Anyone who has ever had a dog has experienced this. You’re sitting comfortably, and then you hear your dog yarking. You try to get out there in time, but you don’t make it, and there’s puke all over the floor. Even worse, your dog is eating up what he’s puked!
It happens, and it’s disgusting. So why do dogs eat their own vomit?
Why Dogs Eat Vomit
Okay, it’s revolting, and none of us would ever consider eating our own vomit. But dogs do it all the time. Actually, there’s a difference between vomiting and regurgitation.
When a dog vomits, he’s expelling the contents of his stomach. Before a dog vomits, he might drool, look anxious, hunch up, or experience growling in his stomach.
Regurgitation is different. When a dog regurgitates, he’s expelling what’s in his esophagus. This usually occurs right after the dog eats.
With vomit. You’ll see partially digested food and/or yellow bile. With regurgitation, you’ll see undigested food that never got to the stomach.
That said, though, why would a dog want to eat his own vomit?
Well, it’s because it smells and tastes good!
You look at a pile of vomit, and you think, “Oh God, gross!” A dog looks at it and thinks, “Looks yummy! Smells good, too!”
See, your dog’s sense of smell is so much better than yours. So your nose filters out a lot of what’s good in the puke while letting in everything that isn’t so good. To your dog, that yark looks even better once it’s been processed a bit. You, on the other hand, find it disgusting.
Another reason why dogs eat their own vomit is that in the wild, it’s normal for the mother to eat food, and then throw it up for her puppies to eat. It’s a natural progression between the mother’s milk and solid food.
Sometimes, adult dogs continue this behavior. It’s not nice, and it’s not pleasant, but it is natural, and it’s really not anything that you need to worry about.
When Should You Worry?
Most of the time, a dog eating his own vomit, or that of other animals, isn’t anything to worry about. However, if your dog is constantly vomiting, it could be a sign that he has an esophageal condition that might require veterinary treatment. If a puppy is constantly vomiting, this could also be cause for concern, as he could become dehydrated.
The Final Word
Most of the time, when dogs eat their own vomit, it’s not a cause for concern. Look at it this way – if your dog is eating his own vomit, that means that you don’t have to clean it up!
On the other hand, if your dog is vomiting persistently and showing other signs of being ill, it would probably be a good idea to take him to the vet. The vomiting might mean nothing, or it could be an indication of something more serious. It’s always best to err on the side of caution.