When your dog throws up foamy yellow vomit, should you be worried? To figure out how to best help your dog, you need to understand yellow bile vomit.
What Is Yellow Bile Vomit?
When your dog throws up a foamy, yellow, or greenish puddle, that’s bile vomit. It doesn’t usually smell bad, but it may be gooey or mucousy. And it’s quite common in dogs. Most of the time, it’s nothing to worry about. But there are some times when you might need a vet visit.
Bile comes from the liver and gallbladder. Its job is to break down fats and oils in the small intestine. It helps your dog absorb nutrients, and is produced continuously. Bile helps to prepare for digestion and is essential in small amounts.
But if too much bile accumulates, then your dog will feel uncomfortable. And then he will vomit.
Reasons For Bile Vomit
There are three common reasons why your dog might puke bile:
1. Empty Stomach AKA Hunger Pukes
If your dog hasn’t eaten or eaten enough, he might have too much bile built up. Your dog’s digestive system will release bile and enzymes, even if he hasn’t eaten. The bile irritates his stomach lining and cause him to throw up. You won’t see any food in the vomit, because it happens when his stomach is empty. This often happens overnight and he’ll throw up when he wakes up.
It’s known as bilious vomiting syndrome … or many people just call it hunger pukes.
What To Do About Hunger Pukes
To reduce this type of vomiting, feed your dog more frequent, smaller meals. And make sure he gets a bedtime snack so he has some food in his stomach overnight.
2. Eating Kibble
Kibble can suck up moisture and dry out the digestive tract. This causes your dog’s stomach to produce too much acid. And then you’ll see bile vomit.
What To Do If Kibble Causes Bile Vomit
To avoid bile vomit from eating kibble, divide your dog’s meals into 3 or 4 smaller meals during the day, instead of once or twice.
Or, even better, switch your dog from kibble onto a fresh, whole food, raw diet. You’ll likely see his digestive issues go away.
3. Food Sensitivities
If your dog has food sensitivities, they’ll cause inflammation in his digestive tract. This inflammation is called gastritis, and you might see bile vomiting. He might also get diarrhea … and you may see undigested food in his poop.
You may also see your dog eating grass and then throwing it up along with bile. He’s trying to soothe his stomach.
What To Do About Gastritis Bile Vomit
The best thing to do is fast your dog for 24 hours to give his digestive system a break. (Caution: don’t fast puppies under 6 months). Another option is to feed only bone broth for 24-48 hours.
You’ll also want to figure out what food is causing the sensitivity. Keeping a food diary can help you get to the bottom of this.
Natural Solutions For Yellow Bile Vomit
Canine herbalist Rita Hogan recommends 4 herbs to help your dog with yellow bile vomit. Choose the one that seems to fit your dog’s symptoms the best.
Meadowsweet is good for dogs with acidity in the stomach, over-reactivity, and pain. It’s also indicated for dogs who are cool, thin, and lacking vitality.
Use a meadowsweet tincture. Dilute 1 drop for every 10 pounds in a small amount of water and give twice a day before eating.
Marshmallow root soothes the gastrointestinal tract and reduces inflammation. You can give capsules twice daily with food – ½ a capsule for small dogs, 1 for medium to large dogs, and 3 capsules broken up into two sessions – 2 in the morning and one at night – for extra large dogs.
Chamomile helps reduce muscle spasms and inflammation. It’s soothing and helps stop acid and bile reflux. Make an infusion by steeping 2 Tbsp in 1 cup of almost boiling water for 30 minutes, then cool and strain. This can be given 2-3 times a day. Extra small dogs get 1-2 tsp, small dogs get 3 tsp, large dogs get 1-2 Tbsp, and extra-large dogs get 3-4 Tbsp.
Licorice is another herb that’s helpful for a dog who has been vomiting bile. It also helps with heartburn. You can give your dog a licorice glycerin extract twice a day on an empty stomach for up to 10 days during an active bile vomiting episode. Give extra small dogs 3 drops, small dogs 5 drops, medium dogs 8 drops, large dogs 12 drops, and extra-large 15 drops.
When It’s Time To Go To The Veterinarian
In most cases, yellow bile is nothing to worry about. But if you see other symptoms, you may need to get your dog to the vet. Here are some symptoms and possible causes.
If your dog is vomiting bile AND has constipation OR can’t keep fluids down, it’s time to bring him to the vet. It’s possible he has an intestinal blockage from eating something he shouldn’t have.
Bloat or gastric dilatation and volvulus is a deadly condition. The stomach fills with gas and may twist, This closes it off at both ends. If your dog has some of these symptoms, don’t delay in getting him to a vet.
- Vomiting yellow or white foam, or trying unsuccessfully to vomit
- Agitation (panting, whining or pacing)
- Head hanging
- Stiff movement
- Shaking or shivering
- Bloated abdomen
- Abdominal discomfort or pain
If you ever suspect bloat in your dog, it’s a true emergency. Get to the vet immediately.
Yellow bile vomiting may be a sign your dog has pancreatitis. Dogs with pancreatitis can’t digest fatty foods, and they’ll be lethargic, with reduced appetite, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and spasms. If you see these symptoms, bring him to the vet. Acute pancreatitis needs veterinary care.
Chronic Bile Vomiting
If your dog frequently is yellow bile vomiting, and that doesn’t resolve with any of the above solutions, he may have a more serious condition. If your dog has other chronic digestive symptoms or shows signs of loss of appetite, fever, weight loss, dehydration, or lethargy, it’s a good idea to get him examined by your vet.
But most of the time, your dog vomits bile and then happily goes on with his day – and then you shouldn’t need the vet.