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What is Throwing up Food?

There are going to be some times where a dog finishes his meal and then throws up after eating. Typically, when this occurs, the food is still in solid form, meaning it looks very similar to how it looked when it was consumed. It may also be covered in mucus. If your dog is throwing up his food after eating, and does this very sporadically, it is typically not a situation of concern. However, if your dog is repeatedly throwing up after eating, then you should make an appointment with your veterinarian.

When dogs throw up right after eating, this is known as regurgitation. The difference between regurgitation and vomiting is that in vomiting, the food comes up due to the contraction of the stomach muscles and is very forceful. Vomiting typically occurs after or during digestion. It can sometimes occur right after the food has been swallowed, though. Regurgitation comes from the esophagus or the mouth and does not involve the forceful muscle contractions of the stomach.

There are several reasons why your dog may be throwing up after eating. They include:

  • Eating too much
  • Rapid eating and swallowing
  • Megaesophagus
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Esophagitis

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Why Throwing up Food Occurs in Dogs

It is important to understand the difference between regurgitation and vomiting. Typically, if a dog is throwing up right after consuming a meal, it is considered regurgitation. There are several reasons why a dog may be regurgitating his food. They include:

Eating too Much

If your dog is eating too much food in one meal, it may “overload” his stomach. It is important to keep meals at a proper amount in order to help with regurgitation right afterwards.

Rapid Eating and Swallowing

If your dog is eating very quickly, he may not be completely chewing his food. Not only can this cause your dog to choke, but can cause rapid regurgitation of food.


Megaesophagus is due to a motility problem with the muscles surrounding the esophagus. When the muscles do not function properly, moving the food to the stomach can be very difficult.

Myasthenia Gravis

When the impulse transmission from the nerves to the dog’s muscles is abnormal, the muscles have difficulty contracting. This can cause the esophagus to have difficulty performing its job and may cause the dog to throw up right after eating.


When the esophagus is irritated, it can be painful and hard to swallow food and water. As a result, your pet may bring the food back up right after ingestion. Other symptoms may be extension of the head and neck and repeated attempts to swallow. An ever present danger with this condition is aspiration pneumonia.

Acid Reflux

If the stomach produces an overabundance of acid, it can come back up once the food hits, and cause your dog to throw up after consuming a meal. With this condition you may also see that your pet is in pain when eating and he may have bad breath.

What to do if your Dog is Throwing up Food

If your dog throws up food once in awhile, it is typically not a cause for concern. Perhaps you can modify his meal times and just keep a closer eye on him to be sure he is eating properly. If your dog is vomiting up his food often, you should call your veterinarian. You should immediately contact your veterinarian if there is blood in the vomit, your pet is acting like he wants to throw up but cannot, you feel he has eaten something toxic, if he has a fever, if he is in pain, or if he is bloated. Generally, if there are other symptoms in addition to the regurgitation, it is a good idea to call the clinic.

Your veterinarian will do a complete examination on your dog. He will ask questions such as how often the throwing up is occurring and whether it is regurgitation or vomiting. He will want to know about his diet and how much he eats. He will ask other questions about your dog’s medical and travel history in order to have a clear picture of what may be going on with your dog.

He may then palpate your dog in the abdomen and feel around his throat area. He may choose to do blood work, a urinalysis, and a biochemistry profile to assess the results. During the physical examination, your medical professional may also look into your companion’s mouth, do a rectal examination, and check for dehydration. He will also check all of his vital signs, including respiration and temperature.

He may choose to check the feces for any intestinal issues, such as intestinal parasites. However, if your dog is regurgitating after every meal, this may not be done. Rather, your veterinarian may perform an endoscopy, radiograph, and possibly an ultrasound. He may also do a Barium test to check for acid reflux. After each test comes in and the veterinarian looks at the results, this will give him a clear picture of what may be going on with your companion.

Prevention of Throwing up Food

There are several actions you can take to be sure your dog does not regurgitate his food. Being proactive in the matter can help your dog swallow and digest his food properly. Be sure you are feeding him the proper amount of food. If you have an older dog, it may help to give him small amounts at a time. Monitor his eating to be sure he is not eating too fast. 

If you feed him dry food, you can also ask your veterinarian if switching to a wet food may help. If these tips do not solve the problem, there may be something else that is amiss. Once your dog is diagnosed with a condition, if he has one, be sure to give him his medication each day to further prevent any regurgitation.

A dog who is throwing up his food should always be evaluated, particularly if symptoms last more than a day. An annual wellness check is crucial and will ensure that conditions that may affect your pet’s health are caught in a timely manner.

Cost of Throwing up Food

The cost for treating your dog will vary depending on the diagnosis. The approximate cost for acid reflux is $900. The approximate cost for nerve disorders affecting the esophagus can be $3200.