Posted by camille arneberg on

My Dog is Vomiting Yellow: What Should I Do?

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As a devoted dog parent, there is nothing worse than seeing your best friend deal with tummy issues. When it comes to your poor dog vomiting, it is easy to get scared and overwhelmed by the internet's answer to your pup's upchuck woes.

However, it is important to stay calm on focus on the facts. What color is the vomit? How often are they throwing up? Has your dog left any evidence of foul play? (Breaking into your sweets stash comes to mind)

For the sake of this article, we are going to focus on how to deal with your dog vomiting yellow. Read on to alleviate all your dog vomiting worries.

    how dogs look when they feel sick

    Possible Meanings Behind Your Dog Vomiting Yellow

    In order to effectively treat any ailment, it is vital to first seek out the source of the issue. Clues such as color, frequency, and consistency are the key unlocking the cause of vomiting in dogs. So when your dog is vomiting yellow, you have your first clue: the color.

    Yellow = Dog Vomiting Bile

    Simply put, when a yellow color is present in your dog's vomit it means they are expelling bile. Bile is a natural digestive fluid that is produced in the liver. Throughout the process of digestion, bile works its way through the gallbladder and into the small intestines. All the while, bile helps break down food and send nutrients to be effectively utilized throughout the body.

    Yellow bile may present itself in vomit as a foamy liquid or a thicker, yellow mucus.

    When bile makes its yellowy debut in your dog's vomit, there are a few reasons that could be the culprit. 

    1. Empty Stomach

    When your dog hasn't eaten in a while, bile can begin to irritate your dog's stomach lining. This irritation can sometimes induce vomiting and is referred to as bilious vomiting syndrome. If an empty stomach is to blame, your dogs' yellow mess will be an occasional occurrence.

    dog with upset stomach

    2. Food Allergies

    Furthermore, vomiting in dogs can often be caused by the introduction of a food allergen. Common dog food allergens include:

    • Dairy
    • Beef
    • Wheat
    • Egg
    • Corn
    • Lamb
    • Rabbit
    • Pork
    • Fish
    • Soy

    Pay special attention to your dog's digestive habits when and if you decide to switch their food. Often times, an abrupt shift in your dog's diet can cause vomiting and an upset stomach.

    Interestingly enough, dogs can suddenly develop allergies to a food they have eaten regularly for years. However, dogs typically develop allergies within one to five years of age. Additionally, changes in their environment, such as moving, can trigger canine allergies. 

    food allergies in dogs

    3. The Grass is Not Always Greener

    Translation: when your dog eats grass it may turn up in a yellow pool of vomit later. Dogs are incredibly curious about the world around them. With this in mind, dogs have a tendency to get to know that world by trying to eat it.

    When on walks or running around the dog park, try to keep your dog from feasting on the earth around them. However, take note if your dog is overdoing it with the trips to the all-you-can-eat salad bar in the soil. Eating grass may be a sign that your dog isn't getting enough nutrients from their food. 

    car getting dog sick

    4. Heatstroke and Car Sickness

    Furthermore, vomiting can be a by-product of environmental factors. For example, excessive heat and dehydration can lead to heatstroke in dogs. It is essential to keep dogs cool and hydrated in the heat. This goes without saying, but never leave your dog in a car alone - just drop them off at home and then run your errands!

    Additionally, dogs can be subject to car and motion sickness just like people. Dogs with an empty stomach may be especially prone to car sickness. If you find your dog specifically vomiting in the car, consider these tips for canine motion sickness treatment.  

    Dog Vomiting Potential Problems

    More often than not, yellow vomit is common in dogs and not a huge cause for concern. However, sometimes gastrointestinal upset in our beloved fur babies can be a symptom of a bigger issue. In other words, your dog's vomit may not be the primary issue at hand, but a side-effect of another matter entirely. Therefore, it is always ideal to keep an eye out for additional symptoms. 

    1. Pancreatitis

    Another cause of yellow vomiting is pancreatitis. Sometimes, when a dog eats too many oily or fatty foods, the pancreas can become inflamed. If this is the case, yellow vomiting will typically occur between one and five days after the unsavory food was consumed.

    Furthermore, pancreatitis is characterized by additional symptoms of diarrhea and extreme abdominal pain. 

    symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs

    2. Gastrointestinal Issues

    Moreover, excessive yellow vomit can sometimes be a symptom of extreme digestive distress. When paired with other adverse symptoms, yellow vomiting may be an indicator of intestinal parasites, stomach ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), liver disease, or certain GI cancers.

    Keep in mind that these diagnoses are only possibilities when yellow vomit is paired with multiple other symptoms. Such as: 

    • Loss of appetite
    • Diarrhea (possibly bloody)
    • Lethargy
    • Depression
    • Abrupt changes in your dog's behavior
    • Vomiting blood
    • Dehydration
    • Yellowing of the skin, gums, or eyes
    • Weight loss

    If your sweet dog is suffering multiple of the aforementioned symptoms, visit your veterinarian immediately to further investigate your dog's health affliction.

    3. Blockage in the Intestines

    In some extreme cases, yellow vomit may be an indicator that your dog feasted on something other than kibble. Pica is a condition in which dogs crave, and in turn, consume non-food items. These items may include socks, silverware, rocks, towels, sporting goods, and a number of other unusual items

    Naturally, these items are not exactly thrown a welcome party by your dog's gastrointestinal tract. In fact, when ingested these foreign objects can cause harmful blockages that may require surgery to remove.

    How to Treat Dog Vomiting

    First of all, if your dog is suffering from two or more of the aforementioned symptoms, please visit your vet immediately for further treatment advice.

    On the other hand, if the occasional yellow vomit is your sole issue, there are some easy home remedies you can try.

    1. Small and Frequent Meals

    A simple fix is feeding your dog smaller, more frequent meals. This helps consistently keep their sweet bellies full and prevent the build-up of inflammatory toxins. Please note, this does not mean feeding your dog more food more often.

    For example, let's say your dog usually eats two cups of food daily. You typically give them one cup in the morning, and one cup at night. Instead, you can try feeding them half-cup meals, four times a day. 

    monitoring dogs diet

    2. Monitor Your Dog's Diet

    As previously mentioned, abrupt changes in diet can upset your dog's stomach. With this in mind, be sure to slowly work in new foods. You can easily do this by mixing the new food in with the old at gradually increased increments.

    Furthermore, be sure to thoroughly puppy-proof your house. Safely store all toxic chemicals (such as cleaning products) and unsavory foods (hello chocolate) far out of the reach of your curious dog's mouth. 

    3. Make Easily Digestible Dog Food

    Sometimes after a run-in with the vomit train, it is a good idea to feed your dog a very simple diet. Most veterinarians recommend that you personally prepare plain white rice and plain, skinless boiled chicken for your dog.

    Added emphasis on the word plain. Resist your usual chef instincts to add salt or seasoning of any kind. This easily digestible diet is gentle on your dog's stomach after the trauma of a gastrointestinal event like vomiting. After a day or two, start slowly working your dog's usual food into the chicken and rice mix. 

    Dog drinking water from a lake

    4. Rehydrate Your Pup 

    The act of vomiting inevitably causes dehydration. Therefore, it is essential to make sure your dog is getting plenty of water after any vomiting occurs.

    If your dog is suffering from chronic vomiting, your veterinarian may advise in-office fluid treatment. Typically, this is a quick and simple procedure involving intravenous fluids. 

    5. Prevention is the Best Cure

    Finally, one of the best ways to cure vomiting in dogs is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

    Just like us humans, dogs require a healthy balance of diet and exercise. To achieve the maximum level of natural homeostasis, consider working in high-quality multivitamins for dogs or canine probiotics

    Dog in flowery field

    Your Dog is Vomiting Yellow: Final Thoughts

    At the end of the day, an isolated incident of yellow vomit should not send you running to the vet with cancerous concerns.

    However, it is always a good idea to keep a watchful eye on your precious pup after an unusual gastrointestinal episode. Should your dog develop chronic vomiting or have additional symptoms arise, be sure to consult your trusted local veterinarian.

    Now, go give your dog a snuggle, a high five, and a healthy treat!


    Camille Arneberg and her dog
    Camille is a co-founder of PetHonesty and VP of Pup Parent Education. After watching her own family dog suffer from joint issues for years she became passionate about improving dogs' quality of life. With the help of a team of veterinarians and dog nutritionists she now helps educate other dog owners about the small but powerful things they can do to positively impact their dogs' health and wellness! She lives in Austin, TX and loves cuddling puppies, being outside and reading.