My Dog Threw Up Hard White Chunks! Should I Be Worried?

Dog threw up hard white chunk
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It goes without saying, but many dog owners think of their canine friends as a member of the family. Unfortunately, this means it’s easy to panic when your dog isn’t feeling well.

Just like our kids, dogs can have some strange and mysterious symptoms that will leave you scratching your head when it comes to whether or not your dog is actually sick and in need of medical attention.

One of these symptoms is throwing up white rubbery chunks.

If your dog threw up hard white chunks recently, and you’re wondering if it’s something you should be concerned about- well, we have the answers you’re looking for!

There are a few different potential reasons as to why your dog may be throwing up hard white masses as opposed to brown vomit, green vomit, or liquid yellow vomit. (So much vomit!)

For one, it could be choking up a piece of a bone, chew toy, candle, rawhide, or other undigested food that it had previously swallowed.

The fact that it is coming back up in chunks or a more granular form can mean that it has at least been partially digested before being rejected by the pup’s stomach.

In other scenarios, the white appearance of your dog’s throw up could be a result of acid buildup or a lack of food in the dog’s stomach.

It’s best to monitor your dog closely if they are throwing up hard white masses to ensure that it isn’t something more serious.

Check for any accompanying symptoms (such as diarrhea or loss of appetite) and take your dog to your local veterinarian if chronic vomiting develops or persists.

Why is My Dog Throwing up White Rubbery Chunks?

My dog threw up hard white chunks
Look familiar? (Source, with thanks: u/ag117 of Reddit)

As we mentioned above, there are a few different possible reasons as to why a dog may be throwing up white rubbery chunks. These can include:

Indigestion

Indigestion isn’t reserved only for humans. Your furry friend (and a lot of other animals) can suffer from it too!

Though we commonly think that dogs have extremely tough digestive systems (which is true to some extent), the fact is that domestication and generations of selective breeding have rendered the common house dog’s stomach a far cry from that of its lupine ancestors.

Indigestion in canines usually manifests itself in 3 different forms:

  • Acid reflux,
  • Heartburn, and
  • Nausea.

When a dog is suffering from indigestion, it will likely display some (or all) of the following symptoms:

One of the most common causes of indigestion in dogs is eating too quickly. In puppies, it could be due to overeating or consuming food that is still too solid for a developing digestive system to break down.

Try to ensure your dog is eating smaller meals at the same times each day to avoid this issue. Using slow feeder bowls or snuffle mats as physical obstacles can also be very helpful (see below).

Click HERE to read our post on the Tried-and-Tested Methods Of Getting Your Dog To Chew Food And Eat More Slowly (Up To 500% Slower!)

In other scenarios, inflammation of both the stomach and intestine can also cause indigestion.

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Inflammation causes muscle contractions in the aforementioned areas, eventually resulting in diarrhea and vomiting.

Feeding Your Dog the Wrong Dog Food

Bone shaped kibble in dog bowl

Some dogs are very sensitive to certain dog foods and the ingredients they contain. This is why it’s best to be mindful when choosing dog food for your furry friend.

Food sensitivities in dogs can lead to an upset stomach, and if they are repeatedly eating the problematic dog food it can lead to chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract and stomach.

If you’re noticing your dog frequently throwing up after eating, or having a lot of gas, then you should try switching to a dog food that has different (or limited) ingredients.

In some cases, you may need to add probiotic supplements, digestive enzymes, or even kefir to your dog’s diet. However, in most cases, simply finding a different brand will do the trick.

There are a lot of ingredients that commonly contribute to indigestion in dogs, such as:

  • Wheat and other grains
  • Soy
  • Legumes

When comparing dog kibbles, you should inspect the ingredients carefully and choose brands that list animal proteins first.

You might also want to consider soy-free or grain-free dog foods. Many vets and dog owners report improved digestion (among other health benefits) in dogs when switching to these types of foods.

Take a look at our article on the Best Alternatives To The Popular Hill’s Prescription Diet I/D Range for the best dog foods for optimal digestion!

In some cases, you may need to transition from dry to canned food- or even to a fresh-food diet altogether!

While dry food is readily available and the most commonly purchased by dog owners, it can trigger vomiting (especially when eaten too quickly).

This is because dry food absorbs moisture in your dog’s stomach, which then expands the size and leads to regurgitation.

If you don’t want to switch completely, you can soak dry food in water or mix it with canned food before feeding it to your furry friend.

Choking up a Bone/Chew Toy

Dog chewing on rawhide bone

Dogs love chewing toys, wood, and bones. Sadly, some of these objects have pieces that can break off and get lodged in your dog’s throat (or end up undigested in their stomachs).

Rawhide treats are another common culprit, as dogs have a bad habit of swallowing sizable pieces whole.

When this happens, these pieces need to be expelled, or your dog can become very sick. Even if the bone or chew toy isn’t white in color, this could be the white rubbery mass your dog is throwing up.

If you are recently finding white rubbery chunks in your dog’s vomit, I need you to think back.

Has your dog recently been given bones, rawhide, bully sticks, or other treats/toys to chew on?

If so, there is a high probability that the white chunk is the partially-digested, regurgitated form of whatever was given.

To keep this from happening in the future, make sure to watch your furry friend when they are chewing on their favorite bone or toy to see if pieces are breaking off.

The bone or toy should also be replaced as soon it gets to this point of fragility. Click here to see our post on the Best (And Safest) Wood-Like Toys for your best buddy to gnaw on!

Choking up Another Foreign Object

Just like with chew toys and bones, your dog can sometimes chow down on other foreign objects that can lodge in their throat or become undigested in their stomach.

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These foreign bodies can include:

Sometimes, these objects can stay in a dog’s stomach for days on end before they come back out to see the light of day.

It’s not uncommon for a pooch to be eating and pooping normally for a few days after eating the foreign item- only then to suddenly throw the fibrous, indigestible material back up.

To avoid this, it’s best to keep a close watch on your dog at all times, and move items that your dog is prone to chew on to places where they can’t easily access them. Here’s an article to help you determine when it’s safe to give your dog or puppy free range of your house!

Your Dog Ate Human Food

Person picking up pizza piece

Unfortunately, it’s common for our canine friends to get into the trash (rotten meat or fish heads, anyone?) or sneak some of our food when we’re not looking.

This can lead to vomiting, especially if the human food they consumed didn’t agree with their stomach. In fact, most human food isn’t good for dogs to eat. This includes such delectable treats as:

… and much more.

You should keep a close eye on your dog at all times whenever there is human food lying around, and keep any snacks hidden in your pantry. Trash should be in a garbage can that can’t be opened easily.

Stomach Acid Buildup

If your dog threw up hard white chunks, one of the most common culprits is stomach acid buildup.

In this case, your dog is likely throwing up a white substance because there is little to nothing in his stomach.

When dogs have an excess of stomach acid, their puke will typically be accompanied by foam, which is a mixture of beaten gastric juices and saliva.

The mucus lining of the dog’s stomach becomes irritated, and, as a result, the vomit is foamy or frothy in appearance.

In fact, it pays to make sure that the unidentified chunk is actually white– rather than just being covered in white foam as is frequently the case.

(Yes, this might mean you have to dig around in your dog’s vomit a bit! Not appealing, I know. Either that, or rinse off the chunks a bit with running water.)

If your dog does have excessive stomach acid, you may also notice it constantly licking the floor, coughing, hiccupping, and swallowing. These are all clear signs of discomfort caused by acid reflux.

You can avoid excessive stomach acid build up by feeding your dog enough (and not too much) each day.

With that said, acid buildup and subsequent vomiting could be the cause of another illness (such as a parasitic infection). If this happens frequently, you’ll want to contact your vet.

Not Eating Enough

Sometimes, your dog may vomit if his stomach is empty for too long. This could be due to irritation from the same stomach acid buildup discussed above.

This condition is called Empty Tummy Syndrome or Bilious Vomiting Syndrome and typically causes your dog to vomit foam and bile early in the morning.

Throughout the day the dog is usually unaffected. To avoid empty tummy syndrome, you can give your dog a small meal right before bedtime.

Should I Be Worried If My Dog Threw Up Hard Masses?

White dog looking unwell

While oftentimes, your dog vomiting once isn’t a huge cause for concern- even if it’s hard white chunks- you should closely monitor your pooch to make sure his/her vomiting isn’t accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • Lethargy
  • Coughing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea (or bloody diarrhea)
  • Blood in the dog’s vomit
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These can all be signs of a more serious condition (including parasites and other infections).

What Should I Do If My Dog Threw Up A Hard White Chunk?

As mentioned above, the first thing you should do after your dog throws up hard white chunks is to monitor them and make sure they don’t have any of the symptoms previously mentioned.

If your furry friend is throwing up more than once on a regular basis, then you should immediately make an appointment with your veterinarian or (in some cases) consider visiting an ER vet if one is located near you.

If you’re worried but don’t want to make the trip to your vet just yet, you can always call a nearby veterinarian’s office. Most will help to provide guidance to ensure your dog isn’t suffering from a life-threatening condition.

In the meantime, here are a few things that you can do to help at home:

  • Give your dog Pepcid AC (famotidine). Providing Pepcid AC at a dosage of 10mgs around every 8 hours will help to soothe the digestive tract, reduce inflammation, and minimize stomach acid production.
  • Fast your pup for the next 6-8 hours. This means no food should be given so that the gastrointestinal tract can rest, though small amounts of water or ice chips should still be provided in order to prevent dehydration.
  • If your dog has no problem taking water, start giving it small amounts of bland foods after 6-8 hours have passed. A bland diet of boiled chicken and rice (1:1 ratio) can be fed in small quantities 4-6 times a day over the next few days.
  • Canned pumpkin and bone broth are also excellent options for soothing a pooch’s sore stomach during recovery and flare-ups.

Conclusion

As you can see, even if your dog threw up hard white chunks it’s important not to panic as the symptoms could be the result of many factors that are non-life threatening.

Some of these factors can include:

  • Indigestion
  • Ingestion of foreign materials
  • Consumption of unsuitable dog or human foods
  • Excessive stomach acid buildup
  • Not eating enough.

At home, you can help your dog feel better by withholding food for 6-8 hours, giving it Pepcid AC to soothe its stomach, and eventually starting it on a bland diet in small quantities as it recovers.

In any case, it’s important to monitor your dog to ensure they aren’t experiencing any accompanying signs (such as diarrhea, lethargy, or a loss of appetite). If they are, you should visit your closest veterinarian as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that if your dog is throwing up profusely, this could be the sign of an emergency.

In these cases, you should definitely try to take him or her to an ER vet. Most of these facilities are open 24 hours, so it’s imperative that you do so as quickly as possible!

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