Have you caught your dog eating his own vomit? Your first reaction must be the feeling of disgust, and then you ask yourself why do dogs eat their vomit?
Why Do Dogs Eat Their Vomit?
Some people may think that their dog’s eating something so gross is disgusting and embarrassing, but it turns out this behavior could actually be an instinctual survival technique. “We can all agree that vomit smells,” Dr. Spano said. “Animals in the wild, from whom dogs have descended, will ingest vomit to eliminate any smell a predator might sense or that may indicate he [or] she is not feeling well.”
Dr. Vanessa Spano, a veterinarian at Behavior Vets in New York City, said: “We can all agree that vomit smells. Animals in the wild, from whom dogs have descended, will ingest vomit to eliminate any smell a predator might sense or that may indicate he [or] she is not feeling well.”
This is also because it’s a habit your pup might have picked up from when he was young. “Additionally, as pups are being weaned off of their moms’ milk to a regular diet, the [mother] may regurgitate up some solid food [for her puppies] to allow for easier digestion.”
He may have never broken the habit of eating vomit from when they were puppies or if you notice food aggression in them it could motivate this further behavior as well. “I’ve also seen that dogs who resource guard may learn to ingest anything they intend on guarding, including vomit,” Dr. Spano said.
Vomiting isn’t always caused by a behavioral issue. Sometimes your pup could be experiencing health issues like a nutritional imbalance or gastrointestinal infection, which would lead him to puke everything up. But, there’s a possibility that your BFF just likes eating vomit. Dr. Spano explained: “I won’t deny that perhaps, especially if the material was regurgitated during [or] right after a meal, the pup in question might just find this appetizing.”
Is Eating Vomit Bad For Dogs?
Dr. Spano explained, “It depends on what the dog is vomiting up. If the dog ingested a toxin and then vomited or regurgitated it up and attempts to ingest it again, that is dangerous because the toxin in itself is dangerous. if the dog ingested a foreign object, such as a sock or a toy, but for some reason regurgitates it immediately back up [just] to [successfully] ingest it … that foreign object … can, unfortunately, lead to obstruction anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract, which can be fatal if not addressed immediately.”
Normal And Not Normal Vomiting
Eating his vomit is nasty, but it’s not what you should be worried about. Dr. Spano said, “Really what is more concerning is why the dog vomited in the first place, especially if it is persistent,” In order to find out why your dog is experiencing this issue, it’s important that we differentiate between vomiting and regurgitation because their causes vary. “Vomiting is typically associated with abdominal contractions, contains digested material and bile, and is not necessarily associated with having ingested something very recently.”
How Regurgitation Is Different
Dogs are known to be fast eaters, and sometimes they just can’t slow down the process, that’s why it may result in regurgitation. If that is the case, it is best to feed your dog smaller portions of food. “Regurgitation is not associated with abdominal contractions. instead, the dog will essentially just open his mouth, and out it comes. It tends to be composed of undigested food/material and usually occurs shortly after having ingested something,” Dr. Spano explained.
Medical conditions are a possible cause of regurgitation, such as:
•A gastrointestinal obstruction
•Enlargement of the esophagus (AKA megaesophagus)
If not regurgitating – vomiting can also indicate medical issues, like:
•Other metabolic causes
It’s always important to contact a vet if you notice your dog vomiting or regurgitating.
How To Stop Dogs From Eating Vomit
There are a few ways to keep your dog from eating his own vomit, but the only surefire way is by getting it away before he gets into it. If you think your dog is eating their own vomit as a form of resource guarding, be careful about picking to avoid aggression. If it does, try redirecting him to something else like a fun toy or asking for help from an expert in this field.
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