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Dog Vomiting Yellow? 12 Possible Causes

Written by FOTP Team

Updated

It can be very distressing to see your dog vomiting yellow bile, but it's important you know what it is and how to deal with it.

If your dog is throwing up yellow bile, it might simply be because they have an empty stomach, and the gastric acids are causing irritation to the stomach lining. However, it’s important to avoid dismissing yellow bile as a sign that your dog is hungry as there are some other possible causes. A yellow foreign object or substance that your dog has eaten might be the culprit, or it could be a sign of a more serious condition such as indigestion, bilious vomiting syndrome, or liver disease. 

If your dog is vomiting yellow, you should keep a close eye on them for other signs and symptoms such as weakness, lethargy, and a loss of appetite.

What Does Yellow Dog Vomit Mean?

Vomit that is yellow in colour will generally consist of bile and stomach acids. Stomach acids, which are produced in the stomach play an important role in helping with digestion while bile, which is stored in the liver further assists with digestion by entering the duodenum, which is located just past the stomach.

What Causes Yellow Bile Vomit in Dogs?

When a dog vomits a yellow liquid, there could be a simple explanation - their stomach is empty. If that is the case the gastric acids can cause irritation to the lining of the stomach, which in turn causes the dog to vomit. This can explain why some dogs might throw up when they are hungry.

However, there are various other problems that can cause a dog to vomit, so it’s important not to completely dismiss your dog’s yellow bile vomit as a sign of hunger until you have investigated the cause further. 

In some cases, for example, your dog might have yellow vomit if they have eaten something they shouldn’t that is yellow in colour, and they are struggling to digest it. Along with this, there are many other potential reasons for why your dog might be vomiting yellow bile. This can include:

  • Indigestion
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Gastrointestinal obstruction
  • GI inflammation such as pancreatitis
  • Bilious vomiting syndrome
  • Infectious disease
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Gallbladder problems

In many cases, the vomiting will resolve by itself and will be little cause for concern. However, it’s important to bear in mind that any kind of vomiting can be a sign of a more serious illness, particularly if it happens frequently.

What to Do if Dog Vomits Yellow

If you notice your dog bringing up yellow bile as a one-off, it’s usually not a concern. Keep a close eye on your dog for other symptoms and signs such as diarrhoea, lethargy, weakness, and a loss of appetite. If your dog seems to be normal, then keep an eye out for other signs of vomiting. 

If the vomiting continues, you should skip your dog’s next meal and continue to keep an eye on them. After skipping one meal, offer the next one and continue to keep watching for more vomiting and other signs of illness.

 

If your dog vomits more than twice over a twenty-four-hour period or if daily vomiting continues for a few days, it’s time to contact your vet. You should also take your dog to the vet if you notice any other signs of illness.

How to Stop My Dog from Vomiting Yellow Bile

In most cases, vomiting yellow will be a one-off occurrence that will not be a huge cause for concern. However, if your dog needs to be seen by a vet, your vet will first perform a thorough examination of the dog. Speak to your vet about your dog’s short- and long-term medical history, including any information about their current diet and medications. Remember to share any information on anything that you think your dog might have eaten such as dangerous foods, plants, or chemicals. 

If your dog stops vomiting by themselves, great news. If they continue vomiting go to the vet and they will prescribe the best treatment which might range from X-rays, urine tests, and ultrasounds, but your vet will know best.

Why Dogs Vomit Yellow and Long Term tips for Prevention

There are various causes of vomiting in dogs, including the following:

  1. Viral Infections: Parvovirus, leptospirosis, and hepatitis are all conditions that can lead to vomiting. It’s important to make sure that your dog is regularly vaccinated against these diseases. 
  2. Travel Sickness: Dogs can sometimes suffer from motion sickness when they travel in the car, which can cause them to vomit. Puppies tend to be more affected than adult dogs. 
  3. Toxicity: Ingesting a toxic item can lead to digestive upset. There are various things that are poisonous to dogs, including medications meant for humans, plants like daffodil bulbs, and chocolate. 
  4. Parasites: High parasite numbers could lead to stomach upset in dogs, which is another reason to conduct regular and routine parasite control. 
  5. Pancreatitis: This is a serious condition in which the pancreas becomes painful and inflamed. The pancreas is a small organ that is involved in the digestion of fat.  
  6. Metabolic Conditions: Issues with the function of the liver or kidneys can lead to nausea and sickness in dogs. 
  7. Gastric Dilatation-volvulus: This is an emergency condition where the stomach first bloats and then twists on itself. This can lead dogs to make several attempts to try and vomit, but nothing will be brought up. 
  8. Foreign Body: Your dog eating and swallowing an indigestible item such as toys, bones, and other items could become lodged in your dog’s digestive tract and lead to vomiting. 
  9. Food Allergies or Sensitivities: An allergy or sensitivity to certain food ingredients can lead to irritation in your dog’s digestive tract. 
  10. Dietary Indiscretion: Some dogs will eat just about anything, and dogs who raid rubbish, eat discarded food items that they find on walks, or eat poop could suffer from digestive upset. 
  11. Cancer: Cancer might have an impact on the stomach lining, which can lead to ulceration or irritation. It may be due to a mass that has led to a blockage somewhere in the intestines. 
  12. Addison’s Disease: This is a hormonal or endocrine issue that can lead to changes in your dog’s electrolyte levels. This can lead to severe diarrhoea and vomiting in the dog. 

The best way to prevent vomiting in dogs is to keep your dog away from any items that he or she should not chew, lick, or eat. However, there is of course sometimes no way of preventing your dog from vomiting as many illnesses can occur without a known cause. The good news is that there are several things that you can do to reduce the risk of your dog vomiting. These include:

  • Feed your dog a healthy and balanced diet, keeping treats to a minimum
  • Make sure that any chemicals, plants, human foods, and other toxins are kept out of reach of your dog
  • Take your dog to the vet for routine wellness check-ups annually or more often when recommended by your vet
  • Monitor your dog when they are playing with chew toys
  • Prevent your dog from chewing, licking or, eating anything that could be dangerous for them

Should I Feed My Dog After Vomiting Yellow Bile?

Vomiting yellow bile once might be a sign that their stomach is empty, and they are hungry. If there are no other signs and symptoms of illness present, then continue to feed your dog as normal and keep a close eye on them. If your dog was vomiting due to an empty stomach, then it should subside as soon as they eat something. 

On the other hand, you should skip your dog’s next meal if they vomit again. You may also want to consider feeding them something plain like boiled chicken and rice to see if this helps. After skipping one meal, offer your dog their next meal as normal and continue to monitor them. Contact your vet if the vomiting continues or if they are showing other signs and symptoms of being unwell.

We hope this article has provided some helpful guidance on possible causes of dogs vomiting yellow and advice if your dog is experiencing this. Most of the time, a dog vomiting yellow bile is a sign of an empty stomach and will not be a cause for concern. However, it’s important to monitor your dog since it can be a sign of a more serious issue.