Dog Throwing Up Undigested Food

If your dog is throwing up undigested food you needn't panic. Most pets throw up food and undigested matter at some time or another during their entire life span. Although it's normal for dogs to vomit occasionally, vomiting that's accompanied by diarrhea or bloody stools needs to be diagnosed and treated promptly. Since throwing is a natural way of eliminating unwanted food and foreign substances from the body, the pet should get back to normal a few hours after throwing up.


If your pet consumes inedible food or if he is fed a new diet, he could show signs of gastrointestinal intolerance and vomiting. These signs are strong indicators of indigestion. Regardless of the cause, most pets suffering from indigestion experience painful contraction of the stomach muscles and vomiting. The stomach muscles contract in an effort to expel the undigested matter present in the body.

Causes of Indigestion

Indigestion occurs when the dog eats something out of the ordinary. If the food cannot be broken down in the digestive tract and absorbed by the body, the pet will throw up and show signs of indigestion. Some pets may also suffer from mild indigestion when they gulp food down too quickly or consume leftovers found in the garbage. Indigestion is accompanied by two types of vomiting, namely acute vomiting and chronic vomiting. Pet owners should know how to differentiate the two.

Acute Vomiting

If your pet suddenly throws up after eating something inedible, he may exhibit signs of acute vomiting. Although this happens only once in a while, the pet may require medication to stop the vomiting and prevent dehydration. While over the counter drugs are helpful to control acute vomiting, some pets will require prescription medication to ease the digestive tract.

Chronic Vomiting

If the dog throws up undigested food once or twice a week, he may be suffering from an underlying stomach infection. Pets that have a weak digestive system are predisposed to indigestion, gastrointestinal intolerance and other illnesses like inflammatory bowel syndrome. Such pets often refuse to eat most commercially available foods and show signs of listlessness and lack of appetite. Most often than not, chronic vomiting is associated with an inflammation of the intestines. Certain foods the pet ingests may also aggravate the inflammation in the intestines and cause vomiting.


In order to find out the cause of indigestion and bring relief from the symptoms, the vet will perform a series of diagnostic tests. The vet will ask you to collect a sample of fresh vomit to get it tested. If blood is present in the vomit it may be an indicator of intestinal parasites. Other tests like blood tests, abdominal X-rays and fecal exams will be conducted if necessary.


Mild cases of vomiting are treated with dietary modification. The vet will ask you to withhold food for several hours and give the pet plenty of fresh water to prevent electrolyte imbalance. A bland diet is best for dogs suffering from indigestion.

Conversely, if the cause of the condition is associated with intestinal inflammation, the vet will prescribe drugs to reduce the discomfort. The cause of the inflammation will have to be identified and medicines will be prescribed to treat the ailment present.

Dos and Don'ts:

  • Prevent your dog from roaming outdoors and eating leftovers from the garbage.
  • Wash your pet's food and water bowls daily to prevent him from coming in contact with external contaminants.
  • Don't change the dog's diet suddenly.
  • Consider administering herbal or natural remedies to your pet to treat chronic vomiting.
  • Conduct fecal exams at least twice a year.

If your pet gets back to normal after he has thrown up undigested matter, you don't have to administer over the counter drugs. If he exhibits other symptoms along with the vomiting or if his condition worsens, seek medical help.