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:
Remedies for Dogs Vomiting Undigested Food
Treating vomiting or regurgitation in dogs can range from diet changes to the simple withholding of food for a brief window of time and slowly introducing it back with easy-to-digest food like cottage cheese and boiled rice, to intravenous IVs for fluids and surgery on the most extreme spectrum. Your vet will be able to advise on the best way to treat your pup’s condition.
It goes without saying therefore that treatments will vary depending on the underlying cause.
For instance, for minor cases of digestive upset due to a recent diet change, vet-approved dog upset stomach remedies may be all that is needed to calm things down. Check with your vet if this may be the case.
Cases of food sensitivities may benefit from dietary changes where dogs are fed a novel protein or some other type of sensitive stomach diet.
Motility disorders may benefit from a prescription of metoclopramide (Reglan) as well as feeding less more frequently and in smaller amounts.
In the case of an obstruction, surgery is often needed to remove the foreign object.
My beloved Rottweiler has seen the vet for vomiting undigested food.
Around November 2018, my male Rottweiler dog was burping a lot during the day, and at night/wee hours of the morning, I would wake up to him vomiting his partially digested food about 7-8 hours after his dinner. I, therefore, saw my vet for the intermittent vomiting of undigested food and bile at night, and after a physical examination, my vet prescribed Pepcid, but it didnt seem to help much.
On the next visit, she referred us to a very knowledgeable board-certified veterinarian specializing in internal medicine. She did an ultrasound which yielded a diagnosis of mild pancreatitis, although the Idexx radiologist did not read it the same way, she suggested diet adjustments to a lower fat food just in case.
On top of dietary changes, this specialist was aware of recent studies proving that Prilosec (omeprazole) was more effective than Pepcid so she decided to prescribe that along with metoclopramide (Reglan), a medication known for hastening gastric emptying and intestinal transit.
After this, I noticed that the nights I gave the Reglan to him (along with his Prilosec), he slept like a baby (no lip-smacking, burping, vomiting of bile or undigested food).
I was told that Reglan had sphincter-tightening properties at the level of the junction of the esophagus and stomach and that perhaps Kaiser had some motility disorder.
What can I give my dog for throwing up his food?
Why does my dog throw up 3 hours after eating?
- Chicken and Rice. Chicken and rice are prime ingredients in many dog foods, and these mild foods sit well on upset canine stomachs. …
- Shredded Chicken. Shredded chicken is easy on upset stomachs and acts as a huge eating incentive for dogs with decreased appetites. …
- Pumpkin. …
- Bone Broth. …
- Baby Food.
Why does my dog vomit 6 hours after eating?