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What is Vomiting Yellow Foam?

When a dog vomits, it is usually a symptom of something more serious. While it may be normal for your dog to occasionally vomit yellow foam if there are too many hours in between feedings, it is important to observe him for other symptoms. If a dog experiences the occasional upset stomach and is vomiting, you may notice that his mouth becomes full of saliva. He may be experiencing nausea, which may lead to excess drooling. If other symptoms are observed, it is recommended that a vet appointment be made to have him checked out. Should you notice blood in his vomit, in addition to the yellow foam, he should be immediately rushed to the emergency veterinarian. When a dog vomits yellow foam, it could be the result of:

  • Gastroenteritis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Intestinal obstruction

It is important to observe a dog that is experiencing vomiting with yellow foam as it can present a severe condition. The severity of the vomiting may be due to a medical condition which could require immediate attention.

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Why Vomiting Yellow Foam Occurs in Dogs

The reason a dog may vomit yellow foam depends on the medical condition it extends from. Vomiting yellow foam is indicative of refluxed digested bile from the stomach. There are a few reasons why a dog may vomit yellow foam. For example: 


Gastroenteritis is a medical condition where a dog experiences inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. What this means is that a dog may experience an upset stomach and intestinal irritation. Gastroenteritis can be caused by a variety of underlying issues as infections caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and reactions to new foods or medications. It is common for dogs to experience intermittent episodes of vomiting when suffering from gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis can be led by problems that range from mild to life-threatening if left untreated. It is common for a dog to be dehydrated and run a low-grade fever due to the persistent vomiting.


Pancreatitis is a medical condition which can be classified as acute or chronic. A dog can develop pancreatitis from digging into the garbage and eating fatty foods. However, pancreatitis can also be caused by viral/bacterial infections as well as certain medications. When a dog develops pancreatitis, enzymes (as well as other substances) are released near the proximity of the abdomen. This causes inflammation of the pancreas which can lead to life-threatening complications. Vomiting yellow foam can be the result of having developed pancreatitis. 

Intestinal Obstruction

Should your dog be vomiting yellow foam, one possibility is that he may have an intestinal blockage. A blockage can occur when a piece of food or a foreign object becomes lodged inside the dog's body and becomes stuck in the intestine, causing a backup of food attempting to enter the body. As a result, your dog may need to be seen by the emergency vet if he is vomiting yellow foam from his mouth. 

While these medical conditions are not an exhaustive list, if your dog is exhibiting some of these symptoms, it is essential to make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out these conditions.

What to do if your Dog is Vomiting Yellow Foam

In order to minimize the risk of your dog vomiting yellow foam, maintaining your dog's diet is highly recommended. This will allow you to monitor your dog's food intake and observe any adverse reactions shortly thereafter. If your dog is vomiting yellow foam due to too few feedings in a day, attempt to split his portions throughout the day. Please note: do not increase his food intake – just increase the frequency of feedings. If there are additional symptoms other than vomiting yellow foam, the veterinarian should be contacted in order to schedule an appointment. 

Your veterinarian will conduct a full examination of your dog and begin to rule out conditions based on his symptoms. Expect to be asked about his current diet, the last time he ate, how often he is fed, as well as other questions pertaining to his lifestyle. You will be asked about any medications he takes as well as any current symptoms he is experiencing. It is recommended to bring a sample of the yellow foam vomit in order for the veterinarian to conduct an analysis.

If your dog is vomiting yellow foam due to gastroenteritis, your veterinarian may administer fluids intravenously in order to prevent dehydration. He may be prescribed medications to help soothe the gastrointestinal tract and decrease the urge to vomit. Depending on the severity of the condition, your dog may be hospitalized for treatment and observation. Some of the diagnostic tests for gastroenteritis include a complete blood cell count (CBC), serum chemistries and electrolytes, urinalysis, abdominal radiographs and ultrasounds. 

If your dog is vomiting yellow foam due to pancreatitis, a physical exam will be completed in order to search for a mass near the abdomen. There can be several recommended tests such as blood count, serum biochemistry, and urinalysis. These tests are standard in order to help determine whether your dog has pancreatitis. Other tests include radiographs, ultrasounds, and pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity. If a diagnosis has not been established by this point, a fine needle aspiration or exploratory laparotomy can help diagnose your dog due to the abnormal cell count. 

If your dog is vomiting yellow foam due to an intestinal obstruction, he may require immediate medical attention as this may become life-threatening. Once it is determined that your dog is struggling with an intestinal obstruction, he may be given intravenous fluids to assist with hydration. If an obstruction seems like it may pass naturally, the veterinarian may use several different methods to aid in the process such as fluid therapy and enema. Radiographs may need to be completed to examine the movement of the foreign object. If the intestinal blockage is due to a foreign object, surgery is often required.

Prevention of Vomiting Yellow Foam

Maintaining your dog's health can be the number one prevention against minimizing the risk of your dog vomiting yellow foam. Check in with your veterinarian regularly to ensure your dog's diet and needs are being fully supported. Based on your dog's health, your veterinarian may suggest a change in diet or lifestyle. It may be recommended that your dog increase his water intake to remain hydrated throughout the day. 

Prevention of vomiting yellow foam in your dog starts with early recognition of his symptoms. Your veterinarian will have suggestions to maintain his health and be able to diagnose any possible medical conditions. Being extra vigilant with your dog's surroundings is highly recommended if your dog is known to enjoy chewing on and swallowing foreign matter such as rocks or toys. This will allow you to catch any issues early on and tell your veterinarian.

Cost of Vomiting Yellow Foam

If your pet’s vomiting of yellow foam is the result of gastroenteritis, treatment will average around $800, depending on the severity and whether you follow the treatment instructions properly. Should the vomiting yellow foam  be the result of pancreatitis, the cost will be significantly greater, averaging $2,200. Should the vomiting of yellow foam be the result of intestinal obstruction, the cost will be the most significant at an average of $3,000. Treatment costs in the case of having an empty stomach being the cause of vomiting yellow foam are minimal and will mainly involve lifestyle changes such as breaking down the portion fed to the dog throughout the day. Regardless of the condition, the cost of treatment will vary based on the location and its cost of living.