Veterinarians: Sign up or Login

Blog Post: Why does my dog eat his ow vomit? | Pet Medicus

Monday, May 15, 2023

Dogs eating their own vomit is a behavior that can be concerning and unpleasant for pet owners. While it may seem disgusting and unhygienic, there are several reasons why dogs engage in this behavior.

One of the most common reasons for dogs eating their own vomit is their instinctive behavior as scavengers. Dogs are descended from wolves, who were scavengers and would eat anything they could find to survive. This instinct may still be present in dogs today, causing them to eat their vomit as a way of obtaining nutrients that they may have missed during their first meal.

Another reason why dogs eat their own vomit is due to medical issues. If a dog has an upset stomach, they may vomit as a way of getting rid of whatever is making them feel sick. However, if they are still hungry, they may eat the vomit to try and get some food back into their system. Additionally, some medical conditions such as pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease can cause dogs to vomit frequently, leading to a behavior of eating their vomit.

Dogs may also eat their vomit due to stress or anxiety. If a dog is feeling stressed or anxious, they may vomit as a way of releasing their tension. However, the act of vomiting can also be stressful in itself, leading to a cycle of stress and vomiting. In some cases, dogs may eat their vomit as a way of relieving their anxiety or to avoid punishment from their owners for making a mess.

It is important to note that while eating vomit may be a natural behavior for dogs, it can also be a health hazard. Vomit can contain harmful bacteria and viruses that can cause infections or diseases. Additionally, if a dog has eaten something toxic or poisonous, such as chocolate or medication, the vomit can still be toxic and should not be consumed.

To prevent dogs from eating their own vomit, it is important to address the underlying cause of the behavior. If a dog is scavenging for nutrients, providing a balanced and nutritious diet can help. If there is an underlying medical issue, a visit to the veterinarian may be necessary to treat the condition. For dogs experiencing stress or anxiety, it may be helpful to address the root cause of their stress and provide a calm and supportive environment.

In conclusion, dogs may eat their own vomit for a variety of reasons, including their instinctive scavenging behavior, medical issues, or stress and anxiety. While it may be a natural behavior, it can also pose health risks and should be addressed by identifying and addressing the underlying cause.