Why Do Dogs Eat Their Vomit? Vomit Venture

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Author: Jeanette Hampton

Imagine one day you hear your dog from another room vomiting, expelling their stomach out but as you rush over🏃 to them you see not only they vomited but they processed to eat that again, ewww right? but “Why do dogs eat their vomit?

Well get ready with your cleaning rituals we are about to understand this amusing yet unpleasant behaviour of dogs.🐶

Why Do Dogs Eat Their Vomit

Why Do Dogs Eat Their Vomit?

Dog vomiting is an unpleasant yet common event for pet owners. Vomiting is a natural mechanism that allows dogs to expel harmful or irritating substances from their body.

Eating rotten, poisonous or indigestible foods can lead to vomiting[1]. This purifies the harmful substances from the dog’s system before they can cause damage. Dogs are infamous for eating items like toys, gravel or clothing.

These objects can cause obstacles🚫 in the gastrointestinal tract, triggering vomiting as the body tries to eliminate the blockage. Diseases and infections of the gut, like parvovirus or pancreatitis, often cause nausea and vomiting. 

This is the body’s way of removing the pathogen or irritant. Vomiting is quite common in dogs and not necessarily always a cause for alarm. However, chronic or severe vomiting does require medical attention.🏥

dog vomit

Now that we understand why dogs vomit in the first place, what causes them to eat their expelled meal afterwards? There are a few reasons behind this unsettling habit:

  • Instinctual Survival Behaviors: In the wild, dogs’ ancestors relied on scavenging behaviour to survive. By eating their vomit, dogs may be instinctually trying to eliminate evidence of having an illness or condition that could portray weakness to predators.
  • Nutritional Factors: Dogs may eat their vomit in order to re-ingest any undigested nutrients and replenish beneficial stomach bacteria that were expelled. So while disgusting to humans, this behaviour may have a nutritional purpose.🥣
  • Behavioural Reasons: Dogs may eat their vomit due to stress, anxiety, attention-seeking, or even just boredom. The behaviour can become habitual over time. Dogs may also eat their vomit simply because it is there, it’s not uncommon for dogs to eat their own faeces too.

While the habit seems unnatural and unhealthy to humans, for dogs, it may stem from engrained natural instincts, and nutritional needs or as a symptom of an underlying issue like stress or disease. So the next time you catch your dog in the act, try not to judge – just reach for the paper towels.🧻

Risks and Concerns

While dogs eating their vomit may stem from natural instinct, the habit can pose some health and behavioural concerns for pet parents. Let’s understand this behaviour to address the behaviours responsibly:

Health Risks

One concern with dogs eating vomit is that they can be reinfected with whatever pathogen or parasite caused them to vomit in the first place. If they are vomiting due to illness, reingesting the vomit can make the illness persist.

dog eating food

Sometimes dogs🐶 vomit because they ingested toxins or irritants. The vomit may still contain traces of the toxin, which could then be harmful if reingested. This can lead to further gastrointestinal upset or poisoning.

Behavioural Concerns

Dogs may eat their vomit due to underlying anxiety, stress or obsessive behaviours. This is particularly concerning if the behaviour becomes chronic or excessive.

Addressing sources of stress and providing behavioural therapy can help curb it. When dogs eat their vomit, the action gets reinforced because it gives them a benefit like nutrients or attention.⚠️

Training to Discourage the Behaviour

To discourage the dog from eating its vomit, training and positive reinforcement techniques can be valuable. This includes teaching g the dog the “leave it” command and rewarding them when they obey.

dog sleeping on the floor

Consistency📊 in training is vital, as it helps the dog associate not eating vomit with positive outcomes. Patience and persistence are key elements in successfully breaking this habit.

Preventing Dogs from Eating Their Vomit

Prevention surrounds addressing the underlying motivations driving dogs to eat expelled meals. Key areas to focus on are diet and stress management.📖

  • Feeding a Balanced Diet: Ensuring your dog eats a diet appropriate for their life stage and free of irritants can promote good digestive health and reduce vomiting episodes related to diet.
  • Slow Feeding: Eating too quickly can lead to regurgitation of undigested food. Using puzzle🧩 bowls or toys that distribute kibble slowly can promote slower, more deliberate eating.
check up with the vet
  • Identifying Triggers: Pay attention to situations that seem to precede or elicit vomiting and vomiting. Car rides, separation anxiety, or proximity to certain loud noises could be contributing triggers.
  • Comfortable Environment: Ensuring your dog feels safe and secure in their crate, play area, and food zone can help manage stress. Diffusers, soothing music, and toys may help dogs relax. Sticking to a routine also builds confidence.

In severe cases of stress and anxiety, working with a certified dog trainer or vet may be needed to get to the root of the issue. Prevention🚫 is the most effective way to stop dogs from eating their vomit long-term. Be vigilant, identify triggers, make dietary tweaks, and establish a sense of security.


Is It Safe for Dogs to Eat Their Vomit?

Vomit also contains a high level of acid which can damage your dog’s tooth enamel and esophageal lining. While eating regurgitated food is unlikely to cause harm, it’s best to remove your dog from any food that he brings up, whether by vomit or regurgitation.

Why Do Dogs Eat Their Vomit?

Your dog eats her own vomit because of her incredible sense of smell. You may look at a pile of dog puke and think, ewww. But your dog smells the same pile of puke, recognizes all the food particles it contains, and thinks, yum.

Should I Let My Dog Eat His Vomit?

Vomit also contains a high level of acid which can damage your dog’s tooth enamel and esophageal lining. While eating regurgitated food is unlikely to cause harm, it’s best to remove your dog from any food that he brings up, whether by vomit or regurgitation.


So why do dogs eat their vomit? Dogs do this for various reasons, stemming from their wild instincts, nutritional needs, and even emotional factors. Understanding this behaviour is essential.

By cleaning up vomit ASAP, addressing any sources of stress, and promoting a good diet we help our dogs. With care and patience, we can understand our dogs better and help curb unpleasant behaviours, leading to happier, healthier best friends.🐶💖


  1. Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP. (2022). Can dogs get food poisoning? PetMD.
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Jeanette Hampton
Jeanette Hampton is a content writer at WWD and an expert on all things pets. She’s been writing pet blogs for over 5 years and knows everything there is to know about dogs. Jeanette enjoys writing about pet-related topics because she enjoys helping people learn more about their furry friends.

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