Missy & Buzz have been on a raw diet for about 2 months now. After about 5 weeks of eating fresh, raw food, Missy started bringing it up almost immediately after having eaten it.
She would then look at me almost as if to ask for permission to re-eat it, and since I didn’t object, she ate it, and then was fine. She was not lethargic and her stools continued to being their perfect small size.
Air-Dried Raw With ZiwiPeak
After I cleaned up several spots of the regurgitated remainder in the living room and my office, I decided to try a different approach and re-introduced ZiwiPeak, an air-dried raw food from New Zealand I had fed back in 2013.
Side Note: I also have hard wood and tile in our home, so why did she always choose the carpet for her regurgitation sessions??
I had a feeling that she would not bring the air-dried food back up, and sure enough my intuition was spot-on: She ate her ZiwiPeak allowance along with the pumpkin puree, coconut oil, turmeric powder, and a little bland, greek yogurt. Then she burped unladylike and settled down for her usual post-breakfast nap.
Regurgitation Isn’t Vomiting
It wasn’t until her recent regurgitating episodes that I learned about the difference between regurgitation and vomiting. I did a little research on the matter and, sure enough, learned that regurgitation isn’t the same as vomiting.
When a dog regurgitates, she makes the food resurface from the esophagus fairly effortlessly without heaving and retching, and then tries to eat re-eat it.
When a dog vomits, she ejects the contents of the stomach and upper intestine by heaving and retching.
Missy was the runt of her litter
One of the reasons why a dog may regurgitate is because she eats her food too fast. Now, Missy has always had a tendency of eating too fast. She was the runt of her litter of 9, and had to fight the hardest for her milk.
I tackled this problem several years ago and added a pacer ball to her food dish. That forced her to push the ball around in order to get to all of her food, i.e. making her eat slower.
Even with the pacer ball, however, AND having her sit and wait for a few moments in between bites, she would STILL regurgitate her fresh raw food.
I have started doing some research on the matter, and have found a few clues regarding Missy’s sudden regurgitation of the raw food.
Regurgitation Advice From Darwin’s Natural Pet Products
Besides browsing a few raw forums online, I also contacted Darwin’s, the company I get my raw dog food from, to see if they had any input.
Ashley, a Darwin’s representative, got back to me very quickly. She explained that some dogs regurgitate their meals within about an hour of having eaten. That’s because it may have been too cold (not thawed all the way), the portion may have been too large, or the dog may have eaten too fast.
She recommended a) splitting up Missy’s meals, and feeding her the smaller portions throughout the day, b) trying to warm up her food in a frying pan to take off the chill, and c) slowing her eating down by placing something large into her bowl, forcing her to eat around it.
Options a & c didn’t seem to work, as I tried giving her really small amounts of the food, and have always placed the pacer ball into her dish, as well as having her sit & wait in between bites.
I had not yet tried warming the food up in a frying pan, but had a feeling that Missy would not have any problem eating the cooked Darwin’s food as we had fed cooked protein at the very beginning of our transition from kibble to a homemade diet.
If you didn’t catch my article describing our first few steps into the homemade dog food world, please click below:
As expected, Missy had no trouble keeping her cooked Darwin’s food down!
While this was good news, I was still somewhat bummed that she’d have to be eating cooked raw food, or air-dried raw (ZiwiPeak).
Both options are still very healthy, but ultimately I wanted to feed both pups fresh raw food for ultimate health & strong immune systems.
Ashleigh relieved my worries by mentioning that lightly cooking the meals in my kitchen is nothing compared to the way kibble and other foods are prepared (and therefore in need of nutrients added back in after cooking).
She said that there won’t be any nutrient loss by lightly warming up the Darwin’s food in a pan. Another option would be to pour boiling water over the pouch or right over the food and serve after having let it cool off a little.
Over time the need for warming the meals up should be weaned off to feeding it refrigerator temperature again.
For now, I am happy with Missy being able to eat the cooked Darwin’s food. We’ll continue experimenting with how we serve the food and will find out whether or not our little girl will be fine with Darwin’s from the fridge!
Update: It took Missy a few months to transition from cooked to raw food, but now she’s 100% fine with it. She might just have a very sensitive stomach.
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Have you or someone you know experienced regurgitation in a dog? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!