Every pet owner has developed a soft spot for their dog, and taking care of them at all times is one of their priorities. You want to ensure that your dog is in the ideal healthy state. For this reason, you will rush them to the vet in case you notice any signs of illness and discomfort.
One of the most unglamorous topics for dog owners is their dogs vomiting undigested food several hours after eating.
One thing you’ll want to know is that when food is swallowed and reaches the stomach, the churning process begins right away, and digestion kicks. After every important bit of the food is absorbed, the rest is pushed down the alimentary canal and finally excreted.
So why is your dog throwing up food hours after eating? Shouldn’t the food already be digested? As it turns out, several reasons can cause them to vomit the food in its original state.
A dog who throws up is not necessarily ill or in need of immediate veterinary attention. But if you see signs that make you believe something might seriously be wrong, call your vet to determine what the problem is and how to solve it. Youll soon be back to petting your pup rather than cleaning up his puke.
What causes a dog to vomit? First, you should understand the difference between vomiting and regurgitation. When a dog regurgitates, the coughed-up material typically consists of undigested food, water and saliva. It is often expelled in a cylindrical shape since regurgitated material is usually the food or matter in the esophagus. It comes out seemingly effortlessly, without muscle contraction. Its unlikely there will be any warning — either for you or your dog — that anything is coming up.
Vomiting, conversely, is much more active. It will cause muscles to contract and the whole body to tense. When a dog vomits, the food or object is typically coming from the stomach or upper small intestine. You will likely hear the dog retching and see food that is undigested or partially digested, along with clear liquid if its from the stomach, or yellow or green liquid (bile) if it is from the small intestine. You might also have a little more warning that vomit is coming, such as drooling, pacing, whining or loud gurgling noises from your dogs stomach.
When your veterinarian evaluates your dog, they will likely first want a good history of anything your pet may have eaten or gotten into and information on how often they are vomiting or regurgitating. They may want to do bloodwork to look for causes of vomiting such as kidney disease or pancreatitis. They may also need to do X-rays if they think your pet may have an obstruction in the GI tract or the esophagus is not working properly.
Its not unusual for dogs to throw up. In fact, there are many reasons why your pet might vomit, and some are more concerning than others. So how can you tell if the dog barf on the grass is a sign of serious trouble? Are there different types of vomit? Read on to find out.
Vomiting vs. Regurgitation
Most of the time, we think of vomiting and regurgitation as the same thing. But these terms refer to different actions in dogs.
Regurgitation is the return of food into the oral cavity after it has been swallowed. The food never started getting digested before it was expelled — your pup’s abdominal muscles didn’t push the stomach contents back up into the esophagus and mouth. A combination of the esophageal muscles and gravity did.
Vomiting, on the other hand, does involve the muscles in the abdomen pushing stomach contents out of the stomach and back into the esophagus and mouth. Those contents will be partially digested. Vomiting is more of an active experience for your dog while regurgitation can happen passively without your pooch really controlling it.
Why does regurgitation occur? Typically, it happens when your dog:
So, regurgitation is something that many dogs can experience without actually having something medically wrong with them. (The exception is megaesophagus, and you should contact your veterinarian if your dog regurgitates frequently.) Vomiting, though, is more concerning.
Causes of Vomiting
Before your dog vomits, you’ll probably see them pace around for a few moments, then they’ll begin gagging and retching before vomiting. Along with partially digested dog food, the stomach contents will probably include some fluid.
If that fluid is clear, it’s normal stomach fluid. If it’s green or yellow, it’s bile and came from the small intestine. This means that your dog’s food had already started being digested before your dog threw it up.
The presence of bile isn’t necessarily a cause for concern, but it does mean that your dog’s system is vomiting up stomach contents that had already started getting digested, which is never entirely normal.
So what causes dog vomiting, exactly? There are a multitude of possibilities, including: