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Q&A: Why Is My Dog Vomiting Brown Liquid and Not Eating?

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Socks and toys can create potentially fatal intestinal blockages if ingested.

Socks and toys can create potentially fatal intestinal blockages if ingested.

Why Is Throwing Up Brown Liquid and Refusing to Eat?

"My dog seemed to throw up everything in her stomach Wednesday. Since then, she has refused to eat anything but will drink water. She is still throwing up a brown liquid. It has been 3 days since she’s eaten anything. She is usually a very energetic dog, but now all she is doing is lying around. She has pooped a little amount since Wednesday and hasn’t peed as much as she usually does." —Erin

Ulcers or a Blockage

It is okay for your dog to go for a day or even two without eating, but vomiting and going without food for three or more days is a sign of a serious problem. Your dog might have an ulcer that is bleeding into the stomach (causing the vomit to look brown), but it is also possible that she ate a sock or a toy that has blocked her intestine.

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If the blockage is not taken care of, your dog will die. With surgical intervention, 80 to 90% of dogs will survive, but this has to be taken care of immediately. (1)

This Is a Medical Emergency

If it has already been three days and your dog is lethargic then this is a medical emergency. Take her in to your regular veterinarian or an emergency clinic right away.


  1. Hayes G. Gastrointestinal foreign bodies in dogs and cats: a retrospective study of 208 cases. J Small Anim Pract. 2009 Nov;50(11):576-83.

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

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