Color Me Green, or Not: The Best Dog Vomit Color Guide

Sep 27, 2021

Your dog threw up. It happens. Usually at 3:07 in the morning, or sometime around there and you’re sound asleep. Still, it’s happened and it’s a weird color. What does odd colored vomiting in dogs mean? Is there some sort of dog color guide that will tell you what might be going on inside your dog’s stomach and gut?

First things first: Dog vomit or regurgitation?

There is a difference between dog vomit and regurgitation. In a gut-shell, the biggest difference between dog vomiting and regurgitation is that regurgitation is what happens when your dog’s food comes back up from their mouth or their esophagus only. It’s pretty quick and you don’t usually know that anything’s coming back up (usually indicated by that ‘gluck, gluck, gluck’ sound that accompanies vomit).

On the other hand, dog vomit is where your dog’s abdominal wall contracts and propels the contents of his stomach and small intestines out through his mouth, sometimes accompanied by a retching noise. What he throws up is often partially digested or undigested food and can be all sorts of textures and colors.

While occasional vomiting in puppies and adult dogs might be entirely normal, repeat, regular or chronic vomiting definitely needs attention. There might be a variety of reasons behind having an upset stomach including eating feces, ingesting a foreign object, food allergies or intolerance, increased stomach acid, kidney or liver disease, and so on.

My dog vomited green! What does that mean?

Our dogs are great at many things. Unconditional love, being goofy for treats and leaving fur balls all over the place are at the top of the list. But for many dog owners, so is vomit. Colorful, chunky dog vomit, no less. And if your pet  throws up something that freaks you out because it’s a weird color, you’d not be alone. That’s why it’s important to know what different color dog vomit tells you about your dog. A dog vomit color guide can give you some insight into what’s happening (what are the causes of vomiting) and what you can do to help.

Dog vomit color guide: What’s going on in there?

If your furry friend has thrown up, here’s a dog vomit color guide to help you understand what’s going on in their gut.

What Does Green Dog Vomit Mean? Most likely, your four-legged friend likes a little salad with his meals. Salad meaning that he was eating grass he found outside when taking a walk in the yard. Bright green color dog vomit typically is the result of plants he’s ingested. It doesn’t digest super easily, and can often make a reappearance.

But green vomit can also be a sign that your dog has an empty tummy or maybe has some reflux. That coloring may mean there is bile from their liver that’s present. It’s something to consider discussing with your vet, especially if your pet has other symptoms as well.

What does brown dog vomit mean?

If your pup is vomiting brown, first pay attention to what color his dog kibble is. If it’s similarly colored, it could be what’s making the vomit look brown. That’s what you’d hope. Because another reason your dog’s vomit has a brown color could be that he’s eating stool. It’s called coprophagia, and if you think it’s gross going down the first time, it’s even more gross coming back up! A sure sign is also because your dog has some supercalifragalisticextrahalitosis. You probably want to brush those fangs ASAP.

But brown vomit could also mean that there are traces of blood in your dog’s vomit and you’ll want to talk to the vet about that too (it may be a serious medical emergency).

What does yellow dog vomit mean?

If your dog is throwing up yellow vomit, that’s usually a pretty good sign they’re throwing up some bile. Bile is produced in your dog’s liver and if your pet makes too much of it, it’ll get into his stomach and lead to that yellow vomit. It’s also sometimes known as bilious vomiting syndrome and typically happens when your dog’s tummy is empty. Sometimes if your dog gets too many fatty table scraps, they may also make too much. It can even be a result of them just lapping up too much water.

Bile is important for helping break down fats and is part of the digestive process, but if there’s too much due to an empty stomach (nothing to break down), you might see it come back as yellow and liquid vomit. They could possibly be dealing with acid reflux or their stomach is empty and acid is taking a toll. Sometimes it’s as easy as feeding a regular meal, but if it continues, talk to your vet.

Why is my dog throwing up white foam?

If your dog is throwing up white foam, it’s likely there’s some sloshing around in his belly before it gets thrown up. It’s most likely excess gas that’s getting in the mix and it usually happens when their tummies are empty and there are no other particles coming up.

What does red dog vomit mean?

If you see red dog vomit, you’re probably going to start worrying. It’s understandable because the first thing we think is, “My dog is throwing up blood!” Again, before we jump there, check and see what is in your dog’s food. A lot of them actually have red dye in them (Why?! Why?! Why?!) and that may be the cause of the discoloration.

But, if your dog hasn’t eaten anything with red dye in it then this color may be the sign of a stomach ulcer or some other stomach irritation. Bloody vomit could also be a sign of Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis, intestinal blockage, and you should consider contacting your vet to be sure of what’s going on.

What does black dog vomit mean?

This usually scares dog owners too because we instantly think it’s dried/old/digested blood. And while it could be that our dogs are just getting into some soil or dirt we didn’t know about, it could very likely be digested blood too. If there is any similarity to the appearance of coffee grounds (dark and granulated appearance), you should talk to the vet immediately. It’s wise to talk with your vet about any possible blood in their digestive tract, and throwing up red or black vomit could be an immediate sign.

How can I help my dog when he throws up?

No matter the color, when your dog is vomiting, it’s a sign something isn’t going well in his gut. His digestive system is like a second brain, and his microbiome is often called a second brain. If it’s not healthy, his abdomen may revolt.

Supplementing with quality pre- and probiotics every meal will help balance their microbiome. Bernie’s Perfect Poop uses Inulin and XOS (xylooligosaccharides) to act as fertilizer for beneficial bacteria in your dog’s gut and that helps them grow and outnumber bad bacteria that may be causing gastric distress. An unbalanced microbiome is a top cause of gastric distress and dog vomit.

Bernie’s Perfect Poop also has digestive enzymes that break down the food your dog eats with every meal. Breaking the food down in the digestive tract allows more nutrients to be absorbed, which means there’s also less to be thrown up.

When it comes to your dog’s vomit, the bottom line is making sure you prevent it the best you can–and that’s any color. A dog vomit color guide is helpful to decode what’s going on, but health starts in the gut. A healthy gut means your dog is absorbing all the nutrition he should and not throwing it up. It also sets him up for better overall health, as healthy guts are indicative of better overall immunity and energy. If you want to stop needing a dog vomit color guide, consider giving your dog these delicious grass bits with every meal!

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