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Why Is My Dog Vomiting Bile?

What Throwing Up Means for GI Health

By August 10 | See Comments

Why Is My Dog Vomiting Bile?

Is your dog throwing up bile? That could be a sign of a serious underlying health condition.

It's rather common for a dog to throw up. When they feel sick, you can often find them trying to eat grass growing in your yard or somewhere else as that will cause a natural reaction in their body that leads to them vomiting.

However, if your dog is throwing up regularly or if your dog is throwing up bile (in contrast to something they ate), that's a sign of a potential health issue and it needs to be looked into further.

It's considered normal in most situations for your dog to throw up food that they have consumed along with non-food items they may have gotten ahold of. In this case, they are ridding their system of something that their body is having trouble digesting. Just like humans get sick from time to time, this usually is not a big deal.

But, it is time to worry if your dog isn't throwing up something they ate and they are instead throwing up bile.

What Is Bile?

Bile comes out with a yellow foamy appearance, but it can also be yellow-green in color. In either case, what you see on your floor is most likely bile, and it calls for a vet trip right away.

Bile is produced in the liver and then stored in the gall bladder. It is released into the small intestine during the digestive process to help the body break food down. Bile is necessary to help the body digest and utilize food property.

Why Is My Dog Throwing Up Bile?

In general, there are five reasons why your dog may be throwing up bile. A professional veterinarian should be called in to identify what may be causing your dog's vomiting.

#1 Bilious Vomiting Syndrome

This is caused by bile leaking into the stomach by the small intestine. If your dog doesn't eat for a while, they may experience this. Consuming large amounts of fatty foods can also cause bilious vomiting syndrome. In addition, eating a lot of grass and/or drinking a lot of water can lead to this condition.

To avoid bilious vomiting syndrome, feed your dog a healthy and balanced diet and be sure that they are eating regularly. Make sure they always have access to clean, fresh water so they do not go through phases of dehydration and then over-replenish when they finally get access to water again.

If your dog is suffering from this condition, take your dog to the vet so they can be certain of the cause and also confirm that your dog isn't experiencing any underlying disease or long-term condition that could adversely effect their health. You'll likely receive advice (and potentially medication) to prevent or lessen vomiting.

#2 GI Diseases

Parasitic infections, certain cancers, ulcers, and inflammatory diseases all fall under the category of gastro-intestinal diseases. Causes vary, but some breeds are predisposed to GI diseases, including: bulldogs, toy breeds, poodles, and retrievers.

These diseases all have varying signs, symptoms, and causes. It's important that you take your dog to their veterinarian so that they can be inspected for the many different symptoms they may be exhibiting. Your vet will also run tests under certain circumstances and ask you for background information on their breed and lifestyle so they can help identify the condition your dog is suffering from.

Until the condition is identified, your veterinarian may give you something to give your dog to prevent or lessen the vomiting in the meantime. Once a condition has been identified, your vet will be able to answer your questions about it and present the solutions you have to help make your dog healthy again.

#3 Pancreatitis

This is described as inflammation of the pancreas and it's caused by the ingestion of fatty foods. Intense stomach pain and diarrhea usually result in combination with bilious vomiting.

Your dog's high-fat diet will also affect them in other detrimental ways, and that's why it's important to address your dog's nutrition and be certain that it is balanced. If your vet identifies pancreatitis within your dog, it is important that you rethink what you are feeding them.

Consider the fat content in their food and, if it is high in fat, be sure to switch to a lower fat brand that won't further inflame or irritate their pancreas. Ask your vet for recommendations on what (and how much) you should be feeding to avoid pancreatitis in your dog's future.

#4 Intestinal Blockages

When ingested, toys and bones can lead to a blockage within your dog's intestinal tract that, in turn, causes bilious vomiting. Severe abdominal pain and an extreme lack of energy usually accompany the vomiting. Veterinary attention will most certainly be required and you should take your dog in for an exam immediately.

If an intestinal blockage goes unaddressed, it can result in fatality. Surgery will often be required to extract the object causing the blockage and then your dog will be given some medications to manage inflammation, pain, and promote healing in the weeks to come following surgery.

Full recovery can be expected if the issue is addressed appropriately and surgery is successful.

#5 Allergies

Bilious vomiting can occasionally be the result of a food allergy. If you have recently changed your dog's food or given them table scraps that they don't normally get, this might be the cause of their bilious vomiting. Beef, dairy, egg, chicken, and corn are common food allergies dogs may experience.

Your dog can also develop an allergy to an ingredient that they have ingested without issue in the past. The best way to identify and address a potential allergy is to take your dog to the vet. You should also monitor their reaction and behavior and keep track of everything they consume if you suspect they may be allergic to something.

Monitoring for reactions will help you identify what they may have an allergy to and, in turn, it will allow you to prevent an allergic reaction in the future by removing that food or ingredient from their diet.

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