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Should You Let Your Dog Eat Their Vomit

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Dogs eating their vomit is a normal and natural behavior.
  • In most cases, eating vomit is not harmful unless the vomit contains foreign objects, blood, or anything other than their usual food.
  • It is better to train your dog not to eat its own vomit.
  • If the vomiting is too frequent, or if there are other worrying symptoms, consult a vet.
Written by Jay
BsC (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare graduate with a passion for advocating for misunderstood animals.
Zoo and wildlife doctor in veterinary medicine passionate about animal welfare and preventive medicine.
Published on
Thursday 21 October 2021
Last updated on
Tuesday 4 July 2023
vomit eating dogs
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As a pet parent, you may have experienced the unsettling sight of your dog eating their vomit. But don’t worry, it’s actually a natural and normal behavior for dogs, especially when they’ve eaten too quickly or too much. However, if your dog vomits due to ingesting harmful objects, toxic foods, or as a symptom of an illness, then it’s a cause for concern.

It’s important to note the difference between vomiting and regurgitation. Vomiting is a forceful expulsion of stomach contents, while regurgitation is a passive expulsion of undigested food. Dogs may eat their vomit, but they will not regurgitate it.

If your dog’s vomiting is frequent, it’s best to speak with your veterinarian. They can recommend anti-vomiting medication if necessary and rule out any underlying health issues.

In summary, it’s normal for dogs to eat their vomit when it’s the result of eating too quickly or too much. However, if the vomiting is due to a more serious issue, it’s important to seek veterinary care.

Why Do Dogs Eat Their Own Vomit

Dogs eating their own vomit is a natural behavior, as it serves as a food source and may help hide the dog from predators. However, vomiting can also signal an underlying health issue. Additionally, regurgitation can be a maternal behavior and is a normal part of the weaning process.

One phrase that needs correction is “eating vomit may hide traces of the dog from predators.” This should be corrected to “eating vomit may help hide the scent of food from predators, increasing the dog’s chances of survival.”

To avoid using technical jargon, we can replace “regurgitation” with “bringing up food” and “undesirable behaviors” with “bad habits”. Additionally, we can simplify the grammar for easier understanding.

Overall, it’s important to redirect a dog when they exhibit bad habits, like eating vomit or feces, rather than punishing them. This is especially important for rescue dogs who may have anxiety due to past scolding. By redirecting them to their bathroom spot and praising them when they finish, we can encourage good behavior and reduce anxiety.

Is My Dog’s Vomit Harmful When Consumed

While it may be concerning to see your dog eating their own vomit, it’s usually not harmful. If your dog vomits because they ate too quickly, it’s generally safe for them to eat it. However, if your dog has eaten something harmful, like a toxic substance or an object that could cause an obstruction, it’s important to stop them from eating their vomit. Vomiting helps dogs get rid of harmful things in their stomach, so eating it again could make them sick all over again. If you notice anything unusual in your dog’s vomit, such as foreign objects or blood, contact your veterinarian.

If your dog does eat their vomit, don’t punish them as it’s a natural behavior. Instead, try to redirect their attention and clean up the mess as soon as possible. If you’re concerned about your dog’s vomiting or eating habits, talk to your veterinarian for advice.

eating vomit is normal behavior in dogs
Although eating its own vomit has no health hazard, it’s better to train your dog to not eat it next time.

Dogs Eating Their Own Vomit: FAQ

Have any more questions or concerns about dogs eating their vomit? Feel free to check our Frequently Asked Questions for more details. If in doubt about your dog’s vomiting habits, always ask your vet for advice.

What causes a dog to vomit?

In most cases, dog vomiting is caused by dietary indiscretion or eating too quickly. Many dogs are not fussy eaters, and will gladly take any table scraps or leftovers they find on the floor – leading to vomiting! Similarly, some dogs who eat too quickly will take in a lot of air with their food, causing them to vomit up food and sometimes foam. Other benign causes of vomiting include travel sickness, sudden dietary changes, and stress. Frequent vomiting, however, signals a more dangerous issue. Some conditions that cause repetitive vomiting include gastritis, bloat, worm infestations, diabetes, and kidney disease.

When should you be concerned about your dog throwing up?

Be sure to check in with your vet if your dog vomits for more than 24 hours, vomits constantly without breaks, is very old or very young, or vomits alongside other worrying symptoms. Such symptoms include lethargy, bloating, retching, bloody vomit, dehydration, disorientation, or collapse. Make sure to tell your vet about all of your dog’s symptoms as soon as you can. Overall, you know your pup best. If your dog shows none of these signs but you are still worried about their vomiting, rest assured that you can contact your vet to ask for advice.

How can I examine my dog’s vomit?

Visually inspecting your dog’s vomit is not a pleasant job, but an essential one. Is it made up of food? Does it contain bile, foam, water, or blood? Are there any foreign objects in the mess, like pieces of toys or clothing? Take note of all of these findings when bringing your dog to the vet. If possible, it pays to bring any pieces of foreign object that you find with you to the vet. Your vet will then know what to look for when checking over your pup.

What’s the difference between vomiting and regurgitating?

While vomiting is an active process, regurgitation is passive. If a dog vomits, they actively use their stomach muscles to expel their stomach contents, which are usually partly digested. You might see bile in the vomit, too. Before vomiting, many dogs start drooling and retching alongside contracting their abdomen. In contrast, regurgitation is passive, and your dog might seem to just burp up food that they just ate. Regurgitated material comes from the esophagus rather than the stomach, so none of the food will be digested, and no bile should be present.

What can I give my dog for vomiting?

The best way to help your dog after they vomit is to withhold food for 12 to 24 hours. After this time, you can re-introduce a bland diet that is easy for them to digest. This bland diet might be a simple meal of chicken and rice, or ground beef and sweet potato. Whichever meal you choose, it’s important that nothing else is added to it, and that there are no bones or skin that your dog could choke on.

Dogs eating vomit is a natural but offputting behavior. Luckily, in most cases, dogs eating vomit is not harmful. It becomes harmful when your dog has eaten something harmful to them.

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