Why Is My Dog Throwing Up Brown Liquid?

If you have a canine companion in your home, you may stumble upon the occasional pile of dog vomit. Dog vomit can range in everything from color to consistency, each kind warranting its own set of questions from pet parents.

If your dog is vomiting up a brown liquid, you are likely wondering what factors could be behind their sudden upset stomach.

To help you get to the bottom of your dog’s strange vomit color, let’s discuss the details of brown dog vomit below.

Why Is My Dog Throwing Up Brown Liquid

Does The Color Of My Dog’s Vomit Matter?

The color of your dog’s vomit may not offer an exact diagnosis, but it certainly can give us a few clues as to what is going on. Both the appearance of our dog’s vomit and dog poop can offer us insight into their current state of GI health, so we always want to take note of what their vomit looks like.

The next time your dog vomits on the floor, be sure to take note of their vomit texture, color, and frequency. By relaying this information to your vet, you can help your veterinary team get to the bottom of their symptoms.

Now that you are aware that dog vomit colors matter, let’s discuss the potential causes of brown liquid dog vomit below.

Why Is My Dog Vomiting Brown Liquid?

What can be the cause of your dog’s brown vomit?

Ranging from their recent eating habits to serious health complications, let’s get into some of the most common underlying factors.

1.) Your Dog Ate Brown Dog Food

If you find a pile of brown vomit on the floor from your pup, it could be due to the color of the food they just ate. Brown vomit is one of the most common vomit colors seen in dogs, as many dog kibbles are brown or dark orange in color.

Because of this, your dog’s vomit may have a brown colored tinge.

This can be the case if your dog is vomiting undigested food, but it can also occur if they are vomiting on a near empty stomach. There may be a small amount of digested food left behind that turns the vomit brown, even if they have not eaten in the last few hours.

2.) Your Dog Is Vomiting On An Empty Stomach

Anytime our dogs vomit up liquid, this typically means they have not eaten for at least 10-12 hours.

This could be due to missing their most recent meal for an innocent reason, or it could mean they are struggling with some form of GI upset. Many dogs will throw up a mixture of stomach acid when they have not eaten, and this can range in color from yellow to light brown.

If your dog is vomiting up brown liquid due to not eating, it’s likely time to get to the bottom of their potential anorexia.

Some dogs will stop eating due to previous dietary indiscretion, motion sickness, side effects from medication, stomach pain, food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, and pancreatitis.

If your dog continues to vomit or turn away food for more than 24 hours, we suggest having them seen by your veterinarian.

3.) Your Dog Is Eating Poop

We know it may sound disgusting, but some furry friends like to eat dog poop when given the chance. Some dogs will even eat poop out of the litter box when sharing a home with a cat, proving that they don’t discriminate when it comes to disturbing snacks.

Any type of poop is filled with bacteria that can upset a dog’s stomach when it is consumed, causing them to vomit a brown or dark brown liquid.

If a dog does get their paws on poop, this can easily lead to a bacterial infection that causes significant GI upset. These dogs may experience vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, abdominal pain, and lethargy.

If your pup is known for eating feces and they are vomiting brown liquid, it is likely time to reach out to your vet for guidance.

4.) Your Dog Needs To Eat More Frequent Meals

If your dog is vomiting up brown liquid, but appears fine otherwise, it could just mean they are struggling with acid reflux. Also referred to as bilious vomiting syndrome, these dogs will have a build up of stomach acid between meals that leads to eventual vomiting.

Due to the fact that most dogs do not eat for multiple hours overnight, most of these dogs will vomit in the morning.

Though most of these pups will vomit up yellow dog vomit or bile, some will still produce a brown liquid from time to time.

If it seems like your dog only vomits in the morning and they are always fine after they eat, it may be time to feed them more frequently throughout the day. You can do this by breaking up their normal feeding amount into multiple feedings.

If your dog still needs a bit of extra support, we suggest speaking with your vet about the use of antacids.

5.) Your Dog May Have Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is another potential cause of brown dog vomit in our furry friends. Many dogs that are suffering from pancreatitis will not eat due to their significant nausea and abdominal pain, causing them to have liquid vomit without the presence of food.

Pancreatitis most often develops after a dog eats some form of fatty human food, causing the secondary inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas will then leak digestive fluids into their surrounding abdomen, leading to significant pain for the dog effected.

If a dog is vomiting due to having pancreatitis, they may also experience diarrhea, anorexia, lethargy, abdominal pain, fever, and weakness. Pancreatitis requires immediate veterinary care to offer the dog the best chance at recovery, so we always suggest having your dog seen by a vet if they are experiencing any of the above symptoms.

6.) Your Dog May Have An Intestinal Blockage

Some dogs are known to eat things they shouldn’t. Some dogs will even eat items that are unable to be digested in their digestive tract, causing a life-threatening intestinal blockage to form.

If there is a blockage preventing their stomach and intestinal contents from passing, many dogs will then begin to vomit.

Dogs with a blockage in their intestinal tract or stomach will often feel so nauseous that they are unable to eat. This will then lead to them vomiting liquid, and this liquid can be brown in color.

Dogs with an gastrointestinal blockage may experience vomiting, anorexia, lethargy, abdominal pain, weakness, and even collapse. If your dog is known to eat things outside of their standard diet and they are vomiting brown fluid, we always suggest having them seen by a vet.

If your dog does have a blockage in their digestive tract, they will require immediate and aggressive treatment.

7.) Your Dog May Be Vomiting Blood

If you ever see brown liquid vomit in your dog, it is possible that they are vomiting traces of blood. Blood can appear brown or dark brown in color when it has been digested, often causing a muddy appearance to their vomit.

You may still see traces of bright red blood in their vomit, but it’s not uncommon for it to be mostly brown.

Dogs can vomit blood for a variety of reasons, each of which are considered very serious. A dog may vomit blood due to stomach ulcers, eating something toxic, a mass in the mouth or stomach, intestinal parasites, and heat stroke.

Each of these complications can cause brown vomit, black vomit, weakness, pale gums, fever, and diarrhea.

If your dog is ever vomiting brown liquid and you notice any of the symptoms we just mentioned, we suggest having them seen by a vet immediately.

My Dog Is Vomiting Brown Chunky Dog Vomit

We have discussed brown liquid vomit in dogs, but what about brown chunky vomit in dogs? Brown vomit with chunks is typically a result of a dog vomiting up their food soon after eating.

This often means there are simply pieces of food leftover in their vomit, causing it to have noticeable chunks in the liquid.

My Dog Is Vomiting Brown Coffee Grounds

Many pet owners are surprised to learn that when a dog is vomiting up blood of any form, it doesn’t always appear bright red in color.

The blood changes appearances once it has been digested in the stomach, often causing it to have a brown or dark brown shade. Digested blood can also clump together once it has been digested, making it look like coffee grounds if the dog vomits.

If you ever see anything that looks like coffee grounds in your dog’s vomit, we suggest having them seen by a vet immediately.

When Dogs Vomit Brown Liquid, What Should You Do?

If your furry friend is vomiting brown liquid, you are likely wondering what you should do next. The causes of brown dog vomit can range in severity as you can see, so it can be challenging to determine the best game plan moving forward.

No matter what color your dog’s vomit is, vomiting in dogs typically has a window in which medical care is required.

For example, if your dog vomits once, but they appear fine otherwise, you can typically monitor them in the coming hours. If they never vomit again and have a normal appetite for their next meal, it could have just been a mild upset stomach.

We still encourage you to check your dog’s gum colors and monitor them closely for the slight chance of complications, but if they appear fine, it could be nothing.

However, if your dog vomits more than once in a 24-hour period, refuses to eat their food, or if they are experiencing other concerning symptoms, we always suggest that you contact your vet. Many causes of dog vomiting require veterinary care, so any continued GI upset should always be explored.

How Do You Treat A Dog That Vomits Brown Liquid?

The treatment plan for your dog that is vomiting brown liquid will vary based on the underlying cause.

To help you better understand what could be ahead for your pup, let’s briefly discuss the treatment options for each potential cause.

  • Acid reflux: Acid reflux in dogs typically only requires frequent meals throughout the day and the addition of daily antacid medications.
  • Eating poop: GI upset from eating poop often requires antibiotics that target gut bacteria, as well as medication that controls nausea. Some dogs will need fluids under their skin if they have become dehydrated from their vomiting as well. How do you know your dog ate poop? Does your dog’s breath smell like poop?
  • Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis in dogs often requires time in the hospital for 24-72 hours. These dogs will receive intravenous fluids, GI antibiotics, nausea control, pain control, and syringe feeding until they regain their appetite.
  • Intestinal blockage: Most intestinal blockages require either time in the hospital on fluids that help the material pass, or they require abdominal surgery to remove the obstruction completely.
  • Vomiting blood: The treatment for a dog that is vomiting blood will vary based on the exact cause. For example, a dog with stomach ulcers will need medication that soothes the irritation in their stomach and esophagus, medication to reduce stomach acid, antibiotics to prevent infection, and often pain control. The treatment plan for toxicities, heat stroke, intestinal parasites, and stomach masses will all vary greatly, so we suggest getting information from your vet.

Your vet is the only one that knows the detail of your vomiting dog’s case, so we always suggest referring any questions to your veterinary team. They will be able to offer you the most accurate information for your dog’s situation.

FAQs On Brown Dog Vomit

My dog is hacking and coughing up brown fluid. What would cause this?

If your dog is coughing up any color of fluid, this could mean that they are struggling with some form of respiratory infection. Coughing up fluid can even point to pneumonia in dogs, so we suggest having them seen by a vet if this is the case.

Can eating rat poison cause bloody vomit in dogs?

Rat poison ingestion can lead to vomiting blood in dogs. Some forms of rat poison make it impossible for the body to clot blood properly, leading to life-threatening internal bleeding. This is why rat bait ingestion is considered such a major emergency in dogs.

My young puppy is vomiting brown fluid, what should I do?

If your young puppy is vomiting brown fluid, it is best to have them seen by a vet. Vomiting liquid can mean that your puppy is not eating, and puppies should not go more than 10-12 hours without food. Vomiting in puppies can also point to everything from infectious disease to intestinal parasites, so it’s best to have them seen for proper testing.

Resources:

1.) PetMD

2.) VCA Animal Hospitals

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