It is not the most appealing sight when your dog vomits up the food they ate a few hours ago. If you have never seen it before, it can be startling. When your dog eats, the food is swallowed and goes to the stomach, where it is immediately churned. This is the process of digestion. All of the important bits are absorbed for their nutritional value while the rest is pushed out as fecal matter, so the question is: Why is my dog throwing up undigested food hours after eating?
The first thing to note is the difference between regurgitation and vomiting for dogs. Regurgitation is when the dog’s food is returned to the mouth even after swallowing. For regurgitation, it is when the food your dog ate is coughed up, entailing undigested food, saliva, and water.
It is often expelled in cylindrical shapes considering the regurgitated items come from the dog food and the matter within the esophagus. The action of regurgitation is easy without muscle contractions. On the other hand, vomiting is more active. It tends to cause the muscles to contract so that the whole body is tense. The food comes from the dog’s stomach or the upper parts of the small intestine. It sounds very uncomfortable, and the food appears to be partially digested.
Causes of Your Dog Vomiting Undigested Food
Digestion typically happens just after consumption has taken place though it sometimes does not occur in the order or process that it should. Stomach upsets in dogs are a common occurrence as it could be an issue with the digestive system where the food is not being broken down appropriately. The dog’s amount of time to empty its stomach may also range between three to four hours. It should not be more than four.
There is a condition known as mega-esophagus, where the dog regurgitates food. It is the leading cause of vomiting undigested food in dogs. The esophagus gets dilated, and it results in a weakening of the muscles. That means the food either move down the digestive tract slowly or not at all. It is then easy for it to be pushed back up and vomited before digestion takes place.
There are dogs that experience acid reflux  the same way people do, and they vomit bile along with partly digested food. Yellow bile in the vomit is also a sign of refluxing from the small intestine to the esophagus. This usually happens at night when the dog is sleeping, considering the process of digestion is much harder.
Inflammatory bowel disease
Another potential reason for vomiting undigested food is inflammatory bowel disease. It can lead to vomiting rather than diarrhea which is common in humans with irritable bowel syndrome. So one of the main symptoms is vomiting or both, depending on the parts of the gastrointestinal issues affected.
The canal from the mouth to the dog’s anus is continuous. Therefore, if there is a blockage along the way, there is a high potential that food will not pass through, thereby making the dog vomit. The condition is rare, but there are instances where dogs tend to vomit undigested food because of a potential blockage. Therefore, a dog is likely to vomit partially digested food though some of it may have been partially processed before the blockage.
Treating Dogs Vomiting Undigested Food
There are remedies for dogs vomiting or regurgitating, and this can depend on diet changes, or you can stop feeding the dog for a small amount of time while their systems reset. The treatment approach you use, though, will depend on the condition’s underlying cause. If it is not severe, then a digestive issue because of a recent change in the diet could be needed to calm the situation.
You will need to check with the veterinarian to chart the process forward. Some of the common additions to dog food is rice and cottage cheese. A bland diet would be the way to go. The reason is these are digestible and stool hardeners for dogs. Food sensitivity may also benefit from dietary changes if the dog is fed a novel protein or a form of sensitive stomach diet. Consider feeding Fido the best dog food for sensitive stomach, if such is the case. When you visit the vet, they may prescribe antibiotics for infections  or antiemetics to control vomiting. Other times, the dog could need fluid therapy, and surgery would be recommended in serious cases.
When should you be concerned about your dog throwing up?
If your dog throws up multiple times in a day or in a row, it would be advisable to seek veterinary attention. That is also the case for loss of appetite, vomiting, and a frequency change when they are urinating.
Why is my dog throwing up undigested food 12 hours after eating?
Your dog may be vomiting undigested food because of something known as gastroparesis. That is when there is a reduced activity within the stomach. Its muscles cannot usually contract, which could lead to vomiting of undigested food just hours after it has been eaten.
What to do if your dog is throwing up food?
Should the dog be vomiting and there are accompanying symptoms, you can take them to the veterinarian. It could be an isolated situation. However, if the dog is throwing up and lacks appetite, please take them to the vet to make sure it is not serious.