7 Worrying Reasons Behind Your German Shepherd Throwing Up White Foam


Seeing your GSD suffering from a vomiting spell is always a cause for concern, but even vomit has different forms it manifests itself in.

One such type would be a white, foamy texture, but what would cause your German Shepherd to throw up white foam?

Well, it’s not soap, I can tell you that, but rather a series of different potential problems with the most common ones relating to poisoning, indigestion or even rabies, to name a few.

If it happens once as an isolated case, it shouldn’t cause much worry.

However, if it keeps repeating throughout the day with little pause in-between, calling a vet should be first on the priority list.

This is especially true if the vomiting isn’t letting your dog retain any food long enough to absorb nutrients from.

However, vomiting is usually seen as a form of relief, but if it’s followed up by a variety of other symptoms, then it’s an indicator that something is severely wrong on the inside.

But why exactly is white, foamy vomit a cause for concern aside from just the three mentioned above. Well, let’s take a look into what it could mean.

1. There’s Excess Bile In His Gut

german shepherd dog resting on the couch

What’s commonly known as acid reflux in humans can happen to dogs too, albeit a bit more intense.

This is one of the milder reasons as it’s one that’s easily fixed.

Dogs who are under a lot of stress or are considered obese for their size are a lot more likely to suffer from excess bile in their gut.

Outside of that, certain foods are known to irritate the stomach enough to cause acid reflux in German Shepherds and other dogs.

Try and find the trigger and work on eliminating it from the equation as best you can with the vet’s help.

2. A Foreign Object Was Swallowed

sad german shepherd lying in his bed

During play, German Shepherds can get a bit too excited and swallow a small piece of a toy, bone or any similar object that can break and shatter into smaller bits.

This obstruction can injure your Sheppie’s digestive tract or simply irritate it to the point where the body is trying to vomit the object out but with little success.

If the vomit is constant enough, it’ll turn out white and foamy.

If said vomit can’t get it out, then he’ll likely need to undergo surgery for it to get removed before it causes any permanent damage.

3. An Early Sign Of Bloat

german shepherd lying down in the yard

Bloat is one of the more problematic gut-related conditions a dog can suffer from.

It normally happens when he overeats without pacing himself, causing the gut to expand.

Then, when it starts shrinking to get back into place, it ties around itself, trapping food and fluids inside.

This can cause some serious damage and can get real bad real fast, potentially leading to a fatal outcome.

If your German Shepherd is throwing up white foam, it could be an early sign of bloat if you’re not already seeing a distended belly, and you should be getting him to a vet ASAP.

Despite its potentially devastating consequences, it’s a routine procedure for vets, so if you can get him there quickly, he should be right as rain soon enough.

4. It’s A Small Bout Of Indigestion

german shepherd dog lying on the floor near the empty bowl

Going back to the slightly less panic-inducing reasons behind white foam vomiting, we have indigestion, something everyone is bound to experience at one point in their lives.

It’s somewhat similar to the reaction the GSD will have to the stomach creating excess bile when he eats something that irritates his gut.

This time, however, it’s something that’ll make him sick instead of burning his throat.

There isn’t much you need to do here, but if you see your pooch grazing on grass, you can be sure that he’s likely trying to induce irritation so he either vomits or poops it out.

5. Your GSD Is Suffering From An Inflamed Pancreas

sick german shepherd lying in the hay

Pancreatitis can be a real nuisance to your German Shepherd, and potentially life threatening depending on the severity.

The organ itself is responsible for producing the enzymes needed for digestion, but when it’s inflamed, these enzymes activate right away.

If left unchecked, they can make the pancreas digest itself which can be quite fatal.

Vomiting white foam is but one of the signs of it, but if it’s followed up by:

  • A distended stomach
  • A clearly hunched back to indicate that your dog is in pain
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • A lack of appetite
  • Signs of dehydration

Then you’ll want to dial the vet up real quick to get him diagnosed and treated in time before the condition worsens.

While it is a problem that can be treated, if it happens once, it’s likely to happen again, though it’s more likely in dogs who are on fatty diets or who are overweight.

Make sure to control his weight and anything else you can that the vet tells you about to reduce the occurrences of pancreatitis as best you can.

6. He Could Have Rabies

aggressive german shepherd barking

While a problem that you shouldn’t concern yourself with if your dog has regularly been receiving his shots, rabies is the iconic representative of white foam at the mouth.

Some of it may have come from throwing up after all.

7. Your Sheppie Was Poisoned

yellow sign with chemical application no dogs on green lawn

The final reason behind your German Shepherd throwing up white foam could be that he got poisoned.

Whether it was accidental on his part or if someone tried to do it intentionally, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that he’s likely suffering from ingesting something he definitely shouldn’t have like strong chemicals from cleaning supplies, meds and the like.

These are now wreaking havoc with his digestive system and require immediate medical attention.

Usually you’ll see him shaking on top of the vomiting and general lethargy.

Regardless, take him to the vet as soon as you can so he can get his stomach pumped out to prevent any further complications from occurring.

What Even Is The White Foam That’s Mixed With Vomit?

dog vomit in the hospital  on the floor

The white foam, while it may look like something alien, is just a bit of spit mixed in with gastric gasses.

The foam on its own isn’t dangerous, but it is a sign that something is going on with your GSD’s guts if it’s being ejected outward.

If it only happens as a one-off event, it should be fine, but if it’s constant, then a visit to the vet is mandatory, especially if any of the above listed symptoms for any of the reasons appear alongside it.

How Can I Prevent The Vomiting In The First Place?

german shepherd dog lying on the grass with opened mouth

There’s no real genius move here, all you need to do is to not let him eat or lick things you wouldn’t either and to keep him in proper shape.

Keep an eye on him and stick to a standard diet for him.

Avoid allergens and anything else that might irritate your Sheppie’s stomach and you should have minimal vomiting accidents.

Obviously, you can’t avoid stuff like bacterial and viral infections, but that’s par for the course.

On top of that, take him on routine check-ups to make sure his health is doing okay and to catch any potentially developing problems before they become a bigger issue.

In Conclusion

If your German Shepherd is throwing up white foam, it can refer to a variety of different things.

The most dangerous ones are bloat, swallowing a foreign object, pancreatitis or poisoning, among others.

If the vomiting, however, only happens once, he should be fine, but if it’s any more than that within the day, I recommend getting him to the vet for a check-up as soon as possible.

Most of the issues can be resolved, but the sooner they are, the less chance there is for any permanent internal damage to occur.

Keep on top of your GSD’s vaccines and check-ups and he should be just fine.

Until next time, pet parents.

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