she threw up. It looked as if there was poop in her vomit, but it did not smell bad, almost gravy-ish. About 20 minutes later, she threw up again. This time, less vomit but mostly a brown liquid with bits of kibble (still smelled very much like gravy). Got her into bed and she threw up again, this time it was more of a yellow-orange color, bits of what looked like pig ear, and still smelled like gravy. Lastly, she threw up again. Mostly liquid and a few chunks of what appeared to be the pig ear we gave earlier. She drank a bunch of water and I gave her a bit of a banana to soothe her stomach. Any thoughts?

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