Is Your Dog Throwing up Undigested Food?

Is Your Dog Throwing up Undigested Food?

Author WDF Staff


Dogs have sensitive stomachs, and vomiting is a lot more common than it is in humans. However, there are different types of dog vomiting, and as an owner, you should know how to spot the difference. Knowing the difference and examining a dog that throws up is messy, but it is a part of being a dog owner. One of the most common things dogs might do is throw up undigested food. If that is the case with your dog, here is what you should know about it.

Why do dogs throw up undigested food?

Throwing up undigested food can happen for many different reasons. The first thing you should differentiate is whether your dog vomited or regurgitated. If you don’t already know the difference, check out this article - Dog vomiting. Dog owners often think these two are the same, but the truth is, there are subtle differences. When a dog regurgitates, the content that comes up is often undigested.

Here are some of the most common reasons your dog might be throwing up undigested food;

Acid reflux

Some dogs can throw up undigested food because of acid reflux. If that happens, you might notice yellow bile in your dog’s vomit. The dog’s small intestine is refluxing bile in the dog’s stomach, and your dog is vomiting undigested food mixed with yellow bile.

This type of throwing up undigested food usually happens at night when your dog is lying down, and it is harder for them to digest food. The laying position means it is easier for their stomach to reflux, which will irritate their esophagus and make them prone to throwing up.


Humans and dogs deal with stress completely differently. When dogs are under a lot of stress, anxiety, or even excitement, they can throw up undigested food. Dogs that suffer from severe separation anxiety can become so anxious and stressed that their stomach simply reacts, and the way it reacts is by throwing its content up.

Dogs going through changes like moving or being exposed to loud noises can have this type of reaction. However, the throwing up should be resolved as soon as the stress cause is removed from their lives.

Inflammatory bowel disease

People with IBD will probably get diarrhea, but dogs with the same issue can throw up undigested food. Dogs will have a slightly different reaction to IBD. It will all depend on which part of the gastrointestinal system is affected the most. There will be other symptoms as well, and if you see your dog vomiting undigested food, you should keep an eye on other symptoms as well. Vomiting and diarrhea are the most common symptoms of IBD.

Stomach upset

If throwing up undigested food is something that doesn’t occur all the time, and your dog just recently started doing it, it is possible that they simply ate something that doesn’t agree with their stomach. That can happen for all sorts of reasons, and most of the time, it happens if the dog ate something they shouldn’t have. It can also happen if you fed your dog too much table scraps, gave them too many treats, or switched them to new dog food. Luckily, these types of dietary indiscretions often pass within 24 - 48 hours.

Esophagus issues

The esophagus is a “tube” that connects the pharynx to the stomach. Dogs that often throw up undigested food can have some sort of issues with this vital digestion area. A possible esophagus issue is that it becomes dilated and has weak muscles. This is called the “megaesophagus.” If the throwing up happens several hours after eating, it can be a sign of this issue.

Megaesophagus is not the only potential esophagus issue dogs can suffer from. Different neuromuscular diseases can cause dogs to throw up undigested food. The esophagus will get directly affected by various underlying problems, which will lead to your dog throwing up undigested food.

If you notice your dog throwing up undigested food frequently, you should call your vet and schedule a check-up. It might be nothing to worry about, but if your dog has a serious issue, the sooner you know, the better.

World Dog Finder team

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