Why Does My Chihuahua Throw Up? 8 Reasons + White Foam Vomiting

why chihuahuas throw up

If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed, it’s that you will have a puking Chihuahua at some point. Chihuahua puppies are prone to throwing up a variety of colored puke including yellow or white foam, undigested food, clear liquid, mucus, bile, slime and many other weird and wonderful vomits.

But whatever the age of your dog, when your Chihuahua throws up it’s going to be worrying. It might be due something as simple as them eating too fast. Alternatively, you might have a Chihuahua that vomits up sick all the time, which could signal a serious health problem.

I am not a vet, but I am a dog owner who has a lot of experience with vomit. Nice, I am sure you would agree! The bottom line is; if you are worried then please do consult with your vet. But before you do that, here’s what I personally know about the reasons why your Chihuahua throws up, and what the different types of vomit and sick could mean.

Why your Chihuahua is vomiting and puking

There are multiple types of vomit and regurgitation that can affect Chihuahuas. I’ve consulted with my own vet and read professional forums to give you an idea of what they could all mean, and what action you should take.

Why does my Chihuahua throw up white foam?

The reasons your Chihuahua keeps throwing up white foam so much are very varied. In the majority of cases it won’t anything serious, but for peace of mind seek professional advice.

The first thing you need to do is to check what has been thrown up by your Chihuahua. It might not actually be vomit but could be them clearing their airways. It might instead be some saliva that they need to regurgitate.

chihuahua vomits
Your Chihuahua could throw up after eating. They will need some TLC and rest. (Image via https://pixabay.com/photos/chihuahua-dog-puppy-cute-nose-2769980/)

Vomiting and regurgitating are two different things, and I will explain the differences at the end of this article. But for simplicities sake, I am going to address both things as the same thing; throwing up.

Causes of white foam vomit

1. Indigestion and stomach upset

Your Chihuahua could be throwing up white foam just because they have an upset tummy. The most common reason is gastroenteritis where they have an empty stomach and then puke up a white foam vomit.

This condition is also known as bilious vomiting syndrome. The bile produced can not only be white but also have a yellow color. Sometimes it’s smelly too.

Handy Hint: Here’s a list of 25 foods that are highly toxic to Chihuahuas and will make them very sick.

2. Puking up something they ate

Chihuahuas love to put anything in their mouth they can get their teeth around, particularly during the puppy teething phase. It might be that they ate something their stomach disagrees with.

If your Chihuahua hasn’t eaten in a while, they won’t have any food to puke up, so the foreign objects they ingested can get puked back up as a white foamy or slimy material.

3. Kennel cough

One of the more common reasons Chihuahuas throw up white foam will be kennel cough. It’s not actually vomiting but instead is where your Chihuahua coughs so hard they expel white foam out of their mouths.

Kennel cough can be contracted when your Chihuahua has been exposed to other dogs, usually in kennels as the name suggests. It is an upper respiratory infection that your vet can treat, typically being treated in a week to 10 days.

Handy Hint: Here are all the things that young puppies can get sick from when they stay in boarding kennels for the first time.

4. Bloat

Bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus) is one of the most serious reasons for Chihuahuas puking up white foam and slime. They can become sick very quickly and will need to be seen by a vet quickly.

It occurs when their stomach becomes twisted after expanding. The stomach can expand when filled with food, fluid, or gas which then puts pressure on their internal organs. If not treated quickly it can stop blood flowing to your Chihuahua’s heart… so it is potentially fatal.

White foam will be vomited up when the nothing can get in or out of the Chihuahua’s stomach. It’s more common in elderly dogs.

You can reduce the chances of bloat and white foam vomit by making sure your Chihuahua doesn’t over exercise after eating. Some vets recommend you wait a good 30 minutes after their meal, even with light walks.

Handy Hint: Here’s how long and why you should wait to walk your dog before and after they have eaten.

5. Pancreatitis

Another serious health condition that results in your Chihuahua throwing up white foam is pancreatitis. This is an inflammation of the pancreas, which is an organ that aids digestion of food.

Your vet will need to diagnose this condition, but other signs to look out for include your Chihuahua hunching his back up, being in obvious pain around their abdomen, having diarrhoea, not eating properly, being listless, and becoming dehydrated due to not drinking enough.

6. Kidney disease

Another serious possibility related to white foam vomit can be kidney disease. Other symptoms to look out for can include increased urination or pooping the house when your Chihuahua was previously house-trained.

White foam puking can be an early indicator of the disease. However, with early treatment, Chihuahuas can go on to have a good life with a reduced chance of any further complications.

7. Parvovirus

Parvovirus can be contracted through exposure to other dogs, in particular contact with faeces. It’s a viral infection that will become apparent within a week of contraction, with white foam vomiting and blood in diarrhoea.

It is a fatal disease but should be rare as long as your Chihuahua has had the correct vaccinations as a puppy. Parvovirus should only be contracted by an unvaccinated Chihuahua so it’s an unlikely cause of throwing up white foam for responsible dog owners.

8. Rabies

Another unlikely reason for white slimy foam can be rabies. It’s going to be very rare in countries such as the UK and United States, but it still a possibility.

Dogs with rabies will foam at the mouth. 

Why does my Chihuahua throw up yellow foam?

Yellow foam sick can also relate to many of the possibilities I’ve already listed under the white foam section, but it can sometimes differ if it’s a yellow bile and liquid.

A Chihuahua that throws up yellow liquid and bile could have:

  • Bilious vomiting (the most likely): in simple terms, a stomach upset.
  • Bowel problems: an irritation in the GI tract.
  • Pancreatic problems: an inflammation of the pancreas.
  • Intestinal blockage: your Chihuahua’s meal can’t get to the stomach.
  • Stomach ulcers: can also result in weight loss, fever, and pain.
  • Liver problems: your Chihuahua may not be able to digest food properly.

Why does my Chihuahua throw up brown liquid?

Brown bile and vomit will often smell like dog poop… and that can actually be what it is in some cases. Puppies, Chihuahuas included like to eat dog poop for a variety of reasons including:

  • Seeking out nutrients that aren’t getting their diet.
  • Simply due to hunger as gross as that sounds.
  • Sometimes for attention knowing it will get a reaction.
  • Sometimes due to boredom or stress (for example, kennel stress in dogs)

Brown vomit won’t always be dog poop though, it could be blood that has become browner inside of the mucus and bile being thrown up. It could result from:

  • Blocked intestine.
  • Bleeding ulcers.
  • Something that they ate.
  • Possible gum disease or tumors where the brown color signifies bleeding.

Why does my Chihuahua throw up clear liquid?

A clear and foamy slime or foam that doesn’t include any undigested food could be related to a range of medical issues. If there’s no food in the clear liquid, it probably isn’t due to anything your Chihuahua has eaten.

Doctor Jeff Werber, a well-respected vet based in Los Angeles, explained to PetMD.com that clear liquid vomit could indicate something other than a reaction to food:

“Fluid means we are looking at some other reason, such as kidney, liver, pancreas, or severe gastritis, where the cause is not food or an irritant. It could also indicate oesophageal reflex which is like our heartburn.”

However, it’s key to not panic if your Chihuahua is throwing up a clear liquid as there could be a far simpler explanation.

On another vet website I read a comment from a professional. They said that dogs who are distressed will often start to drool heavily. That can often be mistaken for vomit when in fact if no food comes up, it’s not actually puke, and could be just excessive drooling. 

Why does my Chihuahua throw up green liquid?

Green bile and vomit shouldn’t be viewed as seriously as some of the other sick colors. For example, dogs love to eat grass and weeds and so anything they throw up will be of a natural green color – sometimes even lime green in appearance.

Here’s a breakdown of what green foam or liquid could mean in your Chihuahua’s vomit.

  • Plants or grass: dogs will eat grass to sooth their stomach, clean their insides, make up for a lack of minerals, or due to boredom and anxiety. When the organic material is ingested the chlorophyll in the grass will stain the vomit a green color. If you can see plant-based matter in your Chihuahua’s vomit, it’s not a cause for concern but do try to discourage them eating grass.
  • Green bile: green vomit could signal bile being thrown up. Bile is stored in your dog’s gall bladder and is designed to absorb fats and breakdown other nutrients. Green bile can reflux into your Chihuahua’s stomach, but that color also means its fresh. But it might also mean there is something stuck internally, so consult with your vet.

Why does my Chihuahua throw up pink or red foam?

A Chihuahua that throws up pink foam could have a tummy bug. The act of vomiting hard can actually burst some of the smaller blood vessels in your Chihuahua’s stomach, which then dilutes into the vomit and mucus to create a pink tint.

Alternatively, it could be a stomach ulcer. However, as soon as you see any signs of pink sick it almost certainly means there is a degree of blood in their vomit, so should be checked out by a vet as soon as possible.

Small ulcers or damage to the stomach lining can be treated with medicines and your Chihuahua should normally respond very well to treatment in a few days.

Other reasons why your Chihuahua could be sick

Aside from the serious possibilities regarding Chihuahua puking I’ve already detailed, there are some other occasions where your Chihuahua could be sick. I’ve listed those below, giving examples of when your Chihuahua might throw up vomit and why.

You might also like this awesome infographic on the reasons for vomiting.

why dogs vomit
Why dogs vomit infographic by petMD.com

After drinking water

There are a few different reasons why your Chihuahua could be vomiting after drinking water, including:

  1. They could have drunk the water too fast which will stimulate the dog’s gag reflex.
  2. It could look like water but actually be a mix of gastric juices, saliva, and water.

In the second example, it might be because your Chihuahua hasn’t eaten for a long time, has a digestive blockage, or even one of the more serious conditions listed further up this page.

As with all vomiting, for peace of mind please call your vet if you don’t think it’s related to your Chihuahua drinking too much too quickly.

In the morning or late at night

Chihuahuas that throw up in the morning or late at night will usually do so due to their eating habits. If your dog has gone a long time without eating, when the food hits their stomach it can irritate the bile reflux.

Morning sickness can also be just that; related to pregnancy. Here’s a list of more possible reasons your Chihuahua could be sick in the morning:

  • Colitis.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Pancreatitis.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Reflux gastritis.

Stress, excessive excitement or anxiety

I have never met a Chihuahua who doesn’t get excited, especially when it’s feeding time. They still have their competitive pack mentality from puppyhood, so will try and eat their food as fast as possible to stop anybody else getting a look-in.

When dogs eat too fast, they can throw up. The same happens with humans, so it’s not really that surprising.

However, Chihuahuas can also be sick when they get excited outside of mealtimes. This can be due to being stressed and anxious. It’s because their stomach muscles become tense and their bodies react with vomiting. 

After over-eating or eating too fast

Coming back to the quick eating now, and there’s a good reason why your greedy Chihuahua will be sick and puke up;

  • They don’t give themselves enough time to chew larger pieces of food.
  • They can swallow lots of air which will then be regurgitated back up. 

When on car rides

Just like humans, dogs can suffer with car sickness. Motion sickness isn’t the only reason your Chihuahua pukes in your car though… it could also be due to the stress of not liking car journeys.

If you have a puking Chihuahua in your car, try to introduce them to smaller car journeys at first so they learn there’s nothing to be worried about.

After exercise or on walks

Imagine for one moment that you ate a huge dinner and then immediately went for a 10-mile run. Can you imagine what would happen? I think we all know…

And it’s the same with Chihuahuas. If they eat heavily and then exercise or over-exert themselves, that food can quickly get puked up.

chihuahua exercise and vomiting
Just like humans, Chihuahuas can also get sick after heavy exercise. (Image via https://pixabay.com/photos/chihuahua-dog-long-hair-chihuahua-2781252/)

I would recommend that you don’t walk your Chihuahua for at least 2 hours after eating. Some vets say that exercise so soon after eating can lead to bloat, torsion, or GDV (gastro dilation-volvulus) all of which can make your Chihuahua throw up.

After the exercise, let your Chihuahua cool down for at least 30 minutes before letting them eat. These two tips should in theory mean your Chihuahua no longer vomits after exercise or walks.

When you should call the vet

There are a lot of scary reasons why your Chihuahua throws up in this guide. But I don’t want you to panic, in most of the cases listed here, the slime and bile will just be due to a stomach upset and something your Chihuahua ate.

I am a firm believer in letting the professional decide, so when our dog has vomited, in most cases we’ve called the vet if we can’t see any undigested food in the sick.

Here are some signs that you should definitely call the vet after vomiting:

  • Your Chihuahua throws up all the time and vomiting last more than 24 hours.
  • Your Chihuahua is in obvious signs of pain or lethargic.
  • Your Chihuahua also has blood in their stools.
  • Your Chihuahua is projectile vomiting.

Is it vomiting or regurgitation?

I mentioned earlier that these are actually two different things. They can also have very different causes. Here’s a quick explainer:

  • Vomiting: this is when materials coated with bile come up from the stomach. Your Chihuahua will start to retch, hunch, lick his lips, and drool. It will probably be a mix of digested food coated in a yellow bile.
  • Regurgitation: this is when your Chihuahua throws up undigested food covered in saliva, mucus, and slime. It comes up from the oesophagus or pharynx so won’t have actually reached as far as the stomach.

Conclusion

I hope I’ve given you some insight into why your Chihuahua is vomiting or keeps throwing up his food.

With most Chihuahuas it won’t be an indication of a serious health problem, but I would always err on the side of caution and speak to your vet. I would especially say this if you are wondering why your Chihuahua puppy keeps throwing up – these young pups need a closer eye looking at them at all times.

You might also like…

There’s a wealth of helpful information on this blog about looking after Chihuahuas. Here’s a selection of the most recent.

Image in header via https://pixabay.com/photos/chihuahua-dog-blanket-cold-winter-633962/

Marc Aaron

I write about the things I've learned about owning a dog, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips I've picked up along the way.

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