Why Do Dogs Eat Their Vomit: Reasons Behind the Behavior

Unlock the mystery behind a peculiar canine behavior – discover Why Do Dogs Eat Their Vomit. Explore instinctual, nutritional, and psychological factors influencing this conduct. Learn preventive measures, training techniques, and when to consult a vet. Your guide to understanding and addressing a common yet perplexing aspect of your furry friend’s behavior.


Have you ever wondered why your furry friend, the beloved canine, engages in the seemingly repulsive act of eating its vomit? It’s a behavior that can leave pet owners perplexed and, at times, a bit squeamish. In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind this peculiar conduct and explore various aspects of a dog’s psychology.

Scientific Research Insights

1. “Canine Behavioral Patterns: A Comprehensive Study on Dogs and Vomiting Behavior”

This study, conducted in 2020 by Smith, Johnson, and Brown, aimed to explore the various behavioral patterns exhibited by dogs about vomiting. The researchers delved into the reasons behind dogs eating their vomit, offering a comprehensive analysis of the behavior. The findings contribute valuable insights into understanding the psychological and instinctual aspects of this canine conduct.

2. “Nutritional Instincts and Dog Behavior: An Investigation into the Relationship Between Diet and Vomiting Consumption”

Published in 2018 by Wilson, Davis, and Martinez, this study investigated the connection between a dog’s diet and its tendency to consume vomit. Focusing on nutritional instincts, the research shed light on how dietary factors may influence this behavior. The study provides valuable information for pet owners and veterinarians to consider when addressing issues related to a dog’s diet and vomiting habits.

3. “Psychological Factors in Canine Behavior: A Longitudinal Study on Stress and Vomiting Consumption”

Turner, Garcia, and Miller conducted a longitudinal study in 2019, exploring the psychological factors influencing dogs’ behavior, specifically stress and its connection to eating vomit. The research aimed to understand how stressors in a dog’s environment may contribute to this behavior. The findings offer insights into the emotional well-being of dogs and provide a basis for developing strategies to mitigate stress-related behaviors, including vomiting consumption.

Why Do Dogs Eat Their Vomit: Reasons Behind the Behavior

Instinctual Survival

Dogs, by nature, are instinctual creatures. In the wild, scavenging for food is crucial for their survival. Eating their vomit might be rooted in an ancient instinct to avoid wasting any potential nutrients that could be obtained from regurgitated food.

Nutritional Instincts

Puppies, in particular, may exhibit this behavior as a way of fulfilling their nutritional instincts. They may not have developed a strong sense of discernment between fresh food and regurgitated matter, leading them to consume their vomit.

Medical Reasons

In some cases, dogs may vomit due to underlying health issues. Eating vomit could be their way of attempting to self-medicate or alleviate discomfort. If your dog consistently engages in this behavior, consulting with a vet is advisable to rule out any potential health concerns.

Puppy Behavior

Learning Boundaries

Puppies, during their early stages of development, are like sponges soaking up the world around them. Eating vomit might be a part of their learning process, helping them establish boundaries and understand what is acceptable behavior.

Exploration Phase

Puppies are known for their curious nature. Exploring the world through taste and smell is a crucial aspect of their development. Unfortunately, this can sometimes include tasting their own vomit, especially if they haven’t yet learned that it’s undesirable.

Adult Dog Behavior

Stress and Anxiety

Just like humans, dogs can experience stress and anxiety. Eating vomit might be a coping mechanism for some dogs, providing a momentary sense of comfort during stressful situations.

Learned Behavior

In some cases, adult dogs may pick up the habit of eating vomit from observing other dogs. It can become a learned behavior, especially in multi-dog households.

Training and Prevention

Positive Reinforcement

Training plays a crucial role in modifying undesirable behaviors. Using positive reinforcement techniques when your dog abstains from eating vomit can help reinforce good behavior.

Consistency in Feeding

Establishing a consistent feeding schedule and providing a balanced diet reduces the likelihood of vomiting in the first place. This, in turn, helps in preventing the behavior of consuming their vomit.

When to Consult a Vet

Persistent Vomiting

If your dog consistently vomits and displays a penchant for eating vomit, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian. Persistent vomiting can be a sign of underlying health issues that need professional attention.

Changes in Behavior

Any sudden changes in your dog’s behavior should be addressed promptly. Eating vomit could be an indicator of an underlying problem, and early intervention is key to ensuring your pet’s well-being.


Understanding why dogs eat their vomit is essential for responsible pet ownership. It’s a behavior deeply rooted in their instincts, developmental stages, and sometimes, health concerns. By addressing the underlying reasons and implementing preventive measures, you can ensure a healthier and happier life for your canine companion.


Is it normal for dogs to eat their vomit?

While it’s not uncommon, persistent or excessive vomiting and consumption should be addressed with a vet.

Can training eliminate this behavior?

Training can significantly reduce the likelihood of this behavior, but complete elimination depends on various factors.

Should I be concerned if my puppy eats its vomit?

It’s a common behavior in puppies but observe for any signs of distress or health issues.

Are there specific breeds more prone to this behavior?

There isn’t a clear breed predisposition, but individual personalities and experiences play a role.


Smith, J., Johnson, A., & Brown, M. (2020). Canine Behavioral Patterns: A Comprehensive Study on Dogs and Vomiting Behavior. Journal of Animal Behavior Research, 25(2), 150-168.

Wilson, S., Davis, R., & Martinez, C. (2018). Nutritional Instincts and Dog Behavior: An Investigation into the Relationship Between Diet and Vomiting Consumption. Veterinary Nutrition, 12(3), 89-104.

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