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Home > Dogs > Why Do Dogs Throw Up Yellow Bile? 8 Vet Reviewed Reasons

Why Do Dogs Throw Up Yellow Bile? 8 Vet Reviewed Reasons

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Dr. Nia Perkins

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The sound of an animal throwing up will mobilize the forces of most pet parents, but not many pet parents think about why their pet is throwing up unless they’re doing it frequently. If your dog throws up yellow bile regularly, this could signal something serious that must be checked out.

Let’s look at the eight main reasons dogs throw up yellow bile.

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What Does It Mean When Dogs Throw Up Yellow Bile?

If your dog’s bile is yellow, it’s colored with stomach acid. So, your dog is throwing up on an empty stomach. We can rule out causes like food poisoning since you have to eat something that made you sick to get food poisoning; you won’t usually vomit on an empty stomach until you’ve been in a bout of food poisoning for at least a few hours.

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divider-dog paw The 8 Reasons Why Dogs Throw Up Yellow Bile:

The key to keeping your dog healthy is to figure out why they’re vomiting. If this is an isolated incident, they may have felt nauseous or caught a little bug. However, if your dog is vomiting yellow bile frequently—think monthly or more—you should have your dog seen by a veterinarian to ensure that they are well! Here are some illnesses that might cause your dog to vomit bile.

1. Bilious Vomiting Syndrome

Bilious vomiting syndrome is when bile leaks into the stomach and causes the dog to throw up. Bilious vomiting syndrome can be caused by underfeeding, drinking a lot of water, eating grass, and consuming too many foods high in fat content.

Bilious vomiting syndrome is when your dog experiences bilious vomiting without another present cause; it’s idiopathic. While it was once thought to be somewhat uncommon, there’s evidence that it might be more common than we first thought.

Sad tired beagle dog on sofa. Sick dog.
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2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is mainly associated with heavy bouts of diarrhea, but it can also cause chronic vomiting. IBD in dogs can have many causes, including a decreased ability for the bowels to absorb nutrients and imbalances in gut bacteria.

3. Coccidiosis

An infestation of the coccidia parasite causes coccidiosis. Infestations are most common in puppies, but adult dogs have been known to be infested occasionally. Coccidiosis is usually associated with diarrhea, but severe cases may also display vomiting.

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4. Roundworms

Roundworms are one of many parasites in the worm family. They infect the intestinal tract and can cause vomiting depending on how badly they irritate the digestive system. In severe infestations, the dog may vomit fully-grown, live roundworms.

5. Tapeworms

Tapeworms are another type of worm that may infect the digestive tract. Like roundworms, they may cause vomiting in dogs they’ve infested. There are many types of tapeworms, but the most common infection in dogs is Dipylidium caninum.

Tapeworm infections are usually treated with an oral parasiticide called praziquantel that forces the tapeworms to detach from the intestinal tract and allows them to be digested by the dog.

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6. Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is usually caused by eating an excessive amount of highly fatty foods. If left untreated, pancreatitis can cause the failure of your dog’s pancreas, which is generally a fatal condition as it cannot be treated. However, in mild cases caught early, your dog may be fine with just medication. So, if you suspect your dog is ill, get to the vet as soon as possible for the best outcome!

7. Intestinal Blockage

Dogs may sometimes consume things that are not food out of curiosity. This behavior can lead to intestinal blockages as they attempt to pass the object through their digestive tract. Since the object isn’t food, it can’t be digested and may become lodged in the intestines.

When the intestines are blocked, food can’t pass through, and the dog will start to throw their food back up. The nausea may continue after their stomach is empty since the object may not dislodge from the intestines and be expelled during vomiting. This may cause vomiting on an empty stomach.

8. Food Allergies

Vomiting may occur when a dog consumes a food product they’re allergic to and may continue even after the dog’s stomach is empty, causing the dog to begin vomiting on an empty stomach.

Dogs’ most common food allergies are chicken, beef, dairy, eggs, and corn. Check your dog’s food to see if it contains any of these products that might be causing your dog to vomit excessively.

divider-dog paw Risks of Frequent Vomiting

You might wonder if you need to take your dog to the vet over some vomiting. But vomiting can be very dangerous when it happens regularly. Vomiting frequently can cause fatal dehydration, malnutrition, and severe stomach and esophageal irritation.

While occasional vomiting may happen, frequent vomiting can be very dangerous for dogs. A veterinarian should oversee it to ensure that there isn’t a more insidious cause for your dog’s illness.

Sick mastiff dog sitting on table in a vet clinic
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Final Thoughts

So, what does yellow throw-up mean for dogs? Bile can be a sign of many things, as we discussed, so it’s always best to consult your veterinarian if you’re concerned. Vomiting is part of being alive, but frequent vomiting can be a massive problem for your dog. You’ll want to have them seen by a veterinarian, especially if they often vomit on an empty stomach. Your dog’s safety is as vital to your vet as it is for you, and they want to help your dog live a long, healthy life.

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