Updated by Sheryl on Nov 12, 2021
If you own a dog, you might have seen it throwing up the food and then licking it up by itself. No doubt, it is the most disgusting thing for pet owners to watch their dog eating its own vomit. Often, it makes the owners vomit too, and they can't stop retching. Unfortunately, such behavior is hard to forget. So, knowing the reasons why do dogs eat their vomit is crucial in its future prevention.
The short answer is, dogs eat their vomit because they consider it similar to food due to their strong sense of smell. Often, they eat puke to remove the evidence since they know your reaction. Also, in the wild, throwing up regurgitated food in front of pups is a natural instinct of a mama dog, so her critters can easily digest the food. Eating puke is normal for dogs since they do it from an early age.
Before we sort out why dogs eat their throw-up, it is crucial to know the difference between vomiting and regurgitation.
When a dog vomits, it involuntarily expels up the partially digested food mixed with bile from the stomach and small intestine. Moreover, your pet might feel uncomfortable and makes retching sounds and hunched posture. But mostly, it is a warning sign of food poisoning that needs immediate medical help.
Regurgitation involves the ejection of the saliva-mixed undigested food content from the food pipe. Unlike vomiting, the body language of a dog doesn't change considerably during regurgitation. In addition, it happens right after your fido eats.
Now, you get a good understanding of vomited and regurgitated food. Let's move on to find the science behind dogs eating their vomit.
Most pet owners worry when their dog gobbles up its puke in front of them. That's why they desperately want to know why do dogs eat their vomit. Here are a few possible reasons:
Generally, dogs have an amazing sense of smell since they possess more than 300 olfactory nerves. Incredibly, the whole nose of your dog can detect and smell different food items. That's why they don't like to waste the food content of their vomit and prefer eating it.
Typically, dogs throw up food that they don't like. If you've ever reacted overly after seeing your fido's puke, the next time, it will eat its vomit to hide it from you possibly. Most dogs remove the signs of their illness from other animals. They have evolved this instinct from wild animals who eat their vomit to remove the evidence that they're ill and vulnerable.
Dogs are overprotective of their food. So, they prefer fast eating to protect it from other dogs. That's why they vomit to eat the soft food again that is easy to digest. Often, it's normal, but if it repeatedly occurs, it can be a severe problem.
In the wild, wolves-the ancestors of domesticated dogs, used to regurgitate the food for their pups during weaning. That's why most dogs have evolved the same habit. They regurgitate the food and throw it up in front of their puppies to eat it. Therefore, a dog that eats its mother's vomit since puppyhood can eat its puke too.
If your dog has recently eaten its puke before you, then excluding the disgusting factor, you might be worried if it is safe for a dog to eat its vomit? Well, it depends on the situation; if your buddy has thrown up regurgitated food, then it is safe, and you can allow it, but if the vomit results from an infection or a poison, eating it can cause severe health issues. A dog's vomit contains bile that is too acidic and harmful for its teeth' enamel.
Most dogs suffer vomiting when they ingest poison, toxic or harmful food, or any foreign object. Your fido's vomit is too acidic, and eating it back can cause severe harm to the tooth enamel and lining of the food pipe. Therefore, such behavior should be discouraged at any cost.
If you want to prevent your dog from eating its vomit, read the below-mentioned tips about how to discourage such behaviors.
Now, if you are still wondering why dogs eat their vomit, reread the post. Eating puke or vomit is a disgusting behavior that should be discouraged. Moreover, it weakens the love bond between you and your pet. If you notice such behavior in your dog, firstly, try to find out the reason for throwing up. If it is because your dog has overly eaten the meal, it is okay. But if it is due to an underlying health issue, your vet will diagnose and treat the problem.