Why Is My Dog Coughing Up White Foam?

black dog wearing teal collar

The dog is making an unusual sound in the opposite room, and you come in to see an accumulation of white, foamy liquid. The majority of people refer to this as vomiting or their dog exhaling white foam, however, that’s not the norm. We must first determine if this white foam is due to vomiting, coughing, or regurgitating. We can then examine the reasons for each, and decide the best way to make your dog feel better.

Why do Dogs Toss White Foam

The reason your dog is vomiting or coughing up white foam can be attributed to many different causes and can be easily discovered by determining whether your dog is coughing and vomiting or regurgitating. Learn how to recognize the difference, and what’s the root cause of each of the symptoms.


A cough in dogs appears similar to coughing in humans. If your dog’s cough is white foam, it generally appears after the coughing session after an incident. The causes of white foam that coughs include:

  • Kennel Cough or other respiratory infections
  • Heart Disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Trachea that is collapsing


In addition to coughing, your dog could even be throwing up clear foam. Vomiting is an abdominal exercise; before vomiting the stomach of your dog is likely to shake as abdominal muscles tighten, which causes your dog to cough. White foam that is emitted from the stomach can happen in the event that your dog is creating and drinking excessive amounts of saliva as an indication of nausea. The reasons for white foam vomiting include:

  • Indiscretions in the diet, like being a slob in the trash
  • Obstruction of the stomach, or the intestines. This can happen when your pet eats items such as toys or socks
  • Bloat, also known as gastric dilatation as well as volvulus (GDV) GDV is when stomach contents bloat and then turn
  • Gastroenteritis due to infection food allergies, more


Regurgitation is difficult to discern from vomiting. Regurgitation is a passive process and if your pet is spitting white foam with no type of forceful movement or sound preceding it, it is likely to be regurgitating.

White foam regurgitation is rare. When puppies are born, it is possible that regurgitation could result from congenital disorders or serious diseases like parvovirus. For adult dogs, there is an esophagus with a dilation ( megaesophagus) or irritation to the esophagus or a neurological disorder that interferes with swallowing or the passage of food particles through the digestive system that may cause regurgitation.

Do you consider coughing up white foam an emergency?

If we’ve identified the cause of your dog’s vomiting, coughing, or re-eating white foam, we can ask the following inquiry: Is this an emergency?

Take immediate veterinary care in the event that you observe any of the following symptoms:

  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Breathing requires lots of effort
  • Gums that are pale or blueish
  • Repetitive coughing, vomiting or dry-heaving
  • Very severe diarrhea
  • A bloated abdomen
  • The abdomen is painful when you pull your dog up
  • Insomnia, lethargy, disorientation

If you believe this is an emergency situation, you should take your pet to the nearest 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic. It is recommended to call to inform the clinic that you’re headed there.

If you’re experiencing non-emergent symptoms, however, it’s still necessary to contact your vet to make an appointment. A dry cough, followed by vomiting up white foam is typically an indication of kennel cough and is often associated with minor discharge from the nose and eyes. A swollen trachea, prevalent for smaller dogs is a cause of a honking, dry cough when the dog gets stressed. The condition could become more serious as time passes, so it’s best to keep your dog’s health in mind even if it’s a long-term disease.

If your dog vomits one time or twice, but otherwise is normal, you can give the dog a small amount of food and observe them during the entire day. If they vomit more often than two times in a day, or for several days, or exhibit other symptoms, consult your veterinarian. Any type of regurgitation should be prompted by at least a consultation with the vet.

It is always possible to call your veterinarian clinic for assistance in determining whether your pet needs to be examined immediately. The visit to an emergency facility will cost you more than waiting to make an appointment, however, in the event that you’re not sure if your pet is able to wait, the peace of mind you can get is priceless.


The treatment will depend on the root reason for our dog’s vomiting, coughing, or re-ingestion of white foam. Usually, your vet will suggest at least the use of X-rays to discover the cause. These can be performed on the chest or lungs and the stomach.

If there’s an infectious cause the vet may recommend antibiotics as well as antifungals or drugs which destroy parasites. In some cases, cough suppressants are recommended by your veterinarian to ease dry coughs.

If you are experiencing vomiting, your doctor might recommend liquids (IV as well as under your skin) as well as nausea medication diet changes, and antacids. If you experience abdominal obstruction or a constipated abdomen, surgery may be required. The causes of regurgitation in puppies can be addressed by surgery.

In dogs of adulthood, regurgitation can be controlled through lifestyle changes like feeding your dog straight or altering the frequency of the diet your pet. Talk to your veterinarian to determine the most effective treatment for your pet’s ailments.

How to Stop Your Dog from Coughing Up White Foam

Immunization and preventatives every month can aid in preventing a variety of infectious causes that result in the white foam that you cough up, for example, distemper virus or heartworms. At your scheduled vaccination appointments the vet will observe the lungs and heart of your dog and lungs, which will help identify common heart ailments early.

Reducing your pet’s exposure to food items or trash can lower the chance of suffering from stomach distress which can cause vomiting white foam. When your pet experienced an episode of vomiting or coughing ask your vet for advice on how to avoid the occurrence of future episodes. The most common causes of vomiting white foam are not preventable however they can be managed with modifications to your pet’s routine on the advice of a veterinarian.

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