Q: My dog just got sick and threw up yellow saliva. What could this mean?
A: Even the healthiest dog vomits occasionally. Observe the color and consistency of your dog’s vomit to decide if it suggests a medical problem.
First, does it look like recently eaten food that has not been digested? Is it tubular in shape, much like your dog’s esophagus? If so, this probably means that your dog ate too fast and triggered reflex vomiting.
You describe your dog’s vomit as a yellow liquid. This usually suggests that there are bile and digestive juices from the stomach and upper part of the small intestine. This would represent more typical vomiting, and would not necessarily mean your dog is sick, unless the vomiting continues or your dog stops eating.
Dog vomit that’s the color and consistency of coffee grounds usually is cause for concern. This most likely indicates a bleeding ulcer in the stomach, and that the blood is being slowly digested.
The presence of a pink or red color, especially if it is fairly liquid, represents ongoing bleeding in the stomach and calls for an immediate trip to the veterinarian.
Veterinarians examining a vomiting dog have a list of about 65 possibilities that have to be narrowed down. Having good information about the color and consistency of the vomitus can quickly help reduce the size of the list.
In most cases, it will not be helpful to bring in a sample of the vomit – you only have to note its appearance. A digital photo on your phone is probably adequate, and it can save you some further unpleasantness in trying to scoop up and salvage your dog’s gastric offerings.