Dog Vomit Smells Like Poop: Should You Seek a Veterinarian?

Last Updated on March, 2024

Dealing with your dog vomiting is never a walk in the park, but when your dog’s vomit starts smelling like poop, it’s a whole new level of yikes! 

As disgusting as this subject may be, it’s still vital for you to pay close attention to when your dog’s vomit smells like feces. It could be an indicator of something seriously wrong with your dog. 

However, don’t panic just yet; we’ve got your back! Let’s dive into why your dog’s vomit smells like poop and, more importantly, what you can do to help your furry friend. 

Quick Summary

The various possible causes and associated symptoms of a dog’s vomit smelling like poop, including intestinal obstruction, eating poop, constipation, and other underlying health conditions.

It is important for pet owners to pay attention to changes in their dog’s vomit, as it can indicate a serious health issue.

To prevent vomiting in dogs, it is recommended to provide a balanced and suitable diet, regular exercise, proper hydration, and to be cautious of what the dog eats. Additionally, regular vet check-ups are important for early detection and prevention of potential health issues.

Dog Vomit Smells Like Poop – Causes, Symptoms and Solutions 

A white and brown dog is vomiting on a sidewalk

Alright, buckle up because we’re about to break down why your dog’s vomit smells like poop, how to spot the signs, and finally, how to fix it. 

Let’s unravel this stinky mystery! 

Bowel Obstruction

One of the most common reasons for this foul-smelling vomit could be due to an intestinal obstruction in your dog’s digestive tract.

Dogs have the habit of eating things they’re not supposed to, and sometimes, these foreign objects get stuck in their stomach or intestines. 

When a foreign body gets stuck in the stomach or intestines, it causes a blockage. This means that digested food gets piled up and unable to move along the digestive tract.

Since the blockage stops the food from moving, your dog vomits. How bad the vomit smells depends on how long the blockage has been in the digestive tract; the longer it stays, the worse it gets. 

What Causes Bowel Obstruction? 

Intestinal obstruction is caused when dogs eat things that can’t be digested.

This includes objects such as: 

  • Pebbles and stones. 
  • Small toys. 
  • Household items like rubber bands or hair ties. 
  • Plastic. 
  • Bones. 
  • Even the carcass of a dead animal. 

This is why keeping your dog away from such objects, and training it to only eat the food you provide is vital. Avoid encouraging your dog to play with unsafe items, and regularly check its toys and bedding for damage. 

What Are the Other Symptoms?

Besides your dog’s vomit smelling like feces, there are other signs for you to look out for, such as: 

  • An upset stomach.
  • Constipation.
  • Stomach ache. 
  • Inactivity. 
  • Lack of appetite. 

How Do I Fix This? 

A brown and white dog seated next to the vomit

Your dog will require immediate veterinary attention if you suspect an intestinal blockage. 

Your vet will first begin with a thorough examination. Blood tests are often carried out to assess your dog’s health, checking for signs of inflammation and infection. They will also examine your dog’s liver, kidney, and blood sugar levels. 

X-rays and ultrasounds may also be done to check for signs of obstruction. If it is confirmed, you may have to opt for a veterinary surgeon to perform surgery. 

Eating Poop 

Yup, eating feces is very real. Some dogs eat their own feces, a behavior called coprophagia. Your dog could also be eating other animal’s poop, like cat poop or other dog’s poop.

So, if your dog’s vomit is smelling like poop, it could be because it had recently eaten its own poop.

What Causes Your Dog to Eat its Own Feces?

Eating poop can be a result of a variety of factors: 

  • Some dogs do it out of boredom due to past mistreatments. 
  • They do it to seek attention.
  • The presence of undigested food in the feces can sometimes entice your dog in terms of smell and taste.
  • Dogs on low-quality or incomplete diets may resort to eating their own poop in an attempt to obtain additional nutrients. 

Symptoms of Your Dog Eating Poop

  • Vomiting.
  • Inactivity.
  • Poor appetite.
  • Diarrhea. 
  • Intestinal worms or parasites. 

How Do I Fix This? 

If you don’t stop this disgusting habit, it could make your dog seriously sick, so ensure that you take the following measures:

  • Supervise your dog while he’s pooping outside. It is best to use a leash promptly to guide it away from the poop. 
  • Immediately pick up feces in your yard to avoid leaving it lying around.
  • If you suspect a nutrient deficiency, consider having your dog checked by the vet.
  • Look into products that are designed to make your dog’s stool less appetizing to it.
  • If your dog is eating your cat’s feces, keep your cat’s litter box away from your dog where it won’t be able to access it. 
  • If your dog eats the stool of other animals while out walking, a basket muzzle may be needed. 
  • For behavioral issues, consult a qualified pet behaviorist, especially if your dog displays anxiety or attention-seeking behavior. 

Constipation 

Extreme constipation functions similarly to a bowel obstruction. The hardened poop creates a barrier in your dog’s digestive tract, preventing the passage of food and digested material. 

The discomfort can make your dog feel bloated. It may result in brown vomit that smells like poop since your dog can’t expel digested food and fecal matter as usual.

What Causes Constipation in My Dog? 

A white puppy is pooping on a blanket

Many dogs experience constipation due to various reasons, such as:

  • Poor Diet And Dehydration: A diet that is low in fiber and proper hydration may lead to constipation. 
  • Health problems: Conditions like an enlarged prostate, tumors, or swollen lymph nodes can cause difficulty in pooping. 
  • Inadequate Exercise: Just like humans, regular exercise is crucial for a normal digestive system. 
  • Injury: A broken pelvis or an injury in the spine can impact your dog’s ability to poop.
  • Medication: Some medications may have side effects that lead to constipation. Always consult your vet before altering your dog’s medication. 

Symptoms of Constipation

  • Vomiting.
  • Poor appetite.
  • Straining when trying to poop. 
  • Weight loss. 

How Do I Fix This? 

If your dog vomits due to constipation, seek out a vet immediately. The vet will conduct an examination and may perform diagnostics to confirm constipation as the cause of your dog’s vomit that smells like poop. 

Your dog may need an enema, where warm water and lubricants are gently pushed into your dog’s rectum under anesthesia to break up hardened feces. 

Your vet will provide insights into the likely cause of the constipation and other treatment recommendations, or dietary changes.

Internal Bleeding and Ulcers 

If your dog’s vomit has a foul smell, it could indicate internal bleeding or an ulcer in the stomach. 

Internal bleeding in the stomach may lead to digested blood. This digested blood presents as brown vomit that looks like coffee grounds. 

What Causes Internal Bleeding? 

A bulldog is sitting on a floor with vomit on it

Internal bleeding is usually caused by damage to the inner lining of the stomach wall.

This damage can result from various factors:

  • Gastric ulcers.
  • Ingestion of sharp objects like bones. 
  • Blood from a mass or tumor.
  • Consumption of toxic substances. 
  • Severe side effects from medication. 

Symptoms of Internal Bleeding

  • Pale gums.
  • Cold legs, ears, and tail. 
  • Vomiting and coughing up blood. 
  • Depression. 
  • Signs of pain when its belly is touched. 

How Do I Fix This?

If your dog vomit smells like poop and is black in color, it is crucial to pay a visit to a veterinarian immediately. This may be an emergency, as it is often the sign of an underlying issue.

Your vet will provide guidance and an appropriate treatment plan based on your dog’s examination.

Parvovirus 

Parvovirus in dogs is a highly contagious and potentially severe viral infection. It primarily affects the gastrointestinal tract, damaging the lining of your dog’s intestines. This virus can also impact the heart, particularly in young puppies. 

What Causes Parvovirus? 

A puppy vomited on a tiled floor

It spreads through contact with infected dogs, their feces, and any surfaces with which the infected dog has come in contact.

Puppies and unvaccinated dogs are more susceptible, and the virus can survive in the environment for an extended period, increasing the risk of transmission. 

Symptoms of Parvovirus

Other than dog vomit that smells like poop, here are some other signs to look out for:

  • Lethargy. 
  • Loss of appetite. 
  • Bloody diarrhea. 
  • Dehydration. 
  • Fever. 

Treatment Plan 

Seek out your veterinarian immediately if you suspect parvovirus, as most deaths happen within 48 to 72 hours. Your veterinarian may conduct diagnostic tests, including a fecal test and blood investigations, to confirm the diagnosis. 

There is no specific medication available that can instantly kill this virus. Your veterinarian will provide a treatment plan that will only support your dog’s immune system to fight the infection. 

This treatment includes supportive care to address dehydration and maintain electrolyte balance. Intravenous fluids are administered to combat fluid loss in your dog.

Antibiotics may be prescribed to your dog to prevent secondary bacterial infections, which are common in dogs with weakened immune systems. In severe cases, your dog may need emergency hospitalization for intensive care. 

Prevention 

Vaccination is the most effective means to protect your dog from parvovirus. Puppies should receive a series of vaccinations starting at a young age, followed by booster shots. 

You must also limit your dog’s exposure to potentially contaminated areas and ensure proper hygiene to reduce the risk of infection. 

How to Prevent Vomiting in Dogs?

Preventing your dog from vomiting involves simple yet essential steps to keep your pet healthy.

Diet

Ensure that your dog has a balanced and suitable diet. Providing well-rounded and nutritious food helps maintain a healthy digestive system and reduces the chance of vomiting. 

Regular Exercise 

Dogs need physical activity to stay fit, which aids in proper digestion. Ensure you take your dog on daily walks and playtime for a happy and healthy pup. 

Hydration

Always ensure your dog has access to clean and fresh water. Dehydration can lead to various health issues, including vomiting. Monitoring your dog’s water intake, especially during hot weather and after vigorous activities, helps keep it well-hydrated. 

Be Cautious of What Your Dog Eats

Avoid letting your dog eat human food that may be harmful to it. Certain human foods, like chocolate, onions, and grapes, can be toxic to dogs and cause vomiting. Keep these items out of reach to prevent accidental ingestion. 

Regular Vet Check-Ups 

Routine visits allow your vet to detect and address potential health issues early on. Vaccinations and preventive treatments for parasites contribute to overall well-being and reduce the risk of vomiting due to infections. 

Other guides and tools you might need when training your dog:

FAQs

If your dog’s vomit is brown or black, it is best to seek immediate vet attention.

You can help settle your dog’s stomach by feeding bland food, such as boiled chicken and rice. Make sure they stay hydrated and consider giving them electrolytes and herbal remedies.

Yes, holding in poop can lead to vomiting, lethargy, and loss of appetite in dogs with severe constipation.

You should worry about dog vomiting if it continues for a long time and your dog shows signs of stomach pain, low mood, loss of appetite, and fever. It would be best to consult a veterinarian in this case.

Wrapping Up

Understanding the question of why does your dog’s vomit smells foul is responsible pet ownership. Regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, and prompt attention to any changes in behavior are vital in maintaining your dog’s well-being. 

After all, having a happy and healthy pup is a joy for both of you! 

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Laura Vinzy
Laura Vinzy is one of our contributors. She is also a certified professional dog trainer & currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and her two rescue dogs.

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