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Dog Owner

Join other dog owners and get a free copy of our "Happy Dog Handbook - The Essential Guide For Dog Owners" and a daily email with carefully compiled tips, facts, and memes.

Why Do Dogs Eat Their Vomit?

I don’t think that there are dog owners who never witnessed their dogs eat vomit.

Dogs are weird and occasionally do very disgusting things.

Given that humans would never want to eat anything they had just puked on, the behavior of many dogs that consume their vomit may seem strange to humans.

When they exhibit this behavior, dogs resemble creatures from another planet.

However, for your dog, eating vomit is entirely normal behavior; dogs consume their vomit because they view it as a source of solid food.

Mother dogs will regurgitate food for their pups once they are weaned to assist them in getting used to eating solid foods.

As you know now the answer to the question “why do dogs eat their vomit”, continue to read to get more information.

Why Do Dogs Eat Their Vomit? – The Reasons

white dog licking his dirty mouth

We already shared the most common reason why your dog eats his vomit.

But there are more detailed reasons for it.

Because It Smells Like Food

During the dog’s vomiting process, a few pieces of partially digested food after passing from the stomach, esophagus, and mouth.

The undigested food is like winning the lotto for dogs, even if you might not give these waste fragments a second thought.

Dog vomited food particles are an actual prize in the dog’s world.

Dogs can easily smell these undigested food fragments because they have such a keen sense of smell.

If food is found in the vomit, the dog will dig into it after giving it a friendly and quick sniff.

As you may know, dogs don’t tend to be picky eaters, a survival skill they learn from their time in the wild.

As a result, if your furry friend discovers some edible food inside, he won’t think twice about eating it themselves—nothing goes to waste!

Mother Dogs Feed Regurgitated Food To Their Pups

Dogs usually eat regurgitated food and vomit because they are used to it; specifically, other dogs frequently regurgitate food and give it to their newborn puppies.

That is mainly true for wild animals and the wild forebears of our modern dogs.

The mother dog would vomit the flesh she had bolted from her kill as soon as she returned to the den where her puppies were waiting for her.

According to a study, 60 percent of contemporary domestic dogs regurgitate food to feed their puppies.

Vomit Smells And Tastes Good To A Canine

The simple answer to why dogs eat their vomit or regurgitation is the lovely smell of a dog’s vomit.

Sure, you wouldn’t eat anything that had been chewed, digested, and then thrown up on the ground.

However, that pile of wet food your dog regurgitates tastes almost as lovely the second time around!

Because of her extraordinary sense of smell, your dog eats vomit.

If you see a pile of dog poop, you might think, “Ewww.”

Your dog, however, detects the same pile of poop, recognizes all the food fragments it contains, and utters the word “yum.”

Your dog may occasionally take scent vomit but choose not to eat it, as you may have noticed.

Depending on how well the contents of her vomit have been digested, she may dive in or not.

It looks tastier if the food is still largely intact.

It might not seem as appetizing if the food has been broken down or if most of the vomit is bile.

Naturally, your dog won’t be interested in eating other food if she feels ill.

Trying To Hide Illness

beagle dog sniffing on grass and tree

Your cuddly four-legged pal probably wouldn’t tell you he’s sick even if he wanted to.

Animals in the wild will prey on their kind if they see any weakness.

An animal that isn’t feeling well is easy prey; thus, he will try to hide so that a predator doesn’t discover it.

Because of their ancestry in the wild, dogs exhibit similar traits.

If your dog is unwell and throws up, he may try to cover it up by eating it.

If your dog has an ailment, he isn’t trying to hide it from you; the dog would rather not have the other animals know that he is ill and weak.

Canines in multi-animal households are more inclined to eat their own vomit or diarrhea as a means of concealing their illness.

This instinct helps the dog avoid becoming a meal for other animals.

Bringing your dog to the doctor is warranted if you notice he is eating his own vomit and exhibiting other unusual behaviors.

It would be best to look for other symptoms like lethargy, excessive salivation and panting nasal discharge, whining, extreme thirst, kidney disease, limping, or anything else out of the ordinary.

Should I Let My Dog Eat His Vomit?

If the dog has regurgitated normal food, it is not harmful to them to eat it again (after all, it is still food!).

However, if they’ve vomited something up, there’s a good chance they’re just re-eating the toxin or bad food that made them sick in the first place.

Furthermore, vomit contains a lot of acids, which can damage the teeth.

Pitting the enamel surface and increasing the likelihood of future dental disease.

As a result, I generally advise attempting to discourage it by removing the produced material as soon as possible!

Is It Safe For My Dog To Eat Its Vomit?

Dog eating their own vomit is not always hazardous; there is no risk in your dog eating these leftovers if their vomiting results from eating too soon.

However, it’s crucial to clean up the mess and stop your dog from eating it immediately if vomiting is the consequence of poisoning or eating something inappropriate.

To get rid of the dangerous item or chemical, your dog will vomit, and if they eat it again, they will get sick.

Be alert for vomit that contains blood, strange objects, or anything other than their typical meal.

Even while it is typically safe for dogs to eat their vomit, some dog owners would not support this practice.

Your dog could suffer a terrible outcome if it consumes anything dangerous and proceeds to eat its vomit before you can stop it.

As a result, wherever feasible, it’s better to wipe up your dog’s vomit before they can access it.

As it is a natural activity, don’t penalize your dog if they try to eat its own vomit.

Instead, divert their attention elsewhere and tidy up the mess as soon as possible.

The Difference Between Vomit And Regurgitation

white brown dog in near of his vomit

Let’s first discuss what vomit is to understand why dogs eat it.

You might be thinking that a dog’s own sickness is a dog’s own puke; however, it turns out that regurgitation and vomiting are not the same things.

The act of vomiting is expelling the stomach and upper intestinal contents.

When your dog throws up, the dog’s behavior and body language will change since vomiting is considered an operational procedure in medicine, which means there will be some warning. 

Signs of vomiting include:

  • Apprehensive behavior; pacing or wandering right before vomiting

  • Drooling

  • Grumbling/growling stomach sound

  • Abdominal heaving accompanied by retching sounds

  • Hunched posture and stiffness

When someone regurgitates, they vomit back up whatever was in their esophagus.

Being passive occurs rapidly and minimally alters one’s behavior or body language.

Usually, dogs will throw up soon after they eat, and they won’t give you any notice.

Food is commonly found in both vomit and regurgitation.

As a result of incomplete digestion, nutrition in vomit may be accompanied by bile in its characteristic yellow color.

By contrast, regurgitation consists of food that never reached the stomach and was, therefore, never digested.

How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Its Vomit?

You can do some things if you don’t want your dogs to eat their vomit.

One of the first things you should do if your dog starts vomiting is to get them or the vomit out of there.

While this is done by removing the dog’s bedding or newspaper at veterinary clinics or homes, it may be more convenient to take the dog outside or to a different room while the mess is cleaned up.

Second, teaching your dog to obey the “leave it” command will discourage him from eating vomit.

That is a crucial ability to train a dog because it can be helpful in a variety of situations.

Training “leave it” is often facilitated by positive reinforcement, such as giving the dog a “high-value foreign object” like a treat if it refrains from eating the undesirable item.

Consistently reminding them of this is vital if you want them to listen to you and avoid eating their own vomit.

What To Do If Your Dog Is Vomiting

white brown bulldog lying in grass

As a general rule, your dog probably won’t need any help if you stay your distance while it throws up.

The dog’s body will produce extra saliva to cushion the soft tissues of the mouth and throat in anticipation of vomiting.

The epiglottis will also be there to shield the airways and stop any potential aspiration.

These defenses won’t work if your dog has collapsed or gone unconscious, so doing everything you can to keep its airways open is crucial.

If you see your dog vomiting, put them in the sternal position (on its stomach), preferably with its head lower than the rest of its body.

That will assist keep the vomit from coming back up into their mouth.

Furthermore, it is recommended that you see a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

When Should I Take My Dog To The Vet When He Vomits?

Once vomited by a dog is probably not a big deal.

There are some indications, nevertheless, that there might be an issue and you require veterinary advice:

Suspect Toxic Things

If you suspect your dog has consumed something toxic, you should take immediate action and take your dog to the clinic.

Something Unusual

If you notice anything unusual about your dog’s vomit, such as a unique color or smell, or if you can see packaging from toxic food or plant material, this is an urgent situation.

If Your Dog Can’t Stop

Puppies that cannot stop vomiting can soon get exhausted and experience irregular electrolytes, which is dangerous.

If You’re Anxious

If you have any concerns, trust your instincts and take your puppy to the vet.

Never should a veterinarian make you feel guilty for being cautious and taking your puppy to the doctor.

For advice, if you are worried, speak with your veterinarian.

Before You Go…

Now you know the answer to the question, “Why do dogs eat their vomit?”.

If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!

Or watch this video:

Mena Emad, DVM
Mena has a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. His expertise, passion for animal welfare, extensive knowledge, and experience in the field of veterinary medicine make him an excellent resource for our readers.

Become A Smarter Dog Owner​

Join other dog owners and get a free copy of our “Happy Dog Handbook – The Essential Guide For Dog Owners” and a daily email with carefully compiled tips, facts, and memes.

Become A Smarter Dog Owner

Join other dog owners and get a free copy of our “Happy Dog Handbook – The Essential Guide For Dog Owners” and a daily email with carefully compiled tips, facts, and memes.