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Why Is My Dog Throwing Up Bile?

Why Is My Dog Throwing Up Bile?

If you've had a dog for a while, you know that they occasionally eat something that disagrees with them and throw up. Although unpleasant, it is generally harmless. If your pooch is throwing up a yellowish-green liquid, they may be regurgitating bile. Our Stockton vet team shares more about common reasons for dogs throwing up bile. 

Seeing your pet vomit can be alarming in any situation, but if they're throwing up a yellowish-greenish substance they may need emergency veterinary care. Bile is made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder, and when your pooch eats, bile is released into the small intestine to perform the important function of helping to break food down for easier digestion and absorption by your dog's body.

Common Reasons For Dogs Throwing Up Bile

Dogs can throw up bilious liquid for a number of reasons, but all cases should be assessed by a veterinary professional as soon as possible. Below are some of the more common causes behind dogs vomiting bile:

Bilious Vomiting Syndrome

If bile leaks from the small intestine to the stomach, this can cause your dog to throw up, especially if it's been a while since your pooch has eaten, or if they've eaten a large amount of fatty food or grass or drank a lot of water.

Your vet may recommend treatment options involving changing your dog's food - an easy-to-digest, low-fat, high-fiber diet could help resolve the issue. Feeding your dog smaller meals more frequently could also be helpful. 

Gastrointestinal Diseases

A dog throwing up bile is of concern because it could be a symptom of a number of potentially dangerous gastrointestinal conditions such as parasitic infections, ulcers, and certain kinds of cancer. Additionally, bile is acidic and can cause wear and damage to your dog's esophagus, leading to ulcers if not treated. 


Pancreatitis is an endocrine disorder that can be triggered by your dog eating extremely fatty or oily food. Bilious vomiting is caused when the pancreas becomes inflamed, and is often accompanied by severe stomach pain and diarrhea.

This condition usually happens 3-5 days after your dog has ingested the fatty food, but can appear - along with your dog vomiting bile - in as little as 24 hours. Your vet will administer fluids to prevent dehydration and imbalanced electrolytes, and you may need to withhold food from your dog during their treatment. 

Intestinal Blockages

Items like toys, bones, pieces of cloth, and even hairballs can cause intestinal blockages, which are an emergency and require urgent veterinary care.

If a dog throws up until their stomach is empty and then continues to retch, they will throw up yellow bile - but it's better to take them to the vet before they progress to that point. If your dog is also low in energy and displaying signs of extreme abdominal pain, they may have a blockage.

Your veterinarian or vet surgeon can remove the object via surgical or endoscopic procedure.


Your dog might also vomit (with or without bile present) if they eat something that causes an allergic reaction. This could be switching to a new food, as many commercial dog foods contain beef, dairy, corn, soy, and other food products that can trigger an allergic reaction in some dogs. Your dog can also develop an allergy to a food that they have been eating without problem for years, in which case your vet will likely recommend allergy and diet trials to pinpoint the source of the problem. 

Your veterinary team can work with vet specialists and nutrition counselors to ensure that your dog can enjoy food without allergens that still provides them with the nutrition they need to live happy, healthy lives.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog is throwing up bile, contact our Stockton vet team right away to make an appointment for urgent care. Bear Creek Veterinary Hospital vets are ready to provide exemplary care to your special pet!

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