Why Is My Dog Vomiting Undigested Food?

Witnessing your dog vomiting is a hard site to see. Just like how humans can become sick after eating something indigestible, that same physical reaction can plague dogs as well. But, when it’s undigested food that they’re vomiting, that could be a red flag to a more serious problem.

For example, if your dog threw up his food quickly or even hours after eating – that can be a sign of blockage in his system. As loving dog owners, you may have witnessed your furry friend pick up or eat something that they shouldn’t … a remote control, slippers, a lingering piece of trash in the park. Inedible items such as these can become lodged within their throat and interfere with the regular passing of food through their digestive system.

This article will discuss why your dog may be vomiting indigested food, what could be causing it and steps you can take towards prevention and possible treatment.


dog-undigested-2As mentioned, a blockage is one cause for your dog to be vomiting undigested food. Although, this is not the only reason – depending on the circumstances and the type of vomit you may be able to determine other potential reasons for his condition.

There is also another possibility that your pup may actually be regurgitating his food and not actually vomiting. Regurgitation shouldn’t cause your pet any distress and happens almost immediately after eating. If it’s vomiting you could see your dog displaying signs of an illness such as drooling or irritation followed by involuntary contractions and then vomiting.

Typically its considered regurgitation if it occurs immediately after your pet has consumed his meal. However, the problem may also be identified as vomiting if your pup ate hours prior and is experiencing other accompanying symptoms as well. Of course, when in doubt always consult your local veterinarian for a diagnosis. If you’re up for it – you can even bring in a sample for your vet to examine and test. This should allow them to determine the type of food that is being expelled – meaning whether or not it actually made it to the stomach or not.

Symptoms of Canine Vomiting

If your pup is indeed experiencing a blockage, there are several symptoms that you can look for. The following are signs of distress in dogs:

In the case that any of these symptoms are present, it’s important to see your vet as soon as possible. But, keep in mind – vomiting alone is somewhat normal for dogs and is bound to occur at some point. It’s a natural way to rid the body of an unwanted foreign substance. If they’re just experiencing a normal bout of vomiting, their demeanor and health should return to normal immediately. But, if there are additional symptoms, you’ll want to follow-up with your vet to ensure the health and safety of your pet as soon as possible. An intestinal blockage may require surgery for dogs.

Next Steps

You should work in coordination with your vet to determine the next steps for both you and your pup. These steps will also be based on the diagnosis and cause for vomiting undigested food. If the cause turns out to be an intestinal blockage, your vet will need to perform a thorough examination and determine the location of the blockage through an x-ray or ultrasound. Unfortunately, your companion may need surgery to remove the blockage. Other treatments such as antibiotics or IV fluids may also be necessary to treat dehydration or other related concerns resulting from the problem.

dog-undigested-3Mild cases of vomiting or regurgitation can be treated with diet changes. Keeping the food choices simple and ensuring hydration is important. In the future, you can help to prevent a bowel obstruction and thus the vomiting of undigested food by eliminating the initial problem. To do so, be sure to watch your dog carefully and do not let them ingest any foreign objects.

Be sure to keep other potential hazards out of reach and be diligent when playing or walking in open or public areas. All in all, if your dog is vomiting food that hasn’t been properly digested it’s important to investigate and understand if additional measures of treatment are necessary.


  1. “Dog Vomiting: Causes, Treatment, and Related Symptoms.” WebMD, pets.webmd.com/dogs/vomiting-dogs-causes-treatment.
  2. “Help! Why Is My Dog Vomiting Undigested Food? (and What Should I Do?).” Dr Marty Pets, 21 Aug. 2018, drmartypets.com/why-do-dogs-vomit-undigested-food/.
  3. “Regurgitation in Dogs – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost.” WagWalking, 20 Apr. 2017, wagwalking.com/condition/regurgitation.


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