why do dogs eat their own vomit

Why Do Dogs Eat Their Own Vomit?

Most of the time, we are comfortable with dogs because they are such a pawdorable animal. A hug from our furry friends feels like heaven in several situations. Dogs are the perfect emotional support animals to cheer us up. However, there are also some situations where they make us feel disgusted and gross. One of them is when they throw up and try to eat their own puke. Yes! We can understand that watching this can make the owners puke, but there are still several reasons for which why dogs eat their own vomit. If you are a dog owner, then you must understand those reasons.

Let’s Discover Some Below

It is not rare for dog owners to see their dogs swallow non-food items. When they eat something ‘eww!’ Our reaction is to stay away from their licks. What if the things are gross from our angle, are totally something else for our dogs? To understand this, you need to read the following reasons.

It’s Natural

While the owners might feel disgusted at the sight of dogs eating their own vomit, what we must understand that this behavior is natural for them. In fact, if your dog does not eat vomit, then that’s something weird as the majority of dogs consider their vomit as a food source. They don’t shy away or feel ashamed about eating their vomit as they have been fed regurgitated food by their mothers when they were small pups. 

Smells like Food

The senses of dogs are much heightened than us humans. The sense of smell is also no exception. While we are not able to smell anything from their vomit or identify a foul smell, it is proven that dogs can still smell food from their vomit. They have the ability to recognize food sources from that pile of nasty stomach contents and acids. It is possible as dogs have around 300 million olfactory receptors, while humans only have 6 million (that is literally 50 times more). 

For Feeding the Young Ones

Due to the lack of food, some animals have to regurgitate* food in order to feed their little ones. In the list of animals who do this, dogs are also included. When little puppies aren’t able to eat the solid food themselves, they start licking the mouth of the mother to feed them. When this happens, the mother swallows the food and then regurgitates to ensure the food is ready for the pups to eat. In a study, it was found that nearly 60% of all domestic dogs regurgitate to feed their puppies.

(*What is the process of regurgitation? If you haven’t understood this yet, in layman terms it means the throwing up of chewed food from the food pipe back into the mouth. Except for feeding purposes, there can be various reasons for regurgitation like GERD, acid reflux, and sensitive food.)

They Want to Show You Their Love

While regurgitation is something that animals do for their offspring only, in the case of domesticated animals, this can be an exception. Your dog feels comfortable in front of you to regurgitate (that you misunderstand as vomit), and then he eats it up again to prevent the wastage of food. It is highly possible for dogs to regurgitate in front of owners and offer them food to show their love.

Hiding the Evidence of Sickness

Do you remember the days when you were a child and had to hide a school injury from your parents to avoid visiting the doctor? If yes, then we are sure that you were too afraid of all the horrible things that the doctor could do to you. However, those horrible things were only horrible in our head, and the doctor was only trying to help us out. In the same way, many dogs are also afraid of veterinary misunderstanding that he will do horrible things to them. So, to hide the evidence of their sickness, which is the vomit, dogs may swallow it back.

Should you take your Dog Eating Vomit seriously?

Eating vomit as a behavior will always remain gross for us humans, but occasional eating by dogs is something not to worry about. No matter how gross you feel at the scene, keep in mind that it is regular for dogs to feed their pups after regurgitation. If your dog does not have any pups, and he throws up, you should get him some water and take his good care. In normal situations of regurgitating, he will be able to maintain his energy levels and won’t even feel sick, you can sit back and relax.

However, if your dog is vomiting a lot, then this chronic vomiting is a sign of big concern. If your dog vomits frequently after eating or is sensitive to some foods, you can try changing his meal. There are several light food options for dogs with stomach problems in the market. Gastrointestinal issues can also be a big reason for chronic vomiting. If that’s the cause, you will hear your dog’s stomach grumbling, and it should be diagnosed by a vet.

As vomiting also leads to dehydration, small breeds, puppies, and weaker dogs should be taken to a doctor immediately on witnessing the signs of frequent vomiting. 

Some other signs that you should worry about are:

  • Vomiting after every 2-3 hours
  • If there’s blood or anything else in the vomit
  • Dehydration, whose symptoms are pale gums and loss of elasticity in the skin
  • Conditions like diarrhea and stomach grumbling
  • Lethargy and weakness

How to Discourage Your Dog from Eating Vomit

A fact that we all like about dogs is that they are easy to train. You can train them to handshake whenever you want and to also sit down and run in circles on your command. You can use this fact about dogs to teach them healthy habits and maintain their hygiene. 

If you have seen your dog eating vomit, then you can try several measures to discourage him, like:

  • You can try negative reinforcement learning, which includes minor disciplinary punishments for the dogs. These can be isolation or taking away his favorite toy from him. You can also miss a walk or cause a delay, but be sure to do it within a few seconds of witnessing your dog eating vomit to ensure that he knows why he is being punished.
  • Clean the area of vomit immediately. When everything is cleaned up properly, your dog won’t be able to smell any food residues. You can also spray a room fragrance or perfume after cleaning up the area.
  • Leave plenty of food in your dog’s bowl when he is sick so that whenever he feels like eating, he does not have to resort to eating vomit.
  • Stay around your sick dog all the time. Dogs behave well when they know their owner is watching as they simply want to be a good dog.

These were the reasons why your dog must be eating vomit and what can you do to stop it. For more interesting articles on dogs and pets, feel free to explore our website. We upload informational and interesting articles on pets on a regular basis.

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