Dog Vomit Smells Like Poop [Help!]

It is not a pleasant experience for dogs or their owners when a dog falls ill and begins to vomit. This experience can be especially disagreeable when the vomit has a very pungent smell.

While a strong scent is not entirely uncommon for a dog that is having issues with its digestive system, it does tend to make the clean-up painstaking and raise concerns about what exactly is going on with their bodies.

dog vomit smells like poop
Dog vomit smells like poop. [Help!]

Sometimes, a dog’s vomit can even take on the foul smell of the waste that usually comes out of the other end. This can be very alarming for owners, who might recognize the smell of feces in vomit as an indication that something more serious is wrong with their dog’s health.

It is not unheard of when dog vomit smells like poop, but it is certainly something that an owner must address right away as it can often allude to a larger health problem. Read on to learn about some of the potential reasons that dog vomit smells like poop, and what the next steps to restore the dog’s health will be.

Why Does a Dog’s Vomit Smell Like Poop?

There are quite a few different reasons that a dog’s vomit can seem to take on the smell of poop. Below, find some of the disruptions to the digestive system that can lead to vomit that smells like excrement.

Eating Waste 

The reason that a dog’s vomit may smell like waste could simply be because the dog has recently consumed poop. This could be their own feces or that of another animal, and the dog’s digestive system has naturally decided that the excrement needs to make an exit from the body as soon as possible.

Coprophagia is the term that describes a dog’s inclination to eat either their own feces, the feces of another dog, or that of another animal altogether, like poop right out of a cat’s litter box. This inclination is completely normal, but that does not change the fact that it is disgusting for owners to deal with and can often lead to an upset stomach for dogs.

Beyond consulting a veterinarian, there are a few steps that owners can take to curb the dog’s habit of eating poop. Some of these methods include:

  • Proper supervision, especially when the dog is outdoors
  • More enriching activities in the dog’s environment
  • Ensure that the dog’s diet is high in protein with adequate nutrients
  • Establish a more consistent feeding schedule
dog sniffing the grass
A dog sniffing the grass.

Eating Something Rotten

If your dog’s vomit smells like poop, there is also a fair chance that they have recently eaten something rotten. This could refer to rotting food with an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, or it could also be the case that the dog found their way to something particularly repugnant, such as a decaying animal carcass.

The bacteria from rotting organic substances can lead the dog’s vomit to smell like feces, which is also often riddles with strong-smelling bacteria.

Normally, a dog’s body will bounce right back from consuming something dead. As a matter of fact, vomiting might be a good sign that the dog’s body is beginning to purge all of that bad bacteria out of its system before it has the opportunity to travel deeper into the digestive tract.

If an owner suspects that a dog has consumed any sort of rotten substances that have resulted in an upset stomach and vomiting that seem to persist, then they should immediately call a veterinarian to explain the situation.

f2b bernedoodle generation on the beach
The F2b Berendoodle generation can have that distinct Bernese Mountain Dog color coat

Intestinal Obstruction

One of the more dangerous causes of a dog’s vomit taking on the smell of feces is a bowel obstruction

Bowel obstruction in dogs occurs when they eat something that they should not, such as part of a toy, sticks, or rocks. This causes a blockage in their intestinal tract that halts their digestion, preventing the contents of their system from making it all the way through as waste. 

So, when the body expels these contents as vomit rather than as feces, the vomit will often smell like feces. The longer that the obstruction has been in place, the worse the vomit will smell.

Bowel obstruction can occur in dogs of all ages, but it is especially important for owners to monitor puppies. Just like young humans, young dogs are more likely to put anything that they can get their paws on into their mouths.

To prevent intestinal obstruction, be sure to avoid toys that are too small for the dog, and to monitor them while they are both indoors and outdoors to ensure that they are not trying to eat anything except their standard dog food and treats.

If a dog begins to exhibit any signs or symptoms of intestinal blockage, it is crucial to visit the veterinarian to ensure that the dog does not need immediate surgery to remove the blockage.

a lab sleeping in the forest
A Lab will take a snooze anywhere!


When a dog’s vomit smells like poop, the offender might be the parvovirus. The parvovirus is a potentially deadly viral infection that affects the dog’s whole body by harming the white blood cells. The virus affects the gastrointestinal system the most heavily.

Parvo is known for causing the dog to produce feces with a sickening scent, and much of the time, the same scent may occur in the dog’s vomit.

To prevent parvovirus, it is important to vaccinate dogs for the virus while they are puppies. If a dog begins to exhibit symptoms of the parvovirus, it must see a veterinarian immediately.

brown and white puppy on dog bed
A (very) sleepy brown and white puppy nods off on a large dog bed.

Final Word

When dog vomit smells like poop, it is a very unsettling debacle for the owners who are left to clean it up while also attempting to make sure that their dog’s well-being is not at risk.

The scent may be due to the dog having consumed their own feces or that of another animal, or it may be that they have eaten something rotten such as a dead animal. 

In more serious cases, the dog could be suffering from an obstructed bowel or parvo. 

Regardless of what the owner suspects to be the cause of the dog’s vomit smelling like poop, they should consult a veterinarian immediately for insight on the situation.