Health Topics  >  Digestive  >  Vomiting

What is vomiting in dogs?

Most dog owners know that some dogs will eat almost anything under the sun, especially if they’re not being supervised. Although occasional vomiting may not be a cause for concern, frequent or severe vomiting can be a sign of a serious condition. 

It is important to differentiate vomiting from regurgitation.


Vomiting involves the process of forcing the stomach to expel its contents, including food, fluids, and other substances.

During that process, abdominal contractions bring stomach contents up and out of a dog’s mouth. The contents can be digested or partially digested food, water or frothy bile or foam.

Dogs tend to show signs of nausea before vomiting, but not always. Common signs are:

  • Drooling excessively
  • Showing a poor appetite or refusing to eat
  • Seeming more ‘needy’ than normal
  • Going off and hide by themselves


Regurgitating is often misinterpreted as vomiting; it is where food is also brought up but not from the stomach, like it is with vomiting. It is a passive process where undigested food and fluids come out of a dog’s mouth, usually from sitting in the esophagus and not moving into the stomach normally.  

There is no abdominal effort to bring this food up with regurgitation. Some dogs may cough a little, but otherwise, you might not see any signs that regurgitation is about to occur. The regurgitated contents are sometimes undigested food bites or can be partially-digested food.

Serious Vomiting Symptoms

Dogs might be okay if they only vomit once, as this may have been an isolated incident. However, if your dog is experiencing frequent vomiting or any of these related symptoms, it’s necessary to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible: