If your dog’s vomit smells like poop, you are right to be concerned. You may be wondering how it is even possible for something coming out of a dog’s mouth to be smelling like something that is supposed to be coming out of the opposite end. As much as this doesn’t make sense, there are several possible explanations for a dog’s vomit smelling like poop. Sometimes, one must blame the dog’s gluttonous way of living, which may lead to some quite disgusting habits, other times though, a dog’s vomit smelling like poop may be indicative of some problem that warrants veterinary attention.
Why a Dog’s Vomit Smells Like Poop
One main reason why a dog’s vomit may smell like poop is simply because vomit just smells bad per se’. Just because a dog’s vomit smells like poop, doesn’t mean that it actually is poop. Sure, a popular South Park episode made it appear possible for poop to be vomited, but chances are pretty slim that this may actually happen to humans or man’s best friend.
Most likely, the bad odor detected is a result of the digestion and fermentation process of food. Once food is ingested and makes its way down into the stomach, it loses most of its aroma and the result is often a very foul odor. The bad odor is the result of stomach acids and a chemical known as bile mixing with the food. Bile is also a common cause for dogs vomiting brown, poop-looking material.
In some cases, if the odor is quite abnormal, it could be because the dog has a sour stomach and perhaps abnormal bacterial population due to altered gastrointestinal motility, suggests veterinarian Dr. Kara.
If your dog’s vomit smells or looks like poop, consider that it’s not really something completely odd. After all, if we think about it, once food is ingested, and then partly digested – it’s just a step away from becoming poop eventually.
However, if you are truly convinced that your dog is vomiting poop, read on as there are some other possibilities worthy of considering. Be forewarned though, some of the underlying causes can be quite gross, but gross is something most dog owners are accustomed to, at least to a certain extent after several years of dog ownership, right?
Poop Eating Habits
Let’s face it: dogs as scavengers are indiscriminate eaters and they often end up eating the oddest things. Some of the things dogs eat make us cringe, wince and even almost cause us to lose out lunch. One of a dog’s most disgusting eating habits is “coprophagia,” a fancy word to describe a dog’s tendency to eat poop.
Variety is the spice of life when it comes to the types of poop dogs may eat. Rabbit poop, cow pies, horse dung and even kitty “Poopsie rolls” collected fresh from the litter box, may be favorite items on a dog’s menu. Some dogs are even interested in eating dog poop and even their own poop will do to a coprophagic dog.
As disgusting as this can be, it helps to put ourselves into a dog’s brain for a moment. While us humans smell the horrid smell of poop, dogs equipped with super powerful noses and end up smelling all the aromatic ingredients composing the poop -like the kibble, the raw meat, or whatever is in there. This brings the process of poop-eating to a whole different level.
Unfortunately, sometimes poop doesn’t agree with a dog’s stomach or the dog may be vomiting for other unrelated reasons. This will cause the dog to therefore bring up vomit that smells like poop, but it this case, it turns out, it is actually poop.
So if your dog’s vomit smells like poop or looks like poop, or both, chances are, your dog may have visited kitty’s litter box or went on a poop-hunting spree in the yard or on a recent country walk, if wildlife abound in your neck of the woods. And if none of the above may apply, consider that your dog may have ingested his own poop.
A Serious Problem
While in many cases, a dog’s vomit may smell like poop because of the naturally unpleasant smell of vomit or something the dog ate, in some cases, it may be indicative of a serious problem.
For instance, it is possible for dogs suffering from severe constipation or a blockage in the lower GI tract, to vomit up feces. The reason for this happening is that, when something gets lodged in the dog’s intestinal tract, the stool may no longer be able to move through and be expelled as it’s supposed to.
As more and more stool accumulates, the strong contractions of the intestinal muscles may try to decompress the intestine, but the strong contractions may also push the contents backwards and up the stomach’s pyloric sphincters, leading to vomiting of stool. This tends to happen with a colonic foreign body (blockage of the colon) and is a very serious, life threatening condition. Fortunately, this is not that common, as most owners would have sought veterinary attention far before this complication sets in
Blockages in dogs tend to occur when dogs swallow foreign objects that get stuck somewhere in the dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Commonly ingested foreign objects that get lodged in a dog’ digestive tract include parts of bones, the squeaker in squeaky toys or other parts of toys, tampons, coins, socks, and anything else that is not digestible and large enough to cause a blockage. Of course, smaller items are sufficient to block smaller dogs, while larger dogs require larger items.
The medical term for vomiting feces is “fecal vomiting.” Fecal vomiting causes vomiting accompanied by a strong odor of feces, and when it’s caused by an obstruction, dogs will also show abdominal pain, abdominal distention, appetite loss, dehydration, and eventually shock and possibly death when left untreated. Vomiting of feces can also be seen in the case of reverse peristalsis caused by intestinal worms or some other gastrointestinal abnormality, however, a lower bowel obstruction remains the most likely cause, explains veterinarian Dr. Edwards.
Regardless of the cause, if your dog’s vomit smells like poop, or your dog is vomiting repeatedly, acting lethargic, not eating or weak, this is something that definitely warrants a trip to the vet.