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What is Vomiting Brown Liquid?

Vomiting

is a common sign of many illnesses that shouldn't be overlooked. In some cases, your dog might be vomiting because they ate something that upset their stomach. Vomiting brown liquid, however, can indicate that something more serious is wrong. Here are some common causes of your dog vomiting brown liquid:

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

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Why Vomiting Brown Liquid Occurs in Dogs

Brown vomit can happen to any dog for a variety of reasons. Although you may be alarmed to see your dog vomiting brown liquid, most dogs can recover with no permanent side effects as long as they're treated promptly.

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. Tarry, black stools are another sign of bleeding ulcers.

Ingesting aspirin or other types of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is just one cause of ulcers. Others causes include:

Signs of stomach ulcers include severe vomiting, blood loss, and dehydration.

Intestinal blockage

Intestinal blockages can also cause your dog to vomit brown liquid. Ingesting a large object, such as a non-food item, can obstruct the intestines. Growths in the abdomen can also cause blockages. Symptoms vary depending on the location or cause of the blockage. Common signs include:

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 ingested feces.

Items will move through the gastrointestinal tract in 10 to 24 hours, and signs of a blockage will occur within 12 to 24 hours after ingestion. If the item gets lodged in the esophagus, your dog will begin to show signs fairly quickly. They'll lick their lips, swallow often, and regurgitate soon after eating.

The vomit may emerge in a tubular shape and can contain pieces of kibble. Your dog may also suffer from dehydration since they can't eat or drink properly. If the blockage is located in the stomach, the pylorus may get blocked, which can keep food from passing through the intestinal tract. In this case, your dog will most likely vomit within a few hours of eating.

Blockages in the small intestine can cause gas to accumulate, which can be fatal without prompt treatment. This can lead to the intestine getting distended, the blood supply getting cut off, and tissues dying. The dog might begin heaving right after being fed or experience abdominal pain, fever, shock, and a distended intestine. Blockages located elsewhere may present other signs, including diarrhea.

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 gum or tooth diseases, or a blood clotting disorder.

Ingesting rat poison can also cause your dog to vomit blood and have black stools. Secondary bleeding can occur if your dog ingests blood from the mouth or 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. A warning sign of excessive blood loss is pale gums. If you notice lethargy, weakness, pale gums, and excessive loss of blood, take your dog to the vet immediately.

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What to do if your Dog is Vomiting Brown Liquid

Stomach ulcers

can usually be managed medically. If the ulcers perforate the walls of the stomach, your dog may need hospitalization or surgery. Dogs with severe stomach ulcers (even those that haven't perforated the stomach lining) may require hospitalization, blood transfusions, intravenous fluid replacement therapies, and nutritional and electrolytic support. Other types of treatments include medication, supportive care, and dietary and lifestyle changes.

Foods that are easy to digest can help reduce irritation and inflammation of the digestive tract. Feed your dog small meals several times throughout the day. Your pet should always have access to fresh water.

Blockages should be treated quickly — if left untreated, a dog with a blockage can face fatal complications like peritonitis and perforation of the bowels. If brought to the vet soon after the blockage occurs, your dog can avoid surgery, and the blockage may be able to be removed via endoscopy. If death of the tissue (or 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 supervise your dog while they're playing and act quickly if you notice them eating something they shouldn't. Don't give your dog cooked bones or small toys that are easy 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 veterinarian may advise you to induce vomiting to prevent a blockage. Teaching your dog the "drop it" and "leave it" commands can make all the difference between prevention and treatment.

Dietary modifications and feeding small meals throughout the day can help your dog avoid stomach ulcers. Ensure your dog always has access to fresh water.

Intestinal blockages and other causes of vomiting brown liquid in dogs can be expensive to treat. If you suspect your dog has intestinal blockages or is at risk, start searching for pet insurance today. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Trupanion. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

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Cost of Vomiting Brown Liquid

The cost of treating dogs who vomit brown liquid will vary depending on the cause and veterinary costs in your area. Treatment for stomach and intestinal ulcers can cost between $500 and $2,000. Intestinal obstruction and ingestion of feces or foreign objects can cost $1,500 to $3,000. If your dog is vomiting brown liquid because they 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

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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German Shepherd

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Three Years

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10 found helpful

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Has Symptoms

Vomiting

He vomited whole kibble 6 hours after eating it and then vomited more and has vomited 3 more times but it has been brown liquid. His nose is still wet and cold and his gums and tongue are pink. He still gets happy when we say his name, but he keeps vomiting

Jan. 5, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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10 Recommendations

Brown liquid can be digested food mixed with bile. However, if a very dark brown we would worry about digested blood which could indicate bleeding if the gut. It's great his gums remain pink and wet. If the vomiting persist, a vet check is best as there are many potential causes so a check can help us determine what is going on.

Jan. 5, 2021

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Mutt

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Five Years

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5 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

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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5 Recommendations

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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