If your dog is coughing up white foam, you are probably concerned, and rightfully so. 

This can indicate a number of different possible health problems with your pet. In this article, we’ll go over some of the reasons for this and what you can do about it.

White Foam vs. Normal Vomit

It is important to keep in mind that white foam is different from the regular vomit that your dog might expel from its body. “Normal” vomit usually appears somewhat chunky and is usually caused by your dog eating something that didn’t sit right with them. It can also be caused by eating too much of something.

White foam is typically not related to food, but rather some other health issue with your dog that needs to be identified. There are several different things that it could be, so you’ll, therefore, want to know to learn about the possible causes. This will help you to understand what is really going on with your canine companion.

Reasons Your Dog is Coughing up White Foam

1. They Swallowed Something They Shouldn’t Have

When a dog starts expelling white foam from its mouth, it is often because they ingested something that is inedible. This can be anything from part of a dog toy to a piece of wood. Certain foods or liquids that are toxic to dogs can also produce this reaction. It is basically your pet’s way of rejecting whatever went into their body.

2. Grass

It could be if simply your dog has eaten too much grass or has chosen wrong one. If you see grass in the foam you shouldn’t worry much.

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dog coughing with white foam e1582983025984

3. Acid Reflux

Some dogs have problems with acid reflux, which can be quite severe and even life-threatening over the long term. If your dog’s gastrointestinal tract is aggravated by the presence of stomach acid, they might cough up white foam.

If you have a dog with acid reflux, you can try breaking up its meals into four or five smaller portions throughout each day. Eating a lot of food at once can actually make this condition worse for your dog, so you’ll want to keep that in mind. It is also important to avoid giving your dog any human foods that are highly acidic, such as oranges and other citrus fruits.

4. Bloat

A condition that is known as “bloat” causes a dog’s stomach to fill with gas, and it sometimes results in coughing up white foam. Sometimes their stomach will be filled with food or liquid, which can be equally concerning.

Some of the other common symptoms of bloat in dogs include:

  • Distended abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Pale gums
  • Excessive drooling and coughing
  • Constipation

If you notice these symptoms with your dog, you’ll want to get them right to the vet. You don’t want to take any chances, as this condition can be fatal if it is left untreated. The more swollen your dog’s abdomen becomes, the more difficult it is for their heart to get enough blood.

5. Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a term used to describe an upper respiratory infection that dogs often pick up from other canines in a kennel, hence the name. This infection is easily spread from one dog to another, but it typically does not require any special treatment.

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Some of the common symptoms of kennel cough to look out for include:

  • Sneezing
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Runny nose
  • Lack of appetite

If these symptoms persist for more than 10 days, you should take your dog to the vet. While it is fairly uncommon, kennel cough can become very serious and even life-threatening. Your vet may prescribe a medication to combat the infection.

6. Parvovirus

Parvovirus is another common explanation for a dog coughing up white vomit. This is a virus that is highly infectious and often fatal without immediate medical attention. It cannot be spread to humans but poses a great threat to the overall health of your pup.

Some of the common symptoms of this viral infection include:

It is imperative that you get your dog to the vet as soon as possible if you notice these symptoms.

red dog pukes on a street

7. Kidney Disease

Problems with your dog’s kidney can also result in coughing up white vomit. The sooner you get them treatment, the more likely they are to live a full life.

Some of the symptoms of kidney disease in dogs include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Increased thirst
  • Lack of appetite

What to Do About Your Dog Coughing up White Foam

If your dog begins coughing up white foam more frequently or the coughing itself becomes worse, you should get them to the vet right away. There could very well be a serious underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed.

Sometimes treatment is not necessary, such as with kennel cough. In this case, you will most likely just have to wait for the coughing to pass.

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Make sure that you keep a close eye on your dog and monitor their condition throughout each day. If your dog seems to be getting worse in any way, you’ll want to get them looked at immediately. The last thing you want to do is put off taking your dog to the vet if you have a real reason to be concerned for their wellbeing.

Conclusion

  • White foam looks different from normal vomit in both color and consistency. 
  • Regular vomit usually means your dog ate food that didn’t agree with them, whereas white foam usually indicates an underlying medical problem.
  • Sometimes a dog will cough up white vomit if it swallowed something they shouldn’t have, like a piece of plastic or wood.
  • Acid reflux can also cause dogs to cough up white foam. It is a serious condition that needs to be dealt with properly.
  • Kennel cough is an infection that may seem very serious, but it usually clears up on its own without a week or so.
  • Parvovirus is an incredibly serious viral infection that is potentially life-threatening if treatment is not rendered quickly.
  • If your dog is coughing up white foam, they could have kidney disease. The sooner you get them treatment, the better off they will be.
  • Take your dog to the vet right away if their coughing worsens or increases in frequency.
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