Dog Throwing Up Yellow – How Worried You Should Be?

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
It's common for dogs to experience some stomach issues, but vomiting yellow... How often does it happen? Is it something that you should stress about? Read on and discover.

Dogs do vomit. This may not be the most pleasant scene, but is something that happens.

Dogs are major foodies, and they will have a bit of everything. This means that they are no strangers to tasting something from the trash can as well.

It’s just how they are created – they get mesmerized by different smells and are eager to taste everything.

Often, they will eat something that will disturb their stomach that same day or the following morning.

White bile is something that is frequently seen in dogs when they vomit. In most cases, they will try to find the perfect grass outdoors to help them clean their stomach.

Vomiting once from time to time is usually linked with an upset stomach. However, repeated vomiting is something that should be addressed properly.

Dogs often vomit clear bile, white, or brown. Sometimes they may even vomit yellow bile, which can be or not foamy.

You know how to deal with clear bile and what to expect, but you are not sure what yellow bile stands for?

Causes for yellow bile may vary from dog to dog, but in most cases, reasons for this are very common.

Why Do Dogs Vomit Yellow Bile?

Yellow vomit is made of stomach acids and bile. The very basic thing that you should know about yellow vomit usually indicates that your dog’s stomach is empty of food.

Yellow color always comes from bile, a digestive fluid that is produced in the liver. This fluid is stored in the gall bladder.

From there it’s released into the small intestine which is located below the stomach.

It may even happen for a dog to vomit yellow bile because his stomach is empty. In this case, bile can be irritating.

If your dog is in general healthy and he is eating and has no issues toilet-wise, it may help him reduce the time in between meals. However, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that your dog should be feed more.

In fact, one meal should just be organized differently. One meal should be split into two or three smaller portions. This way you will make feeding more frequent.

Learn how much you should feed your dog and how to avoid bloat if you have a large dog breed.

Still, feeding style and its frequency are just one side of possible causes. In reality, when a dog started vomiting intensely, no matter the color of the vomit, you want to contact your veterinarian immediately.

Whenever you notice issues health-wise in your dog, you might contact your veterinarian early on.

Reacting fast can save you future trouble, frequent veterinarian visits, and additional expenses (this is why many dog owners think about getting pet insurance).

Dog Vomiting Yellow

No matter how healthy your dog is, you cannot expect him to be healthy during his whole life.

It’s important when an illness occurs, to discover the cause. This is why veterinarians constantly communicate how important it is to know and monitor your dog’s behavior and body language.

By knowing your dog’s routine and daily behavior you are actually learning about his well-being and overall health.

So, when your dog starts vomiting yellow, it’s crucial to seek out the resource of the issue.

To truly understand the vomiting in dogs, it’s crucial to know the following clues:

  • Color of the bile
  • Vomiting frequency
  • Vomiting consistency

Knowing this information will help your veterinarian set a better diagnosis. Let’s elaborate on these clues further on.

Dog Vomiting Yellow: The Color

If your dog vomits yellow, it means that he is expelling bile. This is produced in the liver as a natural digestive fluid.

When digestion happens, bile goes through the gallbladder and into the small intestines.

During this process, bile helps break down food and sends nutrients throughout the body.

Yellow bile will often present itself in vomit as a thick or foamy liquid. There are a few reasons why yellow bile may appear.

1. Your Dog’s Stomach Is Empty

As mentioned earlier yellow bile may appear when your dog’s stomach is empty.

If your dog’s meals are well structured, your dog may be hungry. When a dog hasn’t eaten in a while some natural processes will kick in. Therefore, bile will begin to irritate your dog’s stomach lining.

As result, this irritation may induce vomiting and lead to bilious vomiting syndrome. In this case, bile will appear in yellow as an occasional occurrence.

2. Food Allergies

Dogs can get allergies just like humans do. Did you know that some dogs can even be allergic to gluten? This is another area where knowing your dog’s normal behavior can actually save his life.

Mastering your dog’s everyday behavior will give you a better insight into behavior that isn’t as common. Therefore you will be faster to notice when your dog is in any kind of pain or disturbance.

In many cases, vomiting in dogs can be caused by different food allergens.

Common dog allergies usually include the following items:

  • Egg
  • Gluten
  • Corn
  • Lamb
  • Fish
  • Soy
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Dairy

Whenever you decide to switch dog food make sure that you do it gradually.

Switching from raw to commercial food can lead to an upset stomach and vice versa. Some dogs are more sensitive than others when it comes to their diet.

Sometimes they may react to food change through vomiting. The main reason for this is because their stomach is upset.

Dogs and allergies have an unusual link – they may be eating the same food for years, and suddenly develop an allergy.

Plus, some external factors can trigger dog allergies.

3. Grass

You have probably noticed that dogs tend to eat grass here and there. Sometimes they may have just a bite of it and later on vomit for a long time.

In other cases, they may chew a huge amount of it, but present only a small amount of bile, or not at all. It’s no secret that dogs are huge foodies and that they love to have a bite of everything.

In fact, they are such passionate eaters that they tend to get to know the world by tasting it.

The biggest issue with this practice is that dogs tend to pick something else with grass as well.

For example, the feces of other animals are often grass-based. These remains can easily lead to many health issues and disturbances in your dog.

There could also be some food remains that can easily disturb your dog’s stomach.

All in, if your dog keeps on eating the grass when in the walk, but his diet is well-organized, then it may be a sign that your dog isn’t getting enough nutrients from his food.

If this is the case, you should check with your veterinarian what you can do in terms of nutrition.

4. Heatstroke and Car Sickness

Heatstroke is a condition that is more frequent in breeds with flat faces than in other breeds. This condition is something that occurs during the summertime.

If you’re based somewhere where hot weather is almost an all-year-round occurrence, you should know how to protect your dog during the hot summer days and at night.

Excessive heat and strong dehydration can lead to strong heatstroke in dogs.

Also, this should go without saying, but never leave your dog in a car alone – make sure that you leave your dog at home before you start running your errands.

Also, do not leave your dog in front of the store, in hot weather, while you are doing last-minute shopping. Plus, some dogs may enjoy long carr ides, while some dogs cannot bear being in a moving vehicle for more than 15 minutes.

The main reason for this lies in the fact that dogs with an empty stomach may be prone to car sickness.

So, if you find your dog vomiting yellow bile inside your vehicle consider car sickness as one of the causes of vomiting.

What To Do When Dog Vomiting is a Symptom?

Yellow vomiting is common in certain situations. In most cases, it’s not a big flag for concern. However, from time to time yellow vomiting can be a big sign of gastrointestinal issues and a symptom of a bigger issue.

Although in some cases, yellow vomiting may not be the primary issue, in the majority of cases it can be a side-effect of specific issues. This is why it’s crucial to search for other symptoms next to yellow vomiting.

Potential Medical Concerns

If your dog starts vomiting, and you notice grass in the foam, you should keep your dog away from the lawn area. Or at least you should carefully monitor his moving.

If vomiting yellow isn’t the only symptom, you should inform your veterinarian of every occurrence.

If your dog demonstrates any of the following symptoms next to vomiting yellow, you might take your dog to the veterinarian’s office as soon as possible:

  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Any color on dog’s skin
  • Any change of the gums

In the majority of cases, the main reasons for this occurrence may be linked with a sudden change in terms of diet or environment.

In some dogs, this may be occurring due to stress or even side effects from medication. However, these symptoms may also be indicators of some serious medical issues, as follows.

1. Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is commonly listed as a major cause of yellow vomiting. Dogs are sensitive to fatty food, no matter how healthy it may be for them.

No matter how healthy something may be, when taken in large amounts it can lead to stomach disturbance, both in humans and dogs.

In dogs, when a large amount of food that’s rich in oil or fats is ingested, the pancreas can become inflamed. If this is the case, yellow vomiting will appear in the first five days.

Pancreatitis is commonly followed by symptoms such as diarrhea and extreme abdominal pain.

2. Gastrointestinal Troubles

Yellow vomiting can often be a cause of extreme digestive distress. In most cases, it can be an indicator of intestinal parasites, liver disease, and certain GI cancers.

Yellow vomiting can also be a sign of stomach ulcers and IBD (inflammatory bowel disease).

These conditions can only be possible when yellow vomiting is followed by many other symptoms, such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Vomiting blood
  • Weight loss

In some dogs, yellowing of the skin, including gums may appear as well.

3. Blockage in the Intestines

Dogs are big foodies. They will have a bit of anything if allowed. No matter how much you try to keep harmful food from Fido’s reach, he might still grab something that he shouldn’t.

That being said, in some extreme cases, yellow vomit may be a clear indicator that your dog had something beyond his regular food.

Have you ever heard of dogs not only chewing, but also swallowing certain non-chewable items, such as socks, rocks, silverware, and so on.

As expected these items are far from being welcome by your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.

In fact, when dogs ingest something that isn’t food, it may be hard to remove and very often will require surgery to remove.

How To Prevent Vomiting In Dogs

The best way to avoid any unusual condition in your dog is to monitor your dog and provide proper nutrition. This can also be a great way to keep your dog away from certain items he should never eat, lick, or chew.

Of course, there is no one-step solution to keep your dog from vomiting, but you can at least try to prevent it.

Here is how to minimize the risks of vomiting in dogs:

  • Have regular veterinarian check-ups when recommended by your veterinarian
  • Stick to parasite control schedule
  • Provide a high-quality food
  • Keep treats to a minimum and serve the best possible
  • Keep any toxins such as plants, chemicals, and human food out of reach
  • Prevent your dog from licking, eating, and chewing anything dangerous

The Bottom Line

Dogs go through different health conditions throughout their lives. Just like humans, they will have better and worse days. Therefore, it’s not possible to prevent vomiting completely, but it’s possible to minimize it.

If you notice any signs of illness, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Do not delay it, because it can just make it worse.

Whenever you are in doubt regarding your dog’s health, make sure that you go to the nearest veterinary office if your veterinarian is too far.