The occassional vomiting episode is nothing new to most dog parents and veterinarians alike. What may be a new experience is when that vomit comes out green. If your canine companion is experiencing any kind of green vomit, here’s what may be happening and what you should do about it.
What does green vomit in dogs look like – and what does it mean?
Green vomit is just as it sounds- vomit that comes out green. Now, before you lock that away in your memory, be aware that there are some variations that can mean different things. When we talk about green vomit we may be talking about vomit that is uniformly green or it may have streaks of green throughout. You may also notice some frothiness, mucus, chunks of food, or just liquid. Whichever way your dog’s green vomit shows up, it’s important to know that this is not normal, but that doesn’t mean it’s an emergency.
Green vomit in dogs might be nothing to worry about, or it might have origins that are more concerning. It’s essential not to ignore this sign and seek prompt veterinary attention if you’re concerned.
What are the causes of green vomit in dogs?
There are a number of potential causes for green vomit in dogs. If you can, try to rule out as many as you can before contacting your veterinarian. Those causes may include:
1) Consuming grass or other edible green foods
It may seem obvious to say it, but if your dog has eaten grass or other green foods it could tint their vomit green. Most cases are not serious, and monitoring is usually sufficient unless other concerning symptoms arise. Dogs eat grass for a variety of reasons, in fact some dogs just like grazing on it because it tastes good.
2) Bilious vomiting syndrome
Green vomit caused by bile can occur when a dog’s stomach is empty for an extended period. This may lead to nausea that causes vomiting, and the vomit may be tinged with bile. While usually not severe, frequent episodes warrant a vet visit for evaluation and possible diet and feeding program adjustments.
3) Ingestion of foreign objects
If your dog swallowed something indigestible, it could lead to green vomit. This requires veterinary attention, as it may lead to an obstruction.
4) Gastrointestinal infections
Infections can trigger green vomit, along with other symptoms like diarrhea. Contact your vet for guidance, especially if the vomiting is persistent, severe, or if they are showing other signs.
5) Liver issues
Liver problems may cause bile to accumulate, resulting in greenish vomit. It’s crucial to seek veterinary care for proper diagnosis and treatment.
6) Toxin ingestion
Especially concerning is the possibility for ingesting a toxin. Rat poison, when vomited back up, often creates a characteristically bright green pile of vomit. If there’s any possibility of exposure to rat poison immediate care is necessary or the result can be fatal. See picture below of
When is it safe to try home remedies first?
Occasional or infrequent instances of green vomit might not be cause for worry. So, if you’ve observed the vomiting just once or twice over a period of time, it may be safe to try some of these home interventions before going to the vet. Keep in mind that severe vomiting should be seen by a vet.
- Offer bland food: Taking into consideration any dietary sensitivities and restrictions your dog has, offering a small amount of boiled chicken and rice may help settle your dog’s stomach in the short term. That is because these foods are easily digestible and allow the gut a break for some restoration.
- Hydration: Ensure your dog has access to fresh water to stay hydrated. to make sure they’re not gulping water too fast, only offer small amounts such as 1/2-1 cup at a time.
- Rest: Avoid vigorous or strenuous exercise, and instead allow your dog to rest
Remember, home remedies should only be attempted if the vomiting has happened just once or twice and your dog appears otherwise healthy. These home care measures are not a substitute for veterinary care.
When to seek veterinary care:
It never hurts to make an appointment with your dog’s vet if you’re concerned, but you should not delay in making the call if you note any of the following:
1) Known exposure to a toxin such as rat poison
2) Persistent vomiting: If your dog continues to vomit frequently or for more than 24-48 hours.
3) Blood in vomit: If you notice blood in the green vomit, immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
4) Weakness and lethargy: If your dog appears weak, they aren’t acting normal, or they seem unusually tired or unresponsive, it may indicate a severe underlying issue requiring urgent care.
5) Abdominal pain: Discomfort or sensitivity in the belly area may indicate a more serious problem like organ pain from obstruction or excessive inflammation.
6) Not eating: While dogs with the occassional vomiting episode may temporarily not eat, avoiding food for more than 24 hours could be a sign something more severe is going on.
All of these signs are of significant concern and it’s best to make an appointment with your dog’s veterinarian as soon as they’re observed.
Treatment options for green vomit in dogs:
When you take your dog to the veterinarian you can expect a few things as they treat your dog for green vomit:
1) Examination: The vet will perform a thorough examination to look at your dog’s condition – checking their mouth, ears and eyes for signs of other issues, listening to their chest and heart for indications of abnormal function, and feeling their abdomen for signs of pain, swelling, or bloating. They’ll also assess hydration.
2) Blood tests: Blood work may be necessary to assess organ function; this is especially necessary if there’s been exposure to a toxin, if signs have persisted for any amount of time, if the veterinarian indicates your dog is dehydrated, or your dog isn’t acting normal (Click here to learn about the costs of blood tests).
3) Imaging such as X-rays or ultrasounds: Especially if an obstruction is suspected, but also if the veterinarian is concerned about organ function. X-rays or ultrasound can provide images of internal organs that can be useful in addition to the physical exam and the labwork.
4) Fluid therapy: Sometimes a veterinarian will go straight from the exam to fluid therapy to help manage dehyration, but even if blood tests and imaging show something, fluids may be necessary to treat other conditions.
5) Medications: It’s not uncommon for veterinarians to prescribe anti-nausea or anti-vomiting medications to not only stop vomiting but also to help your dog feel better. Antibiotics may be prescribed too if an infection is suspected, and as well as other medications that can help settle your dog’s stomach and treat the underlying issue.
6) Others: Surgery may be necessary for obstructions for foreign objects, hospitilization may be needed for more serious illnesses, and a change in diet may be necessary to get the vomiting under control.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I use over-the-counter drugs to cure my dog?
It is not recommended to use over-the-counter drugs without veterinary guidance, as they may be harmful or ineffective. While some other owners might suggest medications like pepto-bismol or antacids, these may not be helpful and in some cases may interfere with other treatments or diagnostics so they are not recommended.
Is constant green vomit a cause for alarm?
Yes, constant green vomit requires immediate veterinary attention, as it may indicate serious underlying problems. Singular intermittent episodes of vomiting may not be as concerning if spaced out over weeks to months, but any vomiting that happens frequently or consistently means it’s more than just a little passing stomach irritation and should be checked out by a vet.
What makes a dog’s vomit look green?
Green vomit is typically caused by the presence of bile, which may result from various issues like an empty stomach or liver dysfunction. A veterinarian can help in identifying the cause. Green vomit could also be caused by something that’s been ingested like green grass, vegetables, other food materials, or even toxic substances such as rat poison.
Disclaimer: This website's content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian for healthcare decisions. Read More.