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Spotted: A Chicken in the Milk House

In case you missed the announcement back in August, Dog Milk and Design Milk founder Jaime Derringer recently welcomed a new little smoosh-faced bundle of love into her home: a Boston Terrier named Chicken!

Chicken joined the pack amidst a big house makeover project over at Design Milk HQ in collaboration with designer Emily Henderson (*fan girling*). Check out the before and after over on Design Milk!


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With Halloween coming up soon, most dog parents are wondering: “Can dogs eat pumpkins?” To that end, are other fall fruits and vegetables safe for dogs to eat? Let’s take a look at a representative sampling, including such autumnal favorites as:

  • Apples
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Oats
  • Pumpkins
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Zucchini

Can dogs eat pumpkins?

A pug in a pumpkin costume.

A pug in a pumpkin costume. Photography by dosecreative/Thinkstock.

It has been long and widely acknowledged that pumpkin has definite benefits for dogs, especially those who are having temporary trouble executing successful bowel movements. Surprisingly little goes a long way. PetMD recommends only a tablespoon of pureed pumpkin mixed in with a dog’s regular food for relief of both diarrhea and constipation. Note that it should be as plain as possible, so pumpkin-pie filling is out, since it is typically saturated with sugars that may only exacerbate loose stools.

Can dogs eat apples?

While apple stems and seeds have very small amounts of Amygdalin — a chemical compound that breaks down into cyanide when pulverized and digested — the seeds are so durable, and your dog would have to eat so many, that they present no real danger. All the same, wash the skin of an apple thoroughly to remove any lingering chemical treatments and cut the fruit into easily chewed slices. Note that too much of any sweet fruit can cause temporary stomach upset.

Can dogs eat beets?

According to every source I consulted, including the ASPCA, beets are non-toxic for dogs. Fresh, washed, and home-prepared beets are always going to be preferable to canned. This is due to the presence of added salt and preservatives, which may bother your dog’s digestive system. According to one vet, repeated beet eating by dogs may perform a slight dye job on their hair and skin, but no adverse effects!

Can dogs eat broccoli?

We’ve covered broccoli and dogs previously. Cooked or boiled broccoli, free of spices, cheese, or that ranch dip you love, is safe, as is raw. With raw broccoli, though, keep the amount small; the heads, or florets, of broccoli contain a chemical that can cause stomach irritation when released during digestion.

Can dogs eat cabbage?

Once, for St. Patrick’s Day, I asked whether corned beef and cabbage, a traditional holiday repast, was safe to share with dogs. For its own part, cabbage is perfectly safe for dogs to eat in limited portions. The severest consequence of too much cabbage is swelling of the thyroid, and the least seemly is an uptick in your dog’s flatulence.

Several of the vegetables on our list — cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and kale, are members of the Brassicaceae family of flowering plants. Like the broccoli it so closely resembles, cauliflower presents the same antioxidant benefits — limited though they are — and the amount that a dog can eat safely before affecting a dog’s digestive regularity is equally small.

Can dogs eat green beans?

On an episode of The West Wing, the White House Press Secretary had to stem controversy from Oregon farmers when the President said he didn’t care for green beans. There’s little to argue about with green beans; like many of the vegetables we’re looking at, in moderation and as an occasional treat, they are safe for dogs cooked simply or given raw. Possibly due to the crunch factor, dogs that do eat green beans seem to enjoy them raw.

Can dogs eat kale?

Kale is one of the fall vegetables we planted at the urban farm this year. Like its cousins and siblings in the Brassicaceae family, kale is safe for dogs in very small amounts. According to one Massachusetts veterinarian, kale should be avoided due to the risk of bladder and kidney stones in dogs, so use your best judgment and proceed with caution.

Can dogs eat lettuce?

As with any other vegetable which dogs are not accustomed to eating, lettuce may not be toxic to dogs, but that doesn’t mean you should stick a head of it in the dog bowl before you go to work in the morning. If your dog is constipated, many of the digestive “problems” presented by produce on our list might help move things along, but more of that when we get to oats and pumpkins.

Can dogs eat oats?

Prepared plainly, a bowl of oats has some digestive benefits for dogs, particularly those with bowel movement troubles. Always consult with your dog’s veterinarian before making wholesale changes to a dog’s normal diet. While oats and oatmeal are safe for dogs, keep raisins, sugar, and milk out of the dog’s bowl. While the dangers that raisins and grapes present to canine life and health are usually presented with apocalyptic alarmism, we’ll let it suffice to say that both should be kept away from dogs.

Can dogs eat radishes?

Whether grown in your fall garden or fresh from the produce section of your local grocery, radishes are safe for dogs in small amounts. Sources allege that dogs may find the taste of a radish unpleasant, but like carrots, these tough, hardy veggies can also serve as natural chew toys and teeth cleansers for enterprising dogs. Let your dog steer clear of wild radishes and their flowers.

Can dogs eat spinach?

The presence of oxalates in spinach leads some people to hesitate, knowing that they play a role in kidney stone formation. Your dog would have to eat a truly outrageous amount of spinach to experience any adverse effects. A few leaves of fresh, well-rinsed, raw spinach may serve your dog well, just as a couple of leaves of lettuce will, as an occasional treat.

Can dogs eat sweet potatoes?

As long as the sweet potato is fully grown, matured, and prepared very simply, your dog may enjoy a bit of this fleshy orange fall vegetable. Boiled, baked, or even dehydrated sweet potato slices are safe for dogs to eat. They are high in carbohydrates, which dogs don’t need an excessive amount of in their diets. Keep your serving sizes small or limit the number of prepackaged sweet potato dog treats you offer your dogs.

Can dogs eat zucchini?

Finally, zucchini is both safe and healthy for dogs, whether served as frozen chunks, raw bits, or grated and sprinkled over a dog’s normal food. Even though they do not have the same kick as radishes, some dogs may wrinkle their noses at zucchini on first taste.

None of the fall fruits or vegetables we’ve covered in this piece are toxic or dangerous to a dog’s health. Keep in mind that while dogs will certainly eat vegetable matter, it should never stand in for or completely replace a dog’s normal diet. Nor should you make any dramatic changes to your dog’s typical food, especially for health reasons, without first consulting a veterinarian. Also, though each of the items we’ve looked at is safe to give dogs, excess of any new food item can cause temporary digestive upset or gas discharge, so proceed with caution!

Thumbnail:  Photography by igorr1/Thinkstock.

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Halloween harbors a host of frightfully funny sights and sounds, especially for pet lovers: Beagles crooning along with golden oldies like “Monster Mash.” Chihuahuas dressed up as Bruno Mars, sporting miniature guitars and indignant expressions that seem to proclaim, “Let It Go.” Unfortunately, many common trick-or-treat activities aren’t so entertaining. They can prompt pet panic attacks, pancreatitis and even poisoning. But never fear: This handy checklist of Halloween dangers for dogs will arm you against terrifying surprises, so your furkids stay safe and secure.

1. Halloween candy is toxic to dogs

A dog with a Halloween pumpkin wig on.

Halloween candy is among one of many Halloween dangers for dogs. Photography © WilleeCole | Thinkstock.

Chocolate scores high on many kids’ lists of #HalloweenGoals. Unfortunately, chocolate is also highly toxic to dogs. That’s because it contains both caffeine and theobromine, which are tough for furry friends to process.

“Theobromine and caffeine are known as methylxanthines,” explains Melissa Behrens, DVM, a veterinarian at Animal Hospital at the Shores in Lake Barrington, Illinois. “Dogs are far more sensitive to methylxanthines than people, and different types of chocolate contain varying amounts. In general, though, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger.” To help Fido celebrate fearlessly, consider carob-flavored treats. They have the outward appearance of chocolate — but in occasional, nibble-sized quantities, they’re safer for four-legged friends to ingest.

According to the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) run by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), grapes and raisins can be dangerous nibbles as well. Both have caused kidney damage in certain canines. Because the exact reason for this documented reaction is still being studied, it’s best to keep these tasty tidbits far from furry friends.

Xylitol, a non-caloric sweetener used in certain gums and candy products, is another worrisome culprit. “Xylitol ingestion can cause a large amount of insulin to be released by a dog’s pancreas, resulting in hypoglycemia or low blood sugar,” warns Elisa Katz, DVM, a veterinarian and certified canine rehabilitation therapist at Natural Pet Holistic Veterinary Center in Bourbonnais, Illinois. “This is an emergency that can lead to confusion, uncoordinated behavior, weakness, seizures and even death.”

“Always read your labels,” cautions Dr. Behrens, “and remember that dogs have great noses! They’ll sneak into purses or bags if they smell something sweet.”

2. Candles and décor are Halloween dangers for dogs

It’s sometimes easy to forget that when placed on a table and lit, fall-scented candles are approximately pet-high. The same goes for miniature tapers and tea lights positioned inside carved pumpkins, too. Larger dogs may even fling their front paws onto mantels and ledges to catch a closer whiff, thereby causing a fire. No matter how small, any seasonal item that emits a flame should be kept well away from canines. Remember this simple rhyme: “Wagging tails and glowing wicks; these are things that never mix.”

3. Festive Halloween food and drinks could cause issues

Halloween is a time when larger-than-average groups converge inside homes for themed parties and scary movie binge-watching. So, it pays to set firm house rules when it comes to feeding the family pooch.

As noted above, anything that contains caffeine could potentially prove fatal. That includes pumpkin-spiced lattes, mulled tea, hot cocoa, cola — and even coffee grounds. And feeding high-fat treats and trimmings from the holiday buffet table could prompt sudden pancreatitis flare-ups. Keep all these items far from questing noses.

4. Cool-weather chemicals are toxic to dogs

When outdoor temperatures begin to plummet, some people start using rodenticides to discourage pesky critter infestations. Similarly, late autumn is a common time to begin adding antifreeze to the family car. Don’t forget, these poisonous chemicals can easily kill a canine.

“The toxic ingredient in antifreeze is a potent alcohol called ethylene glycol,” observes Dr. Behrens. “Unfortunately, many pets will drink this sweet-tasting fluid if it’s spilled on the ground, or left out in the open. Some brands add bittering agents, but this won’t deter every dog.”

Dr. Katz concurs. “Ethylene glycol is metabolized to various acidic substances,” she explains. “Ingesting even small amounts can result in an acidosis of the body — leading to a buildup of irreversible calcium oxalate crystals and mineralization of the kidneys.”

Only use these types of household products with tremendous caution — and clean up any spills immediately. Both vets agree that antifreeze consumption should always be treated as an extreme emergency requiring rapid medical attention.

5. Pumpkin beers spell out trouble for dogs

Some owners think it’s super-cute to let their pooch have a few slurps of beer. Unfortunately, ingesting even minute amounts of alcoholic beverages — and flavored coffee syrups, too — can lead to doggie digestive upset, liver issues or organ damage. Remember that a canine’s organs are much smaller than a human’s, and prone to faster impairment.

For a non-alcoholic alternative that lets your pup party away, consider a low-sodium broth or a broth-based, meat-flavored pet beverage like Bowser Beer.

6. Doorbells ringing are scary to dogs

A dog in a ghost costume.

Ringing doorbells might spell out anxiety for some dogs. Photography © fotoedu | Thinkstock.

Many pups put doorbells right at the top of their terror lists. A loud, abrupt noise that proclaims the entry of unfamiliar strangers? It’s not hard to understand why this might be upsetting. For pets who associate that familiar “ding-dong” sound with something dire, swaddling can sometimes relieve excess anxiety.

The principal is similar for both canines and human newborns. Recognized Soviet physiologist Dr. Konstantin Buteyko and his colleagues have explained that swaddling can ease and prevent hyperventilation from the upper chest area. It creates a sort of systemic feedback loop: Breathing begins to issue from the lower diaphragm; smaller volumes of air are inhaled; and overall respiration slows to create a calmed feeling.

Commercial products like the Thundershirt were designed around this swaddling dynamic, and they’re readily available at most pet stores.

7. Trick-or-treaters and stranger-danger guests mean Halloween frights for dogs

Speaking of doorbells, let’s talk strangers and visitors. Pets instinctively guard their own territory. So, it can be extremely upsetting when an endless parade of giggling ghosts and goblins visit… or worse, head straight into the house accompanied by loud music and strobing lights.

“This loud, high-energy environment can cause anxious pets to escape right out the door of their homes,” notes Dr. Behrens. Dr. Katz agrees that panicky pets who bolt could get lost, abducted and even hit by a car.

If you host Halloween revelers in your home — in any capacity — be extra-sensitive to your pet’s needs.

It’s often best and safest to let your pooch hunker down in a secure, quiet room away from the action. In pronounced cases of anxiety, an overnight stay at a reputable boarding facility or with a trusted family member, friend or sitter can give furry friends a reassuring break.

As an added seasonal precaution, it’s always smart to keep the number of your local vet and emergency clinic close at hand. Also, remember the hotline for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435. If anything unexpected happens, consult these resources without delay. Here’s wishing you and your pet a safe, secure and ghoulishly good time this Halloween!

Thumbnail: Photography © damedeeso | Thinkstock. 

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The 10 Smallest Dog Breeds

Posted: October 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

For some people, the smaller the dog, the better. It seems like the trend started around 2003, when Paris Hilton was seen carrying her Chihuahua in a designer purse and started a line of doggy clothing for superpetite canines only. The hustle to get a tiny dog was strengthened by popular hybrid breeds, which started in the 1990s. In 2005, the AKC published a piece on the rise and expected continuing popularity of dogs in the toy group, and the smallest breeds have continued to be big favorites — even years later.

Common Characteristics of the Smallest Dog Breeds

A chihuahua in a bathtub getting shampooed.

A Chihuahua is among the smallest dog breeds. Photography by Shutterstock.

The smallest dog breeds have much in common, but, generally, the smaller the dog, the more he gets — more attention, more privileges, more of the royal attitude. They also share some distinctive characteristics.

  1. Low weight: This does not mean dogs going on a diet to fit into their new Hermes sweater. The smallest dog breeds are tiny and do not weigh more than 10 pounds.
  2. Short height: Not as important in determining whether a dog qualifies for the “smallest” trait, but it can still be used.
  3. Cute factor: The smallest dog breeds actually tend to look “cuter” than other breeds. This means a resemblance to teddy bears, with very small features, big eyes, and/or slightly larger heads.
  4. Coddling tolerance: These breeds started out as lap dogs who were treated like infants. As they’ve shrunk even more, they seem to tolerate, and even like, a great deal of cooing and cuddling.
  5. Head for heights: The smallest dog breeds may almost never touch the ground. Instead, they view the world from a human’s hip and don’t seem to mind.

Why People Want One of the Smallest Dog Breeds

A Pomeranian in the grass.

Pomeranians make our list of tiny dogs. Photography by Tsik/Thinkstock.

Obviously, if you want to look trendy, it’s tempting to get a tiny dog with matching outfit and purse. Unfortunately, some people do get one of these breeds for that reason and are then surprised when they find out that these diminutive dogs actually pee and poop, bark and sometimes snap, and are supposed to be walked.

Here are some better reasons to consider getting one of the smallest dog breeds:

  • Lifespan: The smaller the dog, the longer the life; many toy breeds live 15-plus years.
  • Companionship: These breeds have the art of companionship down pat, since that’s what they were bred for.
  • Space saving: Having a teensy-weensy canine in a tiny apartment gives you a lot more room. (Although not all great apartment dogs are small!)
  • Lovable littleness: These breeds can make excellent therapy dogs, and their size makes them more portable.

The 10 Smallest Dog Breeds

  1. The Chihuahua: This choice is no surprise, but Milly, a Chihuahua from Puerto Rico, outdid all others of her breed by weighing in at only 7 ounces (full grown). Chihuahuas usually weigh around 4 to 6 pounds on average.
  2. Brussels Griffon: The AKC standards for this breed say it should weigh 8 to 10 pounds, but smaller Brussels Griffons (6 to 7 pounds) exist.
  3. Pomeranian: With his full, fluffy coat, the Pomeranian looks bigger than his actual size. This breed is around 7 pounds.
  4. Affenpinscher: This tiny dog with the “monkey face” weighs around 7 to 9 pounds.
  5. Papillon: Papillons typically weigh 6 to 7 pounds.
  6. Yorkshire Terrier: Lucy, a Yorkie from New Jersey, is probably the smallest of her breed to date, at 2-and-a-half pounds. Yorkies are usually around 6 pounds.
  7. Toy Fox Terrier: Much smaller than his cousin, the Fox Terrier, weighing in at around 7 pounds.
  8. Russian Toy Terrier: This petite Russian breed has feathered ears and can weigh up to 6 pounds.
  9. Japanese Chin: This silky breed has a fairly wide range for weight at 5 to 10 pounds.
  10. Chinese Crested: This almost-naked breed, which seems to shiver a lot, weighs in at 7 to 10 pounds.

Let’s face it: Tiny dogs get stepped on — sometimes literally. It’s tough for them to have their opinions heard because their voices are so small. And there’s the constant fear that something bigger will gulp you down or sit on you. But the smallest dog breeds are surviving and thriving just the same.

Tell us: Which small dog breed would you have added to this list? Tell us in the comments below!

Thumbnail: Photography by Dixi/THINKSTOCK.

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Halloween is almost here! Still don’t have a costume for your dog? These homemade dog Halloween costumes were submitted by our readers on Facebook and range in difficultly from crafty to seriously easy. Let’s look at some of our favorites, plus tell us about homemade dog Halloween costumes that you’ve made or plan on making!

1. Sadie as the Tin Man, Kami as Dorothy, Bali as the Scarecrow and Molly as the Cowardly Lion.

Sadie is the Tin Man, Kami is Dorothy, Bali is the Scarecrow and Molly is the Cowardly Lion. Submitted by Facebook user Kristin Bergman.

Submitted by Facebook user Kristin Bergman.

2. Cookie the Corgi as a Milkmaid.

Cookie the Corgi in her Milkmaid costume. Submitted by Facebook user Lori Lallo.

Submitted by Facebook user Lori Lallo.

3. Jinx as Queen Barklizabeth I.

Jinx in her Queen Barklizabeth I costume. Submitted by Facebook user Miko Simons.

Submitted by Facebook user Miko Simons.

4. Bruce Springsteen aka The Boss.

Bruce Springsteen aka The Boss! Submitted by Facebook user Nicholle Cheesman.

Submitted by Facebook user Nicholle Cheesman.

5. Erich as a Chia pet.

Erich as a Chia Pet. Submitted by Facebook user Jill Medow Smith.

Submitted by Facebook user Jill Medow Smith.

6. Carter as the Green Arrow.

Carter in his Green Arrow costume. Submitted by Facebook user Bethany Vinton.

Submitted by Facebook user Bethany Vinton.

7. Pocket as a chicken.

Pocket in her chicken costume. Submitted by Facebook user Miranda Rommel.

Submitted by Facebook user Miranda Rommel.

8. Monarch as a butterfly.

Monarch. Submitted by Facebook user Michele Flores.

Submitted by Facebook user Michele Flores.

9. Lily as a cobweb.

Lily in her cobweb costume. Submitted by Facebook user Trisha Lang.

Submitted by Facebook user Trisha Lang.

10. Marshmallow as a Dalek.

Marshmallow in her Dalek costume. Submitted by Facebook user Marcoux Heather.

Submitted by Facebook user Marcoux Heather.

11. Kami as Hello Kitty.

Kami as Hello Kitty. Submitted by Facebook user Kristin Bergman.

Submitted by Facebook user Kristin Bergman.

12. Simba as a Native American.

Simba as a Native American. Submitted by Facebook user Stephanie Thompson.

Submitted by Facebook user Stephanie Thompson.

13. Sadie in a poodle skirt.

Sadie in a poodle skirt. Submitted by Facebook user Shae Pepper.

Submitted by Facebook user Shae Pepper.

14. Frankie as Shrek with his human mom as Princess Fiona.

Frankie as Shrek with his human mom as Princess Fiona. Submitted by Facebook user Rachel Heyes.

Submitted by Facebook user Rachel Heyes.

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Dogs talk with their bodies. It can happen so fast that we miss subtle nuances, and then we wonder why they behave a certain way. To understand our pups better, we must learn to pay better attention to their body language. Dog paw lifts are one expression that often go ignored, except by hunters, of course, such as in the image below of a bird dog. Here, your dog lifts a paw and positions his ears forward in alert, directly stares at prey, put his tail out and poises his body to create a message of high drive and excitement, not anxiety.

English Setter puppy in training, pointing a game bird, by Shutterstock.

English Setter puppy in training, pointing a game bird with a lifted paw. Photography by Shutterstock.

1. The anxious dog paw lift

It’s the paw lifts by non-hunting dogs that can be a sign of anxiety, stress, and/or fear. I translate this body language in my Dog Decoder smartphone app using illustrations by Lili Chin of Doggie Drawings. There are 60 different poses and scenarios. Each pose features three parts; The Pose, The Info and The Details about the pose and the app’s star, Diamond:

The Pose

DogDecoder_FearPerson

Dog Decoder illustration by Lili Chin.

The Info

DogDecoder_FearPersonInfo

Dog Decoder illustration by Lili Chin.

The Details

DogDecoder_FearPersonDetails

Dog Decoder illustration by Lili Chin.

In the above illustration, a dog is showing fear in multiple ways, including a paw lift. Dogs will often lift a paw when anxious, so it’s important to look at all of the body — including ears, tail, eyes, and paw — when reading your pup. It’s also important to speed read. Dogs talk a mile a minute with their body, changing signals in an instant. Don’t be discouraged if you miss subtle signs at first — the more you pay attention, the better you will be at understanding your dog.

In fact, I have a mantra all of my clients use whenever they are with their dogs. In training, just hanging out, playing fetch, riding in the car… they ask themselves, “What does my dog need now?” This helps them become more aware of what their pup is saying. Try it yourself!

2. Sometimes, a dog lifts a paw in anticipation

DogDecoder_Anticipation

Dog Decoder illustration by Lili Chin.

Paw lifts also can be an expression of anticipation, as shown above. In this context, you see that Diamond has high hopes that the turkey is for him. Ears and eyes alert, head and sniffer up and ready, tail out, and a paw lifted combine to signal anticipation.

3. The fearful paw tuck

SpaceGuarding-Person

Dogs also may tuck a paw to convey fear. Typically, when a dog tucks a paw while lying down, it’s a sign of relaxation, but not always as shown in the image above. Diamond is hiding under the table, not wanting to interact. Notice that his left front paw is tucked and he is indirectly staring at the boy. Diamond also has pulled his body in and away from the boy, becoming small and tight — these are all signs that he is scared and could bite. If the boy doesn’t retreat or the parents don’t step in to translate these “stay away” signals, he could be in serious danger.

Bottom line: Keep an eye on your dog’s paws

Often, when a dog lifts a paw or tucks it, it’s one of the first signs of stress, and if it goes unnoticed could lead to, at best, frustration for you if an undesired behavior follows — at worst, it could lead to a bite.

Our dogs rely on us to learn their language, and by gaining this skill, you’ll find that your dog is not being “stubborn” or “bad.” Instead, you will understand that he is anxious, excited, or afraid. With this newfound knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to help your dog.

For more insight, download the Dog Decoder smartphone app via iTunes and Google play. You can also learn more from Sarah Kalnajs’s DVD The Language of Dogs as well as from the book Decoding Your Dog: Explaining Common Dog Behaviors and How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones by John Ciribassi, Debra Horwitz, and Steve Dale.

Thumbnail: Photography by Dvorakova Veronika | Shutterstock.

About the author: Jill Breitner is a professional dog trainer and dog body language expert, loving and living life with friends and family. She a certified Fear Free Professional and  the author of Dog Decoder, a smartphone app about dog body language. Join Jill on her Dog Decoder Facebook page.

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Why Is My Dog Vomiting Yellow?

Posted: October 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

What dog owner hasn’t experienced that oh-so-special early morning wakeup call of stepping her foot in dog puke? If you’re like me, you first recoil in disgust but then inevitably end up on your hands and knees examining the offending puddle for clues as to why your dog is throwing up. The vomit in question is often foamy or watery, and yellow in color. So, what does a dog vomiting yellow mean?

Dog vomiting yellow? Here’s why

A beagle or hound dog looking sick and under the weather.

Is your dog vomiting yellow? There could be a few reasons why. Photography by Igor Normann/Shutterstock.

That yellow stuff is actually your dog vomiting bile. “Bile is produced by the liver and aids in the digestive process,” explains Tracey Jensen, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, medical director at Wellington Veterinary Hospital in Wellington, Colorado. “Bile is normal, but it’s not normal to vomit bile. The bile itself, if it’s produced excessively, can be a cause of vomiting.”

Why is your dog vomiting bile? What is bilious vomiting syndrome?

I asked Dr. Jensen about my own dog, Jäger, who occasionally vomits bile if he goes too long without eating. It usually happens in the morning if I fed him dinner earlier than usual and forget to give him breakfast right away. I once Googled it and discovered the term bilious vomiting syndrome. In dogs, bilious vomiting syndrome is vomiting as a reaction to inflammation caused by bile in the stomach. Dogs with bilious vomiting syndrome tend to throw up in the morning after they haven’t eaten in a while. I wondered if that could be what causes my dog’s weird early-morning barfing.

“It’s one of the things on a very long list of 1,001 reasons why a dog will vomit,” Dr. Jensen says, “and it certainly can be that a particular pet produces enough acid on an empty stomach that it will trigger vomiting. That is something that can be managed by a regular feeding schedule or even antacids.”

Now that I know that Jäger seems to do better with food in his stomach, I try to make sure I feed him his breakfast and dinner at the same time every day. If for some reason I have to feed his dinner early, I’ll give him a biscuit right before bed and that usually does the trick.

Is your dog throwing up yellow a cause for concern?

One thing to know — your dog vomiting yellow may be a symptom of something serious. If your dog vomits, even occasionally, he should be seen by your vet to make sure it’s nothing that requires treatment. “It takes more of a trigger for a dog to vomit than most people,” Dr. Jensen says. “If a dog has started vomiting, usually there’s something that triggered that and the possible causes for vomiting in dogs is quite an extensive list.”

Your vet will do a complete physical exam and might recommended certain tests to look for common causes of vomiting. According to Dr. Jensen, vomiting can be caused by certain parasites, various organ issues, hormonal disturbances and food sensitivity.

Should you take your dog to the vet if he is puking yellow?

It’s hard to know when to bring your dog to the vet and when to take a wait-and-see approach. If there is a problem than needs to be addressed, waiting too long can lead to a more severe issue and could cost you more in the long run.

“Pets can’t speak,” Dr. Jensen says. “All we really have to go on are these physical symptoms. If something is occurring in your pet that has never happened before, pick up the phone and make a call. Even if it’s just a one-time thing. If nothing else, it will then get noted in your pet’s file in case it does develop into a trend.”

Thumbnail: Photography by Shutterstock.

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