One could never imagine that their dog would ever eat something as disgusting as human vomit. Dogs eat all kinds of disgusting things, including cat poop, bugs, and various nasty things.
However, who would ever guess a dog would eat something as “odd” as human vomit. Thinking about it, it’s not only as disgusting as it sounds, but it can also have major negative effects on your dog’s health.
As curious creatures, dogs will always want to discover things around them. And as their sense of smell and taste is the most common way for them to recognize things around them, they may tend to eat all kinds of weird things.
For that reason, if they encounter human vomit anywhere around them, they would want to discover what it is in their own way.
On the other hand, this kind of behavior could be related to some nutritional and feeding deficiencies, where your dog lacks essential nourishment. In such deficiencies or problems, your dog will not only try to eat vomit, but they may even eat their feces.
So if you ever somehow encounter a situation where you or any of your family members throw up and your dog tries to eat the vomit, keep reading to understand this behavior more.
Why Do Dogs Eat Human Vomit?
This behavior in dogs can correspond to several reasons. All of these factors can induce such behavior, from malnutrition to stress to boredom. But, if we try to reach the essential root of this behavior, we can detect a more explainable reason.
Generally, when puppies transition between drinking milk and eating solid foods, their digestive tract might not be adequately developed for fully solid feeds. Therefore, at this phase, the mother dog tries to eat and regurgitate some solid substance, and then her babies would likely eat it. This habit develops to allow the puppies’ digestive tract to slowly adapt to eating solid foods.
Therefore, it is a pretty normal and common desire for dogs to eat vomit as it is already familiar to them. Additionally, if there is human vomit anywhere near your dog, he will be able to detect the scent of some food inside the vomit, some of which he might like. This does not only tempt him to eat the vomit but can also be enjoyable for your pet.
What Happens if A Dog Eats Human Throw Up?
Your dog eating human vomit is no good news for you or your pet. Generally, such cases where dogs tend to eat their owner’s vomit in small amounts will not cause them any harm. But in other cases, this behavior can be a harmful issue on your dog’s health and an easy path for infectious diseases which can be transmitted between humans and animals.
If your dog is lucky, this behavior will only upset his stomach, and he will undergo some unfavorable symptoms such as mild vomiting and diarrhea. But on the other hand, this action could be the cause of the transmission of a pathological disease from his owner. This includes the infection with the norovirus, which is known to cause gastroenteritis and is known as the stomach flu.
Therefore, the outcome is for you to assess if you spot chronic and severe symptoms after your dog has ingested human vomit, you might want to get them to the vet immediately. But if you haven’t noticed any serious issues or pathological behaviors, you can relax as it is most likely an insignificant event. After all, it will be easy for you to detect the level of threat to your dog’s health.
Can Dogs Get Sick from Eating Human Vomit?
As we mentioned before, some pathogens can be transmissible from humans to dogs and vice versa, only if the human is a carrier of a pathogenic agent. This is because some types of microorganisms can infect both animals and humans and can be passed between the two. This means that if you suspect that the human that threw up is sick, you might want to put the possibility of your dog also getting the disease.
These microorganisms are usually well adapted to both systems of humans and animals and are therefore known as zoonotic pathogens, which can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa. These pathogens may include salmonella, staphylococcus aureus, influenza A virus, and noroviruses. The possibility of these transmissions from humans to animals is usually low but not completely unlikely; therefore, one should be cautious about their transmission.
For this reason, it is not accurate to say that your dog will or will not get sick if he ate human vomit because it depends on whose vomit he ate and if it contains pathogenic agents. Therefore, the most logical solution is to take your dog to your veterinarian anyway and ensure that everything is in order. This will eliminate the questions going through your mind and allow the discovery of the disease if one is present.
What About Human Vomit with Alcohol in It?
Alcohol is highly toxic for dogs and may cause several unfavorable adverse reactions. Depending on the ingested amount of vomit, symptoms and effects may vary. If you ever throw up after drinking alcohol and notice that your dog has ingested some of it, get your pet to immediate medical care as it could be critical for their health.
If your dog ever ate alcohol-containing vomit, he is at high risk of getting ethanol poisoning which can eventually lead to his death. If you are not sure if the vomit that your dog ingested has alcohol or not, look for some signs of ethanol poisoning. These signs may start to develop 30 to 60 minutes after ingestion, including severe vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.
Generally, if you suspect that your dog ingested alcohol in any way, take him to the vet right away, where the specialist will try to make him throw up what he ate. If you deliver your dog too late to the vet, he might already have started to develop acidosis and respiratory malfunction, and you might not be able to save him. Therefore, if you have any slight probability that your dog might have ethanol poisoning, don’t be late to deliver him to the vet.
What Should I Do if My Dog Ate Human Vomit?
The first, most rational option that should come to your mind once you encounter these situations is to contact a medical expert. If you are not readily available to seek such medical aid, assess your dog’s situation and behaviors to detect the intensity of the risk. Look for any signs of upset stomach, abdominal pain, poisoning, and discomfort.
If you realize that your dog only showed some abdominal discomfort that disappeared after a little while, you can consider that your pet’s health is safe. But if you detect chronic, long-lasting pain, vomiting, regurgitation, and diarrhea, you will know that there is a serious pathological issue that should be resolved. Give your dog continuous access to fresh, clean water until you can deliver him to a veterinary clinic.
After all, the most important preventative measure to take is to be careful about placing your dog in environments with dangerous substances or objects. Always clean up any waste, vomit, or discharge immediately before your dog has the chance to ingest them. Moreover, keep him away from any small tempting objects that can be easily chewed and swallowed, such as a highlighter pen.
Keep your pets safe, and keep them away from any dangerous, risky material. After all, these kinds of unfavorable behaviors can be either very risky or insignificant, depending on the situation. Generally, your dog ingesting human vomit is not very good for your pet’s health, but you can always resolve it with a fast and correct course of action.