Dog Coughing Up White Foam

Is your dog coughing up white foam? There are various medical conditions that your dog may have if he is coughing up white foam. The foam doesn't always mean it is serious, however, if your dog persists in having this condition, getting in touch with a veterinarian may be a good idea.

Kennel Cough

If your dog has recently been boarded at a kennel, shelter or veterinary hospital, or has been in contact with another dog who has, he may have kennel cough. Kennel cough is an upper respiratory infection in dogs that is highly contagious. The most common sign of kennel cough is a dry cough that may induce gagging or coughing up white foam. This usually shows up 5 to 10 days after having been in contact with an infected animal. 

This cough develops quickly and normally does not last much more than 5 days.

Fungal Infection

Most dogs enjoy investigating new surroundings by smelling, scratching and digging in soil. If the soil happens to be contaminated, especially with bird, poultry or bat droppings, they may develop a fungal infection by ingesting or inhaling the disturbed soil. A harsh cough with a foam discharge can be a symptom of a fungal infection.

A veterinarian will normally treat this type of fungal infection through medication on an outpatient care basis.


Coughing up white foam can be a sign of bloat. Bloat is a very serious condition that can occur when too much air is introduced into the dog's abdominal cavity. The technical term for bloat is Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus or GDV.

Bloat occurs when there is an abnormal or excessive amount of air and fluid or foam in the dog's stomach. When the stomach bloats, or swells, it sometimes will twist. This twisting may trap air and fluid which will distend the stomach and block vein functions. This can lead to excessively low blood pressure and put your dog into shock.

If your dog is coughing up foam and his belly seems to be distended, you will want to consult your veterinarian immediately.

Bilious Vomiting Syndrome

If your dog has a build up of bile in his stomach, it is instinct to release it by vomiting. The bile usually comes out as a white foam, although it sometimes has a yellowish tint.

The vomiting of white foam often occurs after your pet has slept soundly. If you find that your dog vomits white foam after sleeping well but does not exhibit any other symptoms of illness, he may have bilious vomiting syndrome. Although this is a medical condition, it is not a serious one as it does not threaten vital functions.

Pets with this syndrome tend to occur in dogs with digestive issue histories. If their stomachs are empty, acid builds up as there is nothing to diffuse the acid. A way to minimize this condition is to encourage your pet to eat something before sleeping for the night.

If your pet does exhibit other signs of illness when coughing up white foam once he wakes up after sleeping, he may have a gastric ulcer or gastritis. In this case, your pet should see a veterinarian.

As with any signs and symptoms of illness, if they persist over a period of time with no let up, it is a good idea to consult with a veterinarian as your pet may have a serious illness that needs medication or treatment.