why does my dog eat its own vomit
Why Do Dogs Eat Their Own Vomit? January 20, 2018
Raise your hand if you ve seen your dog throw up their dinner and then immediately start scarfing it right back up. I think it s happened to all of us dog owners at least once, and it s an image we don t easily forget. No kisses for you tonight, Fido. Seeing our own dog eat their vomit is pretty disgusting to us, but to our dogs it s a common occurence. So it got me wondering, why do dogs eat their own vomit anyway? Why Do Dogs Eat Their Own Vomit? I don t think there s many dog owners out there who haven t seen their dog eat their own vomit. Dogs are weird, and at times they do some pretty gross stuff. But to your dog eating vomit isn t weird at all, it s a natural behavior. Dogs eat their own vomit because to them it s seen as a food source. When pups are being weaned mother dogs will regurgitate food for their young to help them adjust to eating solid foods. And gross as it may be to us vomit still smells like food, at least to your dog. Their sense of smell is way better than our own ( on exactly how much better), so they don t just look at a pile of puke and get grossed out they smell food. When your dog pukes up his dinner he doesn t just look at it and say ewww, gross like we do. Dogs will eat their own vomit if it s not picked up by their human right away. While vomit might gross us, our dogs have the ability to recognize that it s not just a nasty mix of bile stomach contents there s food particles in there. Dogs possess about in their noses compared to 6 million for us humans.
These receptors are what s responsible for our detection of odor molecules, and they help send signals to our brains which helps us differentiate different smells. Our sense of smell is relegated to a small region on the roof of our nasal cavity, as well as our main airway path. So when we smell something it goes in and out quickly with the air we breath. In dogs roughly 12% of the air they breath gets detoured into a special area in the back of the nose dedicated to smells. It s filled with olfactory receptors that allow dogs to process and. So when your dog pukes up his dinner he s not going to be grossed out by his stomach contents lying there on the floor. He s going to immediately recognize that hey, there s lots of food in there. The short answer is that it s quite normal for a dog to want to eat what they ve brought up, but the throwing up might be cause for concern. Eating partially digested food is nothing new to dogs. Sometimes the words vomiting regurgitation are used interchangeably, but the distinct difference is that vomiting is done involuntarily. Vomiting is an involuntary expulsion of stomach contents, and regurgitation is the voluntary return of undigested food from the esophagus back to the mouth. Regurgitation is an important step in weaning canines, and it s a practice still seen in domestic dogs. In 1995 Swedish scientists found that roughly food for their pups. Since regurgitation is part of their nature our dogs don t think twice before eating vomit.
It may be disgusting to us, but to our dogs it s just food. Partially digested perhaps, but that s just how mama used to make it. Eating Vomit is Normal for Dogs, But Vomiting Can be Cause For Concern If your dog ate his own vomit you don t need to worry about that behavior itself. It s gross indeed, but it s a common behavior in dogs. Dogs sometimes vomit after eating too quickly or eating something disagreeable. But vomiting can also be a sign of a much more serious condition. If your dog throws up pay attention to his behavior. If he s acting differently, doesn t want to eat, seems tired, or throws up more than once it may be time for a trip to the vet. The best way to stop your dog from eating their own vomit is to immediately remove them from the situation after they threw up. I ve had times where I went to grab supplies to clean up my dogs puke only to find she d beaten me to it. Unfortunately it can be really tempting for some dogs, and Laika is no exception. So now after my dog vomits I ll immediately take her outside and keep an eye on her. Since dogs often puke more than once it s also a nice way to avoid another cleanup inside. Does Your Dog Eat Their Own Vomit? I have yet to meet a dog person who says their dog hasn t eaten their own vomit at least once. If I don t catch Laika right away she will eat it every single time. Does your dog eat vomit? Let me start my four fun dog facts with four questions. Does it drive you crazy your dog doesnБt chew his food better? Ever been mortified to see him eat his own vomit?
Why doesnБt he get sick eating raw meat? And why does he insist on licking his wounds and yours too? There are perfectly good reasons for these things and IБm happy to share them with you. But really, heБs just following the rules of nature. We tend to think our dogs should act as we do but their teeth arenБt made for chewing and neither is their jaw. I know youБve noticed their teeth look different. They arenБt sharp just for self protection: they re made to grab hold and tear pieces of meat to swallow. There are also larger spaces between their teeth and they lack molars which are used to grind their food. And last but not least, (and where I got my first БahaБ moment) their jaws are rigid. They cannot move their lower jaw from side to side like we can in order to grind their food, so molars would be useless. For humans, the act of chewing releases enzymes in our saliva to help break down the food. Dog digestion doesnБt work that way. Even though I know better, it still gets to me seeing my dogs eat their meal, throw it up and then eat it again. What do I do about it? I walk away and let them finish. It doesnБt happen often but the fact is this kind of dog vomiting is Mother NatureБs doing and itБs a good thing. Nature knows there is a certain fit needed going down the esophagus in order to be digested properly. Think of it as a built in filter to be sure the right ratio of food to stomach acid is maintained for good digestion. If the fit isn t just right, the food is promptly sent back up and out.
While we tend to think of it is disgusting, I have a feeling our dogs think itБs a special treat to eat twice at one meal. Why DonБt They Get Sick Eating Raw Meat? Okay, so you know they donБt but youБre not quite sure why. There are a couple of reasons. One, the amount of hydrochloric acid in the dog s gut is far higher than ours. Hydrochloric acid helps to kill bacteria and itБs also needed to break down those great big chunks of food in order to absorb the nutrients from them. If the stomach acid doesnБt kill the bacteria in the food, there is a backup plan. The canine intestinal tract is shorter than ours so harmful bacteria wonБt get a chance to stay too long and wreak havoc. I find it a bit humorous now, but I remember б a moment a long time ago when I left the vetБs office and they told me not to let my dog lick her wound because they didnБt want it to get infected. Perhaps I misunderstood. Still, wanting to do as I was told, I watched her like a hawk and stopped her from licking her paw for hours. Then it happened. Not only did she lick her paw, she took out the two tiny stitches in it. Amazingly, it healed just fine. Why? Once again, Mother Nature knew what she was doing. Dog saliva kills bacteria. Now imagine the looks on the faces of other moms at the park when one of my kids fell and I didnБt stop the dog from licking a scraped knee or elbow. Not only did it sooth my little ones, they healed quickly as well.
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