Causes of Dog Vomiting?

What’s the difference between vomiting and regurgitation in dogs? Discover how to recognize the difference between vomit and regurgitation, what causes your dog to bring up their food, and when you need to seek medical help… 

Nov 30, 2023·5 min read
Causes of Dog Vomiting?

Did you know that vomiting is one of the top reasons we pet parents take our fur babies to the vet? With everything that our dogs love to eat (from eggshells to other animal’s poop), it’s no wonder vomiting is one of the most popular reasons for a trip to the vet!

Vomiting is your pup’s way of removing something from their stomach that they deem as a potential threat/illness – just the same as us humans. And, let’s face it, when we have a pooch that gobbles up their food too fast or gets their head in the trash, it’s no surprise our pups bring up the contents of their stomach every now and then…

It’s actually quite common for dogs to bring up their food or water once in a while, however, it might surprise you to know that there’s an extremely high chance that your dog hasn’t vomited at all…

That’s right, sometimes your dog could actually be regurgitating instead!

Vomit or Regurgitation?

So, to start, you need to know that there is a difference between regurgitation and vomiting…

Regurgitation In Dogs

Regurgitation is usually a passive process, often happening suddenly without any retching, discomfort, or stress. Typically occurring shortly after a meal or drinking, a key sign that your dog has regurgitated rather than vomited is the food will be undigested – sometimes looking just as it did before your dog ate it. And, just to make things worse, your dog may try to gobble it back up again… yuck!

What Causes Regurgitation in Dogs? 

There are a number of reasons your dog may have regurgitated. And, it turns out that some breeds are actually more susceptible to ‘regurge’ than others. This can be due to a common condition called Megaesophagus (ME), where the esophagus becomes enlarged and unable to move food properly. These include:

  • Great Danes
  • German Shepherds
  • Miniature Schnauzers (hereditary)
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Irish Setters
  • Newfoundland
  • Wire Haired Fox Terriers (hereditary)

Other causes of regurge can include esophageal abnormalities, eating too fast, or a foreign body in the esophagus.

A tan cocker spaniel walks in the forest, wearing a red collar

Vomiting In Dogs

Vomiting in dogs can be a very forceful action. Unlike regurgitation, vomiting is when your pup ejects the contents of their stomach or the upper part of their intestines. This will often be partially digested food, a foreign object, or something in their stomach that their body deems as a danger.

When your dog vomits, they may also retch, lick their lips and drool before they bring the contents of their stomach up.

What Causes Vomiting in Dogs? 

Just like us, there isn’t one specific reason your dog has vomited. These can include:

  • Motion sickness
  • Eating something toxic
  • Food intolerance to a new food
  • An underlying medical condition
  • Heatstroke
  • Parasites
  • Overeating
  • Eating too fast

When To Visit The Vet

If it’s the first time your dog has been sick or regurgitated, then it might not be anything to worry about, so a trip to the vet isn’t necessary…

However, if you notice your dog has started to regurgitate their food regularly or they have vomited more than once in a short space of them, there could be something else going on that your vet will need to investigate.

Take your pup to the vet if you notice:

  • Blood in their vomit or stools
  • The vomiting continues for a 24-hour period
  • They start to lose weight
  • They’re warm/have a temperature
  • They’re having seizures
  • They keep retching
  • They’re in a lot of discomfort

Vomiting or regurgitating with any of the symptoms above, you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible as they could indicate something more sinister going on that needs to be addressed.

Greedy Pup? How To Slow Down Fast Eaters

As mentioned above, one of the causes of regurgitation and vomiting is eating too fast. Well, there is a way you can stop your greedy pup from inhaling their food…

PetLab Co.’s Slow Feeder Bowl is just what you need. Eager eaters often experience bloating and gas, not to mention weight gain. This Slow Feeder Bowl for dogs is designed with entertaining and meal-lengthening ridges that help slow down your pup’s eating time and aid digestion. It also features an anti-slip bottom that cuts down on mess, and it’s super easy to clean, which means less work for you and more playtime with your pup. 

Final Thoughts

So, the best way to tell the difference between vomiting and regurgitation is to pay attention to the timing and appearance of the expelled material. Vomiting is usually accompanied by discomfort or nausea, and the material expelled is partially digested. Regurgitation, on the other hand, is often painless and the material expelled is undigested.

While some cases may be minor and resolve on their own, persistent vomiting or regurgitation can be a sign of a more serious underlying issue and may require treatment. Seek help from your veterinarian if you’re worried, as they will be able to determine the cause and recommend the appropriate course of action.


Author Park, Grace, “Regurgitation in Dogs”, Wag!, Dec 22 2021 

Author Dr. Turner, Beth, “Is Your Pet Vomiting or Regurgitating?” Preventive Vet, Dec 09 2022

Becca TriggB

Becca Trigg

An all round animal lover, who absolutely adores writing and researching anything puppy! Over the past few years, I have been able to gain ample pet knowledge; specifically joint health and dental hygiene. When I'm not typing away in the office, I can be found sitting in a country pub or growing chillies

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The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice. PetLab Co. is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your pet has, or you suspect your pet has any medical condition, you are urged to consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions can only be diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results May Vary. Not intended for human consumption. Please consult your veterinarian regarding any change in treatment or supplementation.
*In Amazon Pet Health Category in 2022
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