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Dog Eating Vomit: Why Do Dogs Eat Their Throw Up?

Renee Whitmore
Last Updated on
by Renee Whitmore

Dogs have bizarre habits that at times puzzle and loath us other times.

I bet you might be wondering, “Why do dogs eat their vomit?” It is usually due to a habit they learnt as puppies during weaning.

Most dog owners know first-hand that their furry friend will vomit regularly. Typically, it is a normal response to a minor stomach upset. It is not strange for your dog to vomit and eat it before you stop them.

Read on to find out the reasons why dogs eat their vomit, when it should cause alarm, and how you can prevent it.

So, Why Do Dogs Eat Their Own Vomit?

Dog eat their own vomit

Dogs eat regurgitated food because it is a habit that they learn as puppies during weaning. While puppies are being weaned, their mothers regurgitate food for their young ones to help them get used to eating solid foods.

As gross as this may sound, it still smells like delicious food, at least for your canine friend. They have a better sense of smell than human beings, up to tens of thousands of times. Hence, they do not just see a pile of vomit and get grossed out – they smell food.

Related: Dogs Butt Smells Like Fish: Why Does It Happen?

Is It Ok For Dogs To Eat Their Vomit?

For your dog, it is perfectly normal. A dog will eat its vomit if you do not pick it up immediately. Dogs have olfactory receptors in the back of their nose that enable them to process and distinguish more smells.

It is thus not out of the ordinary for your dog to want to eat the food they have brought up, but vomiting may be an actual cause for concern. Dogs can recognize that their vomit contains a lot of food particles.

Dogs at times vomit after eating something disagreeable or eating too fast. However, it would be great if you were keen on your dog’s behavior after throwing up. If he acts differently, does not want to eat, throws up more than once, or seems exhausted, you should consider a trip to the vet.

Mother Dogs Feed Their Pups Regurgitated Food

For your furry friend, regurgitation is a crucial step in weaning. Therefore, this is another reason why you will find a dog eating vomit. Mother dogs partially digest food for their pups to eat before they are used to solid foods.

However, regurgitation and vomiting are often used interchangeably. There is a difference, however, between the two. Vomiting is an unintentional expulsion of stomach contents, while regurgitation voluntarily returns undigested food to the mouth from the esophagus.

What to Do Before Visiting the Vet

A random incident of vomiting may not be a cause for alarm. You may wonder why dogs eat their vomit, but you can do some home remedies that you can do yourself.

Dogs that vomit often get better without medical attention. However, if your dog vomits once or more times, here is the immediate course of action before consulting with your veterinarian:

  1. Pick up the dog’s food and water bowls to prevent more vomiting by allowing your dog to eat soon after vomiting.
  2. Observe the vomit keenly before cleaning and notice whatever you see in it. It may indicate severity or point to a cause. You may find nothing but mucus, saliva, or water and, other times, evidence of dietary indiscretion such as chocolate, socks, or gum.
  3. Observe your dog’s behavior which tells you whether you should be concerned or not.
  4. Allow your canine friend’s stomach to rest by withdrawing any sources of food and water for about two hours or more after vomiting.
  5. Re-introduce small quantities of easy to digest food.

Should You Be Concerned About Your Dog Eating its Vomit?

As earlier noted in this guide, you should not always be alarmed when your dog vomits. If, however, you notice potential toxicity in the vomit, seek immediate veterinary care.

You should also seek care if the dog vomits more than once a day or shows any of these signs.

  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Blood in stool or vomit
  • Collapse
  • General body weakness
  • Change in thirst
  • Unusual inactivity
  • Pale or white gums

When in doubt or concerned about your furry friend’s vomiting, call your vet and explain the signs and symptoms you observe. Your vet will readily advise you whether the issue is urgent based on the information you provide.

How to Prevent Your Dog from Eating Its Vomit?

Prevent dog from eating vomit

If your dog often vomits, find the cause of the problem and treat it before it gets worse. If you can’t stand your dog eating its puke, here are some tips on how to go about it:

  • Move the dog out of the area before embarking on cleaning the puke. If left alone, it will most likely smell and be drawn to eat the vomit, even for a short while.
  • Train your dog to “leave it.” Try giving your dog treats for not eating their puke. It easily becomes a habit for your dog to avoid eating its puke. Bestfriends.org has some simple guidelines on how to train your dog to “leave it.”

Final Thoughts

We typically find vomit very repulsive and thus tend to question, “why do dogs eat their vomit.” Fortunately, you now have some pretty simple answers for this strange behavior from this guide, and most of the time, it is not considered dangerous.

There are some steps to stop your dog from eating its vomit if you find it gross or in case you sense illness in your furry friend. You can easily do this by training them to ‘leave it’ or moving the dog out of the way before cleaning the vomit.

Nonetheless, if your dog vomits a lot or does not seem to be in the right mood, it is crucial to immediately seek the vet’s advice.

About Renee Whitmore
Renee Whitmore
Renee Whitmore is an American college professor and freelance writer from North Carolina. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in English Education. When she is not driving her teenage son to wrestling practice or learning the ins and outs of Fortnite from her younger son, she is working on her first book to be published soon.
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