Hunger pukes: What do they indicate?
Ever woken up in the middle of the night to hear your dog heaving? Or got up in the morning to see a pool of yellowish liquid with white foam greet you? That, dear reader, are Hunger pukes. No, we don’t say that you have been starving your dog. This is something that all dogs do at least a few times in their lives.
Understanding Hunger pukes
A dog's stomach is highly acidic, which makes a dog nauseous whenever it's empty. This is noticed mainly in raw fed dogs
, since raw food gets digested rapidly unlike kibble, which sits in the stomach for a longer time.
But then again, the stomachs of wild dogs remain empty most of the time, right? So, do they suffer from hunger pukes too? No one knows really.
One key difference noticed between wild dogs and pets could be that when wild dogs get ready to eat, the message goes to their bodies, which begin to prepare for food. Domesticated dogs, on the other hand, have no such control on their food. They eat when we offer them food. It is quite likely that their bodies can get triggered by some environment stimuli, whether or not they actually receive food.
So could it be conditioning that makes our dog’s body get ready for food? One part of getting ready for food is secretion of enzymes and other digestive fluids into the stomach to help in breaking down of the food that is to come. However, when there is no food, bile and other gastric secretions irritate the stomach lining, which makes the body expel them through vomiting.
So, how do you take care of this issue?There are a few ways that you can prevent this from happening.
Handling Hunger pukes in your dog
- Have a regular feeding schedule and stick to it as close as possible.
- Every now and then, maybe on weekends, add an extra meal to the day. It can be another raw meal, a bone broth, a raw meaty bone, or a simple home cooked meal. Naturally, you'll need to reduce the amount of the next meal.
- You can add some more food to every meal to cut back on hunger in between meals.
- Increase the amount of fiber per meal as fiber can keep your dog feeling full, longer. Green beans or canned pumpkin is a great idea.
You must take hunger pukes seriously. Over time, your dog’s body will continue to respond by producing bile in the needed quantities. As your dog grows older, you it has been observed that the do hunger pukes less frequently. It’s not because he has gotten over the ‘problem’, but rather, his stomach lining, as a defense mechanism, has become tougher. This is not a good thing. To compensate, your dog’s body will be giving up the sensitivity and vitality it needs in order for its digestive system to work efficiently. And since everything is connected to each other, the result could be other complications that might show up much later in life.
Is it always Hunger pukes?
Whenever your dog vomits, do check the contents, consistency and color of the puke. If the stomach is empty, then the vomit will be bile yellow, but this does not always means it’s hunger pukes.
One of the main reasons for a dog puking is that most dogs don’t really do well on a dry food diet. They manage, yes, but are they thriving? The puke could be intolerance to an ingredient, or possibly even a food allergy
. If the hunger puke is a recurring phenomenon, you should stop feeding dry food.
Shift your pooch to a remedial diet. Start with a bland diet and check if that helps. Introduce some low fat cottage cheese or plain boiled chicken. You must also consider shifting your dog to a more species-appropriate diet.
Have you given thought to BARF – Basic Ancestral Raw Food?
The best way to nourish your dog is to start feeding him balanced, species appropriate food
. And the best option is raw. A part of the wolf family (yes, even your sweet Lab or lap-sized Apso), your dog needs and will thrive only on a raw diet.
Raw food is a natural food and it contains the exact mix of all the nutrients and goodness that a dog would get if it were a wild creature. It doesn’t have any of low quality protein that is not good for your dog. And more importantly, it tastes wonderful and all dogs love it.
You can make your own raw food in the right proportion, or you can buy commercially prepared raw food for your diet. Whatever you do, limit or completely eliminate artificial and processed foods from your dog’s diet. And watch him thrive. And we all know that a happy dog is a healthy dog.
While hunger pukes is a possibility, do not hesitate to take your dog to the vet just to make sure there isn’t an underlying cause.