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What are Vomiting Mucus?

The vomiting of mucus, which is often white and phlegm-like, can be caused by a variety of medical conditions. The very occasional bringing up of mucus is not a cause for concern; however, if your dog is throwing up mucus often, a veterinary visit is warranted. Stomach inflammation, accompanied by symptoms like pain and fever can mean a serious condition may be developing. Treatment for vomiting of mucus may be as simple as a diet alteration or can be more invasive, such as surgery for an intestinal blockage.

Vomiting mucus may be caused by:

  • Diet
  • Toxins
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Blockage
  • Parasites in the stomach

Regurgitating with mucus may be caused by:

  • Esophagitis
  • Addison’s disease

Coughing up mucus may be caused by:

  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Asthma

Dogs that are vomiting, regurgitating or coughing up mucus should be seen by a veterinarian.  The veterinarian can help determine the underlying reason for the mucus.

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Why Vomiting Mucus Occurs in Dogs

Diet

The wrong diet or a new diet can upset a dog’s stomach.  Table scraps and/or very fatty foods can cause the inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).  Fatty food such as bacon, sausage, steak fat or chicken skin should never be fed to a dog.

Toxins

Substances such as certain plants, chocolate, grapes, chemicals, insecticides, artificial sweeteners and human medications can be toxic to dogs.  Other symptoms of poisoning may include loss of coordination, diarrhea, seizures and weakness.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in dogs is a chronic gastrointestinal disease. Many dogs with inflammatory bowel disease have a history of recurring vomiting or diarrhea. This condition may occur more often in Wheaten Terriers, Basenjis, Boxers and in the Norwegian Lundehunds breed.

Intestinal Blockage 

An intestinal blockage refers to complete or partial blockage which may occur when a dog eats inedible objects.  Rocks, toys, rawhides, hair ties, sticks and socks can cause a blockage.  Blockage of the intestines may also be caused by parasites, a hernia, abdominal tumor or gastroenteritis.

Parasites 

Parasites such as Giardia, roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and coccidia can cause vomiting. Additional symptoms may include weight loss, diarrhea, lack of appetite and bloody stool.

Regurgitating with mucus may be caused by:

Esophagitis

Esophagitis is the inflammation of the esophagus. The inflammation of the esophagus may be caused by frequent vomiting, cancer of the esophagus, reflux of gastric acids or the ingestion of a chemical or other irritant.

Addison’s Disease

Addison’s disease is also known as hypoadrenocorticism or adrenal insufficiency. The disease is caused by the decrease of hormone production from the adrenal gland. Adrenals are small glands found in front of the kidneys. Certain breeds may be predisposed to Addison’s disease such as Bearded Collies, Portuguese Water Dogs, Standard Poodles and Labrador Retrievers.

Coughing up mucus may be caused by:

Upper Respiratory Infection

Senior dogs with immune deficiency diseases as well as puppies are more likely to develop an upper respiratory infection. Additionally, unvaccinated dogs placed in shelters, day care, or boarding kennels may become infected. Upper respiratory infections are caused by bacteria or viruses. Other symptoms of respiratory infections may include sneezing, runny nose and eyes, green mucus and nose bleeds.

Asthma

Asthma in dogs is also referred to as allergic bronchitis. Asthma in dogs is usually caused by an allergic reaction to an environmental allergen such as pesticides, cigarette smoke, perfumes, fertilizers, paint and cleaning products.

What to do if your Dog is Vomiting Mucus

If your dog is vomiting mucus he should be seen by a veterinarian. The veterinarian will want to go over your dog’s medical history so be certain to let him know about recent illnesses or whether your pet could have been exposed to harmful substances.  

The veterinarian will need to know any additional symptoms you may have observed besides the bringing up of mucus; if there are signs of lethargy or depression for example, do not leave this important information out of the discussion.  Let your veterinary provider know if you think the dog vomited, regurgitated or coughed.  

The veterinarian will perform a physical examination which may include noting the weight, temperature, and heart rate, listening to your dog’s lungs, and checking the color of his gums.  He may recommend a complete blood count, a urinalysis, fecal exam, x-rays and a sonogram.  The dog’s medical history, physical examination and the diagnostic tests will help the veterinarian determine the best treatment for the condition.

Prevention of Vomiting Mucus

Dogs should not be fed table scraps, which are fatty. Substances that are toxic to dogs should be kept out of reach.  Dogs should be vaccinated and dewormed regularly. Pets should not be exposed to secondhand smoke.  

Additionally, it is best to keep your dog away from fresh paint, lawn pesticides, or any other strong smelling chemicals.  It is a good idea to ask the veterinarian what wellness program he would suggest for your dog. Puppies and senior dogs should have frequent check-ups.

Cost of Vomiting Mucus

The cost of treating intestinal parasites may be $300.  The average expense for treating Addison’s disease may be $350.  An intestinal blockage may cost up to $3000 for surgery and follow up treatment.

Vomiting Mucus Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Oreo
Dachshund
4 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

My dachshund cross Jack Russell vomitted up his food and has now not stopped vomiting up clear liquid with foam. He is very lethargic and I am not sure what is wrong.

Michele King
Dr. Michele King, DVM
314 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Without examining him, it is difficult for me to comment on what might be going on with him, but possible causes include a forein body, intestinal infection, or infectious disease. it would be best to have him examined by your veteirnarian, as they can look at him, deterine what might be wrong, and treat him appropriately. I hope that he feels better soon!

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Titus
English Bulldog
3 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

same

My 3 year old bulldog Titus (55lbs) has had mucus since day one. I have been giving him a generic antacid off and on to help with the vomiting mucus when he eats and drinks. Is that the correct medicine that you would give to help with the mucus that seems to come up after he eats and drinks..

Michele King
Dr. Michele King, DVM
314 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, without examining him, I can't comment on how to treat the mucus that he seems to have after he eats and drinks. The best thing for him would be to have a good examination with his veterinarian, mention the mucus that he produces, and ask them if they recommend anything to treat that condition. Chronic vomiting can be a sign of parasites, food intolerance, or intestinal infection. I hope that he does well!

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Rica
German Shepherd
7 Weeks
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

I just got a German Shepherd puppy yesterday. She vomited her dinner up while crying. I atributed it to a long car ride but today she did the same with both meals I fed her. I spoke with the breeder and she said this was the only puppy they were having this issue with. They were feeding her only a few small pieces of food and powder milk for puppies. I gave her puppies shots and dewormer today. I’m beyond concerned but everything I read said to wait for the dewormer to start working before taking her to the vet. Should I take her immediately?

Michele King
Dr. Michele King, DVM
314 Recommendations
Thank you for contacting us about Rica. I'm sorry that she is having this problem - it would be a really good idea to take her to a veterinarian and have her tested for Parvovirus, and have a fecal run to make sure that the dewormer that you have given is working, and that she doesn't have any other parasites to worry about. Once you know those tests are negative, you can breathe a little easier, knowing that she is okay. She has been through a lot of change, and that can stress the immune system. I hope that she is okay.

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Sally Rae
Terrior, Pit,Shepard
6 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Hi, my dog Sally Rae was outside and vomiting thick white phlegm, she got weak and had to sit down. she then tried throwing up more I seen the white mucus coming out but she could not get rid of it so she re swallowed it before I could reach her to get it out for her. I noticed she gets to where she wont eat all day and has thrown up liquid, she wants to go outside and eat grass, how can I help her

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1832 Recommendations
It is important to keep Sally Rae hydrated and to get her to eat small portions of bland food like boiled chicken and rice; however, the loss of appetite and other symptoms may be attributable to an infection, parasites, foreign body, other obstruction among other causes. If you are unable to get her to eat any bland food, you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Zero
Maltese x
6 Months
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Throwing up

I have a 6 month old Maltese he is throwing up mucus with a light brown color he has been around the house where we have been cooking and eating thanksgiving dinner I am assuming he must of eaten something and his body reacted to it since we only feed him dry dog food nothing else...any help on what might help him

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1832 Recommendations
Anything brown coloured in vomit may indicate some digested blood so should be monitored; try to feed some plain boiled chicken and rice to see if that calms the stomach down or not. Make sure that he isn’t getting into any rubbish or hold of any cooked turkey bones as they can puncture the gastrointestinal tract; monitor him for now and keep him hydrated, if there is no improvement by Monday visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Gu
American Eskimo Dog
11 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Drooling
Lethargy
Nausea
Constipation
Diarrhea
Vomiting

Medication Used

Pepcid AC
cerenia

My dog has been vomiting clear, odorless, frothy white mucus everyday for over a month. At first, it was only once a day in the mornings, but it has now progressed to happen during the day and sometimes at night. For the first few weeks, he maintained his appetite, but since last week, he has lost most of his appetite only eating partial meals and then starting today, refuses to eat anything. He's been drinking water a bit more than usual as he's been losing his appetite.

Also, starting yesterday, he's been dry heaving-- trying to vomit, but nothing comes out. He's also drooling more and seems to sometimes be regurgitating and swallowing saliva before he tries to vomit. His poop also has become tacky and small in amount if he can poo at all (seems constipated). I noticed a couple of months ago, he seems to have some allergies that are affecting his paws (they are slightly pink and swollen, but no cracking or sores) and sounds like he has congestion sometimes. I am not sure if it is related. I also haven't changed his dog food since February.

I have gone to 3 vets and 2 prescribed antibiotics for the trachea and thyroid and none worked and seemed to only make him feel sicker. All prescribed Cerenia and it did not help with getting his appetite back nor did it stop his vomiting. He has had full blood work done and everything looks normal. They see no evidence of pancreatitis, kidney/liver failure. All of his vitals are normal except they see he has a slight heart murmur. In addition, he had an xray and there is no evidence of bloat or an obstruction anywhere in his body.

I'm looking to schedule an ultrasound for him, but I'm getting discouraged. No one has a clear idea of what his condition is and he hasn't eaten a full meal for almost a week. He's running out of energy and losing weight quickly, so I'm hoping for some guidance or recommendations on any potential leads to test for.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1832 Recommendations
It seems like many bases have been covered with diagnostics and initial treatment, I cannot think of anything more to add to what has been done already without testing for everything and hoping for the best; an ultrasound would be valuable to look at organ structure (liver, kidneys etc…) in more detail but the blood work came back normal. An x-ray would have detected masses or obstructions so we’re at square one here; Pepcid (famotidine) has already been used which would have been a recommendation to try along with a restricted ingredient diet, but I cannot think of anything else at this time. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Achilles
Doberman Pinscher
10 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Regurgitating

Achilles started regurgitating his food with a lot of a thick white substance. In the past hour he has done this six times. Last night he had diarrhea and this morning his stool was shaped but soft and a dark brown.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1832 Recommendations
Some regurgitation/vomiting and diarrhoea may be due to some gastrointestinal irritation which may be self limiting; it may also be due to more serious health issues like congenital anomalies, foreign objects, parasites, infections, dietary intolerances among other issues. Try to keep Achilles hydrated and offer him small quantities of bland food (chicken and rice) on a regular basis to see if he can keep it down; also the time frame between eating and regurgitation is important too. If you see no improvement you should visit your Veterinarian for a once over. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Brooke
Pit terrier
3 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

My dog will throw up the leg to a teddy bear thats her toy. Last night she threw up a toy and has been throwing up mucus since. I know it can be a blockage of some sort, but I do have money to take her to vet. How long until I should ABSOLUTELY take her?

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1832 Recommendations
It depends on how much Brooke is in distress, but I would advise you to go before the weekend for an examination as out of hours fees can be eye watering; if there are parts of the teddy bear unaccounted for you should visit your Veterinarian now, if she brought it all up just try to keep her comfortable. If she is showing signs of pain, back arching, vocalisation or any other concerning symptom you should visit your Veterinarian sooner rather than later. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Kitty
Boston Terriers
Over 7
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Our dog had surgery for cancer friday. She is wearing a wrap from her front paws to the back paws. She wont eat and is throwing up mucousy phlem. She will drink but it comes back up and is not eating. Any suggestions?

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1832 Recommendations
It depends on the type of cancer and where the cancer was removed from, if you are unable to get her to keep fluids down I would highly recommend you visit your Veterinarian for an examination to make sure everything is alright and possibly to get an antiemetic to control the vomiting as keeping down fluids is important. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Hate to post this here...Went to the vet and they kept her 2 days, We had to put her to sleep because the cancer had spread to the lungs. Thank you for the advice!

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Otter
Labrador
1 Year
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Won't eat

Hey there,
My dog is about 1 year and a few months old. For a week prior to his vomiting of mucus, he has been reluctant to eat is dog food we've set out. As of writing this he has thrown up s few times and hasn't eaten any of his food. Instead he is focused on drinking water but he can't keep it down and ends up throwing up with mucus mixed in with water. He has pooped fine but when taking him to play he noticeably didn't have the same energy as before. Can you help me?

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1832 Recommendations
There are many possible causes for a loss of appetite and vomiting mucus which include infections, intestinal obstruction, parasites, foreign objects, tumours (probably too young) among other causes; to start it would be best to try to feed Otter with small portions of boiled chicken and rice (about half a cup) every few hours to see if he can keep it down. Keep an eye on his gums and the capillary refill time; press the gum until it is white, let go and if it takes two second or more for the blood to return he is dehydrated and should go immediately to his Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Cinch
Border Collie/Lab
5 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Tired
acts normal
doesn't feel well

Our dog has been coughing up a clear foamy liquid for about 3.5 days now. He has excess drool, and when he coughs up this liquid, it has a drool like texture to it. It has a little bit of a smell, but nothing horrid. There hasn't been any color to this fluid either. He was eating, and we read an article that fasting for 12-24 hours should help. We did that, and there is a minor improvement, but not as much as we hoped. He didn't cough up a pile of fluid last night, however he was still coughing up extra drool as of this morning.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1832 Recommendations
Sometimes fasting for a day allows the gastrointestinal tract to ‘reset’ and the process seems to go back to normal. I would suggest feeding small meals more often of something like boiled chicken and rice for a few days to see if there is any improvement; if there is improvement, start to wean Cinch over to his normal food over the following few days. If you are still having issues, famotidine at a dose of 0.25mg/lb twice per day thirty minutes before food may help reduce acid build up. If you see no improvement visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Bella
Boxer Mix
9 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

Medication Used

metronidazole

Hi I'm looking for a second opinion for my dog, Bella. Bella is a 9 year old boxer mix who has been regurgitating and vomiting mucous (with food in it most of the time) for several days. At one point, she was vomiting so much and so heavily that she wasn't able to keep down food/water for 2 days. I took her to the vet and they asked questions such as her eating habits, energy levels, stool etc, so I'll go over them:

She was a VERY picky eater all of her life, and I've only recently found a food that she will eat on her own (Taste of the Wild bison, limited ingredients diet). She eats approximately twice a day (we have a gravity food feeder) and although she's eating daily, she is only 56 pounds. Her hip bones are protruding and I can see her ribs. In 2016, she was between 65-70 pounds. This is partially because of the vomiting, but I think there is also an underlying issue because she has been gradually getting skinnier since Jan 2016.
She has moderate energy. She's unable to go on walks longer than a couple miles, but still wrestles with her 2 year old brother.
Her stool is normal (for now). She does not have any diarrhea along side the vomiting, although she also has been to the vet numerous times over the years for bloody stool.
She's also been treated for many mucosal tissue related infections, mostly in her eyes and ears. She was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in Jan 2016 and treated until suddenly she had normal thyroid hormone levels again and the medication she was taking made her hyperthyroid so we took her off of it. In March of this year, she got a serious urinary tract infection that left her with bloody urine. It's been a bumpy ride with her the last few years, with almost semi-annual medical crises that lead to hefty vet bills.

She was treated last Friday with anti-nausea medicine (via IV) and had to receive fluids from all of the vomiting. It stopped her from vomiting over the weekend but last night and this morning she began increasing the frequency of her vomiting again from once yesterday to 5 times today before lunch. Her vet diagnosed with IBS and is treating with low dose metronidazole, but so far she's continuing to get worse as the anti-nausea meds wear off.

I'm wondering if this sounds like IBS or something else? Is there another treatment I could be asking for? Is it ok to ask for anti-nausea meds to treat the vomiting acutely?

We are going in again today for X-rays and more blood work but I just don't want to chase an invisible culprit forever.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1832 Recommendations
It is good that you are going in for x-rays as I was going to suggest some x-rays to see if there are any issues with the esophagus or stomach; I wouldn’t recommend antiemetics long term as they are not a treatment but more of a management option - not a long term solution. Dietary issues along with gastrointestinal issues can seem like an impossible task to diagnose and can also leave Veterinarians scratching their heads; inflammatory bowel disease is a strong possibility especially if there is a history of defecating blood, anthelmintics and antibiotics are key to getting it under control but would also suggest prednisone as well. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Buster
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
11 years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

not drinking
Breathing Difficulties
Bloated belly
Vomiting mucus on and off all day

Medication Used

Omeprazole

Hi, my dog is eating ok but not drinking, he gets out of breath quick and seems on and off about going for walks. He has been bringing up a mucus like substance multiple times daily for nearly a week and after taking him to the vets they put him on omeprazole but this has not helped although is due to go back for an x ray...he sounds constantly bloated like he needs to burp and appears to strain when breathing as well as having a weezy cough. He does not have diarrhoea or any trouble going toilet although did a few weeks back and was passing blood at the time as well which is no longer the case. He seems uncomfortable and doesn’t like being touched around his belly and when rubbing around his throat it sounds like there’s a load of liquid and he even vomited clear liquid. Any advice would be appreciated! He’s also on yumove twice a day and prednicare once a day.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1832 Recommendations
There are a few possible causes for the symptoms you are describing which may include infections, obstructions, parasites, pancreatic disorders, hormonal disorders, liver disease among other causes; bloating or swollen abdomen may be caused by gas or fluid, gas is quite common and could be related to diet. Bloating can cause breathing difficulties if there is pressure pushing on the diaphragm or fluid accumulating in the chest; x-rays and blood tests may be useful to help to see what is going on. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Rocky
Labrador Retriever/Dalmatian
9 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

We adopted a 9 year old lab/dalmatian mix a couple of weeks ago. They sent us home with some dog food that they said he has been eating. He didn't eat anything for the first few days and then he wouldn't eat any of the dog food they sent home, but ate my other dog's food. About 1 1/2 weeks after we brought him home, he started vomiting mucus sometimes with food, sometimes without. It usually happens when he moves and starts to cough a little then throws up. Most of the times it is just a cough and a little throw up, but some times it is more violent with full on stomach heaving. This is happening 3 to 8 times a day. He is happy otherwise and is drinking water regularly. He had spent 8 months in the shelter prior to us bringing him home.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1832 Recommendations
It is important to determine if it is a gastrointestinal problem or a respiratory problem (like kennel cough which may induce vomiting); it is therefore important to determine the source of the problem. Other causes may be food sensitivity, stress, pancreatitis, liver or kidney disease, foreign objects, parasites etc… I would suggest returning to the Shelter if they have their own Veterinarian or visiting another Veterinarian to see the underlying cause of the problem. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Maven
American Pit Bull Terrier
11 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Medication Used

Apoquel 16mg
Apoquel

Maven is an 11yr old APBT, has recently started to regurgitate, almost burp, and as of today contained a yellowish mucus. He has been previously diagnosed with grade 4 murmur about two months ago. No coughing, just regurgitating.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1832 Recommendations
This sounds like it may be due to acid reflux due to an empty tummy as bile is being brought up too; it may be worth trying to feed Maven smaller meals more often (especially before bed) to ensure that her stomach isn’t empty which may lead to a buildup of acid and refluxing of bile. Pepcid AC (famotidine) at a dose of 0.25mg/lb twice daily before food may help too; if there is no improvement you should visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Hank
Labrador Retriever
3 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Tired
Not Eating

I asked a question last night about my dog vomiting. Update: he is only drinking water and will not get near his food (his original food not the one i wanted to ease him into). We are approaching the 24 hour period point of no food. He has not thrown up since about 8:00 last night. He is very tired and slow moving. But as I said he will drink water. He slept through the night fine and he also had climbed onto the couch and bed as normal. Is it possible that I could give him pepto? Or plain yogurt to aid his digestive track and soothe his tummy ache?

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1832 Recommendations

If you are looking to soothe Hank’s stomach, I would try to feed him a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice for a few days as this wouldn’t irritate his stomach so much. Sometimes fasting a dog may help with gastrointestinal issues and fasting for one to two days may be beneficial in some cases. Pepto-Bismol is occasionally given to dogs, but the ingredients cause the stool to turn black which may mask the signs of a gastrointestinal bleed. Acid reducers like Pepcid AC (famotidine) may be used at a dose of 0.25mg/lb one to two times per day (half hour before food). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Hank
Labrador Retriever
3 Years
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Tired

Hi there,
My dog is 3 years old and I wanted to ease him into a new dog food. I started yesterday with 1/3 of a cup. And I mixed it with his normal food (pedigree). He was fine last night, did not get into anything, and slept through the night. This morning after urinating, he came in the house and vomited a small amount of white foam. 30 minutes later he vomited water and mucus. The mucus appeared to be clear and it did not have a smell. He has vomited several more times (approx. 6) through out today. His bowel movements appeared to be fine, still solid. Can you please help me?

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1832 Recommendations

If Hank vomited up clear liquid and white foam, this means that his stomach was empty and the acid probably irritated his stomach causing him to vomit; try to feed him a little less of the new food as a ratio to the old (like 10% new:90% old) and see if you get the same result. If he vomits again go back to feeding just the old food for a few days and look for improvement and try again with 10% new food and 90% old to see if he tolerates it better, if he vomits again stay off the new food and find an alternative. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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