Why do Dogs Eat Their Own Vomit?

November 20, 2022
Dogs Eat Their Own Vomit
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Owning a pet is one thing but caring for them is another. They are cute and fun to be around but can also be demanding.

Like human beings, they require intensive care and attention. One of the most challenging aspects is understanding why your pet may behave in a particular unfamiliar manner. For instance, what would you do in a scenario where your dog is eating vomit? 

Besides being gross, the sight is peculiar, especially for first-time dog owners. Should you be having major concerns about your dog consuming their vomit? The answer is no. This is a natural behavior not only for dogs but also for other animals. 

Here is a brief explanation of why dogs eat their vomit.

Natural Behavior

Although this behavior is unpleasant to humans, it is an instinct for dogs and other animals. Your dog does not start eating their vomit out of the blues. It is a behavior that your best friend picked up from their puppy days. 

Naturally, when puppies wean off their mother’s milk, they survive by consuming regurgitated food. It happens when the puppies are around three to four weeks. At this time, the puppies are still too young to consume solid food. For that reason, the mother will chew food before giving it to their young one to allow easy swallowing and prevent choking. 

This is a maternal behavior and not a cause for concern. Your dog is comfortable doing this because it did it with its mother. Some dogs drop the behavior when they grow older, but others stick to it. If you want to know all about  and their traits, visit We Love Doodles for expert advice on your breed.

dog vomit


Eating vomit may also indicate that your best friend is experiencing anxiety. Mostly, this depends on its upbringing. For instance, if you punish your dog for vomiting or defecating indoors, they will want to clean up their mess to avoid aggression. 

If your pet is a rescue dog, you may also notice this behavior from time to time. Suppose this is the case; you need to change how you react when upset. Instead of yelling and getting aggressive, calmly potty-train until they adjust. 

You can begin by leashing your dog and taking it to a spot where you want them to poop or pee. Please keep them in that position until they are done, then use treats to reward them.

Source of Food

Unlike humans, dogs have a powerful sense of smell. When it comes to humans, vomit grosses us because we only smell a combination of chemicals and substances that produce an unpleasant odor. 

Science proves that dogs have 300 million receptors in their nasal cavity while humans have 6 million. This is why they can differentiate the smell of different contents in vomit. Dogs do not view vomit content as waste products. 

They can sense that there is undigested food with rich sources of nutrients. To them, vomit is just the contents of the bile juice, which is harmless. More so, their vomit takes less effort to consume than solid food.

Furthermore, dogs come from a long line of canines. One natural behavior of canines is eating the stomach contents of other animals because of the presence of various valuable nutrients. Therefore, this is no different from consuming their vomit. If you want to know all about the different nutritional needs of dogs, visit Daily Dog Stuff for expert advice on canine nutrition.

dog vomit

Hide Vulnerability

Your canine buddy may also eat their vomit as a survival instinct. This is to hide that they are unwell. It is a natural behavior in the animal world, especially for canines. This is part of the "survival of the fittest" approach in the wilderness. The weaker one is, the more susceptible they are to the cruel nature. 

The strong predators eliminate the sick, weak, old, and young to create more space for the able. A hurt or ill animal will thus do all it takes to cover its tracks and stay away from potential predators. That said, it would help if you watched for other abnormal signs accompanying the vomiting.

 Some severe illnesses that may cause vomiting include kidney disease, liver failure, pancreatic failure, Addison's disease, and cancer. In conjunction with that, your dog may also be sick due to food poisoning or allergic reactions. Below are some signs and symptoms to watch out for regarding sickness.

- Diarrhea

- Aggression

- Loss of appetite

- Moodiness

- Wheezing

- Coughing

- Flaky skin

- Chronic vomiting

Fast Eating and Overeating

Your canine friend will likely eat vomit if they eat too fast or overeat. This happens because there needs to be more time for proper digestion. Therefore, they will regurgitate the food and eat it again. Fast eating may seem harmless, but it can lead to severe consequences. 

The first solution is to seek advice from your vet. This is because your dog may have parasites in the intestines or suffer from underlying health complications. You will then want to regulate the feeding habit by providing smaller portions several times a day. 

Another brilliant solution is using the slow feeder bowls as they limit the pet from gobbling large meal portions.

Differentiating Between Vomiting and Regurgitating

Fortunately, it is easy telling vomiting and regurgitating apart. Concerning vomiting, digestion has entirely or partly taken place. Hence, you will notice small chunks of undigested food. Furthermore, the vomited fluid may be yellow, green, or brown, depending on what the canine consumed. In conjunction with that, vomiting is strenuous as it involves engaging muscles. Your dog will use a lot of effort like it happens with humans.

Regurgitation, on the other hand, does not involve strenuous movements. You will notice large, undigested chunks as the food never reaches the stomach. When this happens, you should watch out for megesophagus, a condition caused by dilation of the esophagus.

Naturally, a lot of animals eat their vomit, including dogs. Most times, it is safe for your dog to eat vomit. This behavior is an instinct. However, it is vital to be on the lookout for any signs of sickness or injury. In conjunction with that, it is possible to stop the behavior. The only way to do this is to discourage your canine from the act before they beat you to it.

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