10 Possible Reasons Your Dog Is Throwing up Yellow Liquid

If your dog is throwing up yellow liquid, you're likely wondering what is going on. Did your dog eat something yellow, or is that yellow liquid actually bile?

10 Possible Reasons Your Dog Is Throwing up Yellow Liquid

If your dog is throwing up yellow liquid, you're likely wondering what is going on. Did your dog eat something yellow, or is that yellow liquid actually bile?

Yellow vomiting in dogs can have various causes.

sanjagrujic via Getty Images, image created via Canva

What's up With Dogs Vomiting Yellow Liquid?

Your dog's paws go pitter-patter across the floor; suddenly, they stop in their tracks, and the sound turns into that all-too-familiar sound of retching and gagging. Next thing you know, your dog has vomited up yellow fluid.

Suddenly the bells indicating "alarm!" go off in your brain and you're wondering what would cause such an unusual color.

Is your dog's yellow puke just something your dog just ate? Or is this a sign of a more serious health issue? Undoubtedly, that yellow hue is quite a mystery!

In this article, veterinarian Dr. Ivana Crnec, a licensed veterinarian graduate of the University Sv. Kliment Ohridski’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Bitola, Republic of Macedonia, will unravel several causes of yellow vomiting in dogs and will discuss possible treatments.

Why Is My Dog's Vomit Yellow?

A dog’s vomit can be yellow-colored for two specific reasons. First, if the dog eats something that is distinctly yellow, and second, if the vomit contains bile.

There are many reasons why the vomit might contain bile. Before we go in-depth into the possible reasons, let’s explain what bile is, where it is produced, and what it does.

What Is Bile?

Bile is a yellow (yellowish-green) fluid that helps with digestion. Bile is secreted in the liver, and once produced, it is stored in the gallbladder. From the gallbladder, it is injected into the small intestine.

What's the Function of Bile?

Bile is released into the intestine following each meal, and it participates in food breakdown (more specifically, it breaks down fats into fatty acids).

Proper food breakdown is vital for optimal digestion and better absorption of nutrients.

When Do Dogs Vomit Bile?

Dogs vomiting bile usually occurs on an empty stomach.

Therefore, dogs are most likely to vomit yellow (bile) either halfway through the night or early in the morning when the stomach is empty.

Bile is a common cause of yellow vomiting in dogs

10 Causes of Dogs Throwing up Yellow

As explained, throwing up yellow bile can be caused by many issues. Here is a close look at the possible causes and their treatments.

1. Bilious Vomiting Syndrome

Bilious vomiting syndrome (or shortly BVS) is a scientific term that describes the vomiting of yellow fluid or froth. The vomited fluid is yellow due to the presence of bile.

The phenomenon usually occurs after fasting—when the stomach is empty for a longer period of time. In such situations, the bile and other digestive juices irritate the stomach lining and thus causes vomiting.

Since the stomach needs to be empty for bilious vomiting syndrome to develop, it is most common early in the morning or sometime between dinner and breakfast.

Luckily, the treatment is simple—introduce shorter fasting periods. This can be achieved by giving the dog multiple smaller meals throughout the day and introducing a new, late-night meal.

2. Dietary Indiscretions

Dietary indiscretions in dogs are widespread. The term is used to describe the dog’s lack of judgment when it comes to what is edible and what is not.

In other terms, it indicates eating non-edible items or food items that have gone bad (even garbage).

Dietary indiscretions are marked by severe stomach upset that results in issues like vomiting and diarrhea. Milder cases of dietary indiscretions can go away on their own.

However, in more severe cases, veterinary attention is warranted. It is also important to prevent such indiscretions—some dogs are more likely to indulge in such accidents than others.

3. Allergies

Another possible cause of vomiting yellow in dogs is an allergy, which continue to be more and more prevalent in dogs.

Unlike humans, who manifest allergies mostly in the form of skin problems, dogs develop problems with vomiting and diarrhea.

Dogs can be allergic to many foods and ingredients, including beef, chicken, fish, dairy, grains, etc.

Diagnosing allergies in dogs is complicated and lengthy. If and when the offending foods are identified, management is simple, as it involves removing them from the menu. However, in many cases, this is easier said than done.

4. Gastrointestinal Disorders

Many gastrointestinal disorders can result in yellow throw up. Some of the more common culprits include inflammatory bowel disease, bacterial infections, viral infections, parasites, ulcers, etc.

One of the most common parasitic causes is Giardia. Giardia is a small germ found in water, food, and soil contaminated with feces from infected animals. In dogs, Giardia infections are common and almost always result in vomiting bile.

Giardia is extremely contagious among dogs. The good news is that it is easy to prevent—as all it takes is regular deworming. The treatment of Giardia include two medications, fenbendazole (as an antiparasitic medication) and metronidazole (an antibiotic).

5. Intestinal Blockages

Dogs love chewing on items and can accidentally swallow either pieces or whole items, like dog toys, bones, rocks, etc. These foreign bodies may block the dog’s intestines resulting in an intense clinical manifestation that includes vomiting.

Intestinal blockages in dogs are a life-threatening situation. If the foreign object is stuck, the vet will have to perform surgery to remove the object and contain the local damage.

However, the surgery is often risky, and the recovery is slow and challenging.

6. Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is the medical term for inflammation of the pancreas. It can be acute or chronic, and is associated with high-fat foods. Dogs develop pancreatitis if they overeat a fatty food or if frequently given such foods in small amounts.

Pancreatitis causes loss of appetite, vomiting, lethargy, and an extremely painful abdomen. Unless treated promptly, bouts of acute pancreatitis can be fatal.

It should be noted that preventing pancreatitis is much easier than managing a dog with acute or chronic pancreatitis.

7. Liver Disease/Gallbladder Issues

Dogs can also vomit bile if suffering from liver and/or gallbladder diseases. Liver disease in dogs manifests with vomiting, diarrhea, appetite loss, and even neurological issues like seizures.

Dogs with liver disease also develop jaundice (yellow skin, eyes, and mucous membranes).

The most common gallbladder issue in dogs is cholecystitis or inflammation. The inflammation often spreads from the gallbladder to the bile duct’s surrounding branches and liver.

The condition is usually managed with medications. In severe cases, surgery (to remove the gallbladder) might be indicated.

8. Endocrine Disorders

Vomiting bile is also possible in dogs with endocrine disorders. Vomiting is most likely in dogs with Addison’s disease. Addison’s disease (hypoadrenocorticism) is when the adrenal glands do not produce enough corticosteroid hormones.

To manage the symptoms, dogs with Addison’s disease need lifelong medication with the drug desoxycorticosterone pivalate (DOCP).

DOCP is FDA-approved for dogs and is given as an injection every three to four weeks.

Other endocrine conditions that may result in frequent vomiting (yellow-colored or otherwise) are Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism or overactive adrenal gland) and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland).

9. Toxin Exposure

Dogs are curious creatures, and more often than not, they get exposed to toxins. Many human foods and household chemicals are toxic to dogs. In case of accidental ingestion, dogs become intoxicated.

The signs and symptoms depend on the specific type of ingested toxin. However, vomiting is a universal red flag and occurs with most forms of intoxication.

All toxin exposures are considered an emergency and require veterinary care.

For some toxins, there are specific antidotes, and for others, the treatment is only supportive—intravenous fluids, detoxification, and symptom management.

10. Eating Something Yellow

As previously mentioned, sometimes a dog may vomit yellow after eating something that is colored yellow.

When to See the Vet if My Dog Is Vomiting Bile?

Isolated incidents of vomiting yellow/bile are usually not worrisome. Dogs are prone to throwing up, and if their stomach is empty prior to vomiting, it is likely to be yellow.

However, if your dog is throwing up yellow frequently, it is critical to see your vet as soon as possible.

You must also seek veterinary attention if other signs and symptoms like appetite loss, diarrhea, blood in the stool, nausea, weakness, fever, etc, accompany the vomiting.

How Can I Prevent My Dog From Throwing up Yellow?

There is no single way that prevents your dog from throwing up yellow. However, there are several things owners can do to decrease the risk of vomiting.

Vomiting is not 100% preventable, but the following tips are definitely worth trying.

Feed the Right Diet

It is vital that you provide your dog with the right type of food and nutrients. Feeding them the right diet will help your dog grow and support overall health.

Organize Planned Meals

Having an empty stomach can be the cause of vomiting. In such cases, instead of one or two big meals, you should give them several smaller meals.

Store Dangerous Items Out of Reach

Many human items and foods are dangerous or even toxic to dogs. To prevent dietary indiscretions, they must be kept out of the dog’s reach.

Practice Regular Vet Checkups

Last but not least, practice regular vet checkups. This ensures early diagnosis and keeping your dog up to date on vaccines and dewormers.

Should I Worry if My Dog Is Throwing up Yellow?

Occasional yellow vomiting is nothing to be worried about—in fact, it can be quite normal. However, if your dog is throwing up yellow frequently or is showing other signs, schedule a vet visit and get to the bottom of the problem.

Some causes of yellow vomiting are more serious than others and require proper treatment. Others are less serious, and some can be prevented with minor dietary changes.

Even if the underlying cause is benign, it is important to deal with the problem. Remember that vomiting is uncomfortable for the dog and usually distressing for the owner.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2023 Adrienne Farricelli


(Excluding for the Headline, this article ("story") has not been edited by MiBiz News and is published from a web feed or sourced from the Internet.)