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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Vomiting Mucus Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Lab

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One Year

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Coug

Dog dry coughs then changes to cough with mucous you can hear when she breathes and coughs, then coughs up sticky mucous.

Oct. 18, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. There are many causes for a cough in a young dog, including kennel cough, something in the throat, or a fungal or bacterial infection of the lungs. Since I cannot see your dog or listen to her lungs, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian if this is something that does not seem to be getting better. Kennel cough tends to resolve itself, but sometimes doesn't need medication.

Oct. 18, 2020

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Boxer

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Five Years

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Vomiting, Panting, Loss Of Appetite

Ali threw up yesterday multiple piles 1 was food then 4 piles clear like water with white foamy like spit but thick, He drank water then threw up the water. Today he hasn’t eaten or drank and threw up a thick mucus ligh brown with what looked like blood spots. The pictures are from tonight.

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 15, 2020

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Large border terrier

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Fifteen Years

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Regurgitating Food Straight After Eating Which Is Covered In Phlegm

Why does regurgitation occur after eating or during which is covered in phlegm?

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. It seems that there may be something going on on with your dogs' esophagus or GI tract. Since I cannot examine them to see what might be happening, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 15, 2020

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Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

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Eight Months

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Vomiting

Our dog Cash started exhibiting the signs of kennel cough (dry hacking cough and gagging) yesterday. Today he started to throw up a clearish/white liquid multiple times. He has not lost his appetite and the vomit never includes the food. He is also drinking water. He has peed and pooped regularly when we brought him out as well. He is however, more lethargic then usual.

Aug. 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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4 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Kennel cough tends to resolve in a day or two, unless it is more complicated. If he is getting better, and coughing less, than it may be fine to monitor him. If he continues to vomit this fluid up, and things are not improving, then having him seen by a veterinarian would likely be a good idea. I hope that he is okay.

Aug. 24, 2020

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Husky

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Two Years

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Throw Up

my dog threw up a weird subtsance

Aug. 3, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. That appears to be bile from your dogs' stomach. If they continue to vomit, it would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian. If it was a one time occurrence, you may be okay to monitor at home for any further vomiting or diarrhea. I hope that all goes well for your dog.

Aug. 4, 2020

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Takoda

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Siberian Husky

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3 Years

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Moderate severity

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Lethargy
Vomiting
Coughing
Sneeze

My dog Takoda has been having intermittent issues for about 1 and a half years now and none of the vets I have seen have been able to give me a clear diagnosis. He vomits up mucus around every 20-25 days, but before the mucus he vomits a mixture of mucus and small red spherical objects. I have sent pictures to my vet and am waiting for a response. My vet does not believe it is an intestinal blockage, allergies, or parasites, but again we're not sure. I attempted to add reverse sneezing to the symptoms but it did not come up, and when he has these episodes he does not eat, and is not incredibly lethargic or depressed but seems less energetic.

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Brady

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Beagle Labrador

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6 Months

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last weekend my dog was kept at a pet hotel for 2 days, he was also groomed while he was there. he also did a doggy day camp while he was there so he could play with other dogs. he is up to date on all shots, hes a 6 month on Beagle/Lab. staff there said that he did absolutely fine with no issues. yesterday my dog was playing outside with my neighbors dog, and in quite a bit of mulch..I did see some on his tongue and he was drinking tons of water since they played for a long time and it was hot out. late last night he began to make a sound that sounded like he was gagging. this morning he continued the noise and then started to vomit a white frothy/mucus looking vomit.. its continuous, more than 10-15 times now. only once did we see a tiny bit of mulch..otherwise it's only been the white frothy mucus vomit. its making me nervous because hes been vomiting so much. he wasn't too interested in eating or drinking but has...and then vomited after..only a couple pieces of kibble and the white frothy mucus again. his stools are normal and hes urinating regularly. gums and eyes are pink, nose is wet. my husband thinks its kennel cough, though I dont really hear the coughing. I feel I should of brought him to the doctor today but. its 11pm at night and I have two little kids so I wont be able to go till tomorrow.. Is his vomiting this frequently potentially dangerous and could this be kennel cough even though these symptoms haven't started till a week later?

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Willow

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Malamute

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2 Years

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Puking
Eating Grass

My two dogs have been eating grass and then throwing up mucus. My other dog had bathroom issues last week but was put on medication and resolved, my other two aren’t having issues with their poops like she was though. They have been eating a little extra than normal, drinking water just fine, and are acting okay but occasionally puking up the mucus. Are they eating grass because their stomach hurts or because they’re hungry? Should I break up their meal into two?

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Tye

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Sheltie

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10 Years

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Regurgitating Clear Mucus

Advice please...I’m very worried :-( Ok - about 2 weeks ago Tye (male, 10kg, 10 years old) was fine in himself - gums pink, nose wet - temperature fine - happy - not depressed - eating well. The only thing was about 3-6 hours after he would throw up his meal - sometimes next morning and he started drinking lots of water... the first time it happend a large bit of red plastic packaging came up - we think it was a bit of meat he had found in the bins behind a food shop near us we’re not sure - it was during a walk and he got told off - we try our best to stop him eating nothing buth what he should - but accidents happen...Anyway - we didn’t think anything of it - as he was fine after - as I said above... but this time was different as it continued for a week like this with him drinking much more water than normal and throwing up his dinner a few hours later - but not all the time... And he started walking a bit slower on his walks. So I took him to vets - they confirmed he was ok (temerature, etc) but that he had a stomache ache so gave me Emeprid 2,5ml x3 a day - I strong clear liquid which he hates), Prevomax (a thick milky liquid - 2 large syringes - 10ml - x3 a day) and a anti-diarriah tablet x2 a day with his food... we did this for a day and a half but the minute he took the medication he went downhill fast - depressed, didn’t want to eat and he started regurgitating (vomiting instantly, wothout retching first like before) a thick clear liquid - mucus looking - with a few bits of undigested meat. (He ears regular dog food - pate and biscuits - nothing else). So went back to the vets and they did a blood test - pancreas infection came up and they kept him in straight away and put him on a drip (think it was morphin - have to explain I live in France so everthing explained to me in Frence - my french is good, but not perfect especially when it comes to medical terminology).... So... they kept him in and the next day they said he was much better so the day after I got to take him home and just had to give him is antibiotics 1/2 a tablet x2 a day (Clavaseptin) - and veteneray Intestine special food - tins and biscuits- told he could only eat this - 1 tin plus buiscuits a day... he was fine in himself a d very happy to be home - but he didn’t want the vet’s food - but seemed to be asking me for food - I gave him boiled chicken - he eat it straight away... but he was still doing this clear liquid regurgitating in very small amounts now and then... and didn’t know what to feed him - he wouldn’t touch the vet’s food. Also he was weird - mentally - didn’t seem quite himself - on walks he would follow and then just stand still looking at me and I would have to really call him for him to follow - he would domthis a few times (I have since learnt that this is the sign of abdominal pain) and so I saw the vets about it just to ask what I should feed him - I was seeing the senior vet now and he did a stomach scan - told me there was something not right with his intestins not moving right or something and then promptly fed all the old medications in one go (bearing on mind my dog was already stressed with the scan - he hates the vets) and the vet shived the last two tablets (antibiotics) down the back of his throat which he has never had before - he is tremblong at this point and promptly throws the whole lot back up including the little bits of food he had. The vets kept him in... This senior vet also said thwt he must eat the vet’s food nothing else - if he’s hungry he will eat it... to be fair Tye is not like his brother and not fussy - so it is unusual he wouldn’t eat it... anway three days later he is now home and i have to give him the same medications noted already - the 2 liquids and the two tyles of antibiotics - this time round he seems back to himself - very happy, wags his tail a lot and very bouncy on his walks - he was even eating a bit of the vet’s food this time - albeit only a little. But still regurgitating the clear mucus but just once or twice a few hours later after medication and a tiny amount - and he is fine in himself - nothing like before he seems himself again - so I am not worrying at this point - he wants nothing to eat at lunch so I give him the liquid food the vets gave me by syringe - evening same but I have no liquid left - but 2 hours after medication he eats a little bit - I mean a tiny bit - so I am ok with this as the vets did say it would take time for his appetite to return - but this morning ne regurgitates the muscus again and he did it after his medication and has continued to do so in little amoutns about t times this morning. Also he really does not want to eat this food of the vets... I rang the vets he wants me to try chicken after next bout of medication which I’m just about to do - if he continues to regurgitate he wants me to come in to gove him yet another medication... The thing is - he only seems to have done this regurgitating thing whilst on medication - i mean i am really sick when on antibiotics- maybe it’s the same for him and I shouldn’t worry? He’s not depressed and no other symptoms- except him wanting to stay by me all the time - I am so worried the vets will keep hom in again and I know he hated it - cried all the tome until he was horse... also i’ve heard that other dogs have taken all this medication and then died... My instincts tell me to stop the medication or wait until it’s finished then see how he is... Or maybe the mucus thing is because he’s not eating enogh - I know he’ll love the chicken... My vet is french so would LOVE some expert advice in English... please... I don’t know what to do - are my vets doing the right thing and the regurgitating is just the meds and not eatong enough....?

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Poppy

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miniature poodle

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8 Months

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Mild severity

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Vomiting Mucus In The Morning Only

My 8 month old mini poodle has recently been waking up early in the morning and vomiting what seems like mucus because sometimes nothing comes out. Only one time she vomited more yellow colored mucus. I called my vet and she said she had an empty stomach and to feed her a small meal at night, I have done this and for a while we got through a week without waking up and vomiting mucus. She is doing it more and seems more reluctant to finishing meals especially the night time meal. I did change her food completely over last month when this did start happening. She was exposed to her new food mixed with her old food over the right period of time and I do not see how this could be an issue? I am worried there is a bigger problem but I hope it’s only food related. She sleeps most of the morning and is crated during the day for 3.5 hours. She wakes up and plays, eats, and pees and poops like normal. She takes a maximum of two one hour or less naps before bed and goes on multiple walks 10-20 mins. I do not think she is legthartic.

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