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Perfectly Practical Reasons Why Dogs Eat Their Own Vomit

Written by: Dina Fantegrossi
Dina Fantegrossi is the Assistant Editor and Head Writer for HomeLife Media. Before her career in writing, Dina was a veterinary technician for more than 15 years.Read more
| Published on December 17, 2017

If you spend enough time around dogs, eventually you will witness one of their most dreaded behaviors. Whether they eat too quickly or simply swallow something that doesn’t agree with them, dogs occasionally vomit. And when they do, some of them choose to eat it.

As disgusting as it may seem, scarfing down their own barf is a normal canine behavior with some remarkably reasonable explanations.

A warm, foamy pile of fresh vomit may make our stomachs turn, but to dogs it is simply a second opportunity to enjoy a good meal. This is especially true when a dog regurgitates after eating too quickly.

Regurgitation is slightly different than vomiting in that it is a passive process. The body simply rejects what has been swallowed and expels it back out before it ever reaches the stomach. It happens so quickly that the food is undigested and still carries the same pleasant aromas.

Estimates vary on just how strong a dog’s sense of smell truly is, but the consensus is that their noses are 10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than our own. In a sense, they “view the world through their noses.” So while we see a gooey mess, our pups smell/”see” a perfectly decent snack.

Another understandable reason why some dogs eat vomit is that their mothers fed them regurgitated food when they were puppies. The ancestors of our modern dogs routinely fed their puppies by bolting meat from their kills and regurgitating it once they returned to the den.

A Swedish study conducted in 1995 found that roughly 60% of domestic dogs still regurgitate food for their puppies.

Consuming regurgitated and vomited food is simply a part of our dogs’ nature and not a major cause for concern.

While the behavior of eating vomit is normal, the reason behind the vomiting could indicate a medical issue. If your dog vomits frequently or has additional symptoms of illness, consult with your veterinarian.


H/T to Puppy Leaks

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