Reasons & solutions for hunger pukes in raw-fed dogs

Reasons & Solutions for Hunger Pukes in Raw-Fed Dogs

Did you know that vomiting foamy yellow stuff is usually an indicator for hunger pukes in raw-fed dogs?

But what exactly are hunger pukes, what causes them and why are raw-fed dogs more prone to them than kibble-fed dogs?

In this blog post, we’ll look at all of these questions as well as easy ways to prevent/treat acute cases of hunger pukes in raw-fed dogs.

Reasons & solutions for hunger pukes in raw-fed dogs

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First Things First: What Are Hunger Pukes in Raw-Fed Dogs & What Causes Them?

As the name suggests, hunger pukes happen in-between meals when dogs are hungry!

This is also known as canine bilious vomiting syndrome (BVS) as it describes dogs vomiting bile.

You know…the foamy yellow stuff.

Tip: Check out my blog post Why do dogs regurgitate raw dog food & easy solutions to learn the difference between hunger pukes, regurgitation and vomiting.

Hunger pukes mostly happen late at night or early in the morning, and here’s why:

Raw dog food is said to digest quicker than kibble (4 hours vs 8 hours).

This may be because it’s considerably less starchy than dry dog food.

Examples of starchy ingredients in kibbles are white potatoes, corn, peas and lentils.

Either way, since raw dog food seems to digest so quickly, it doesn’t take long for raw-fed dogs to have an empty stomach.

It’s that empty stomach that can cause nausea in dogs.

That’s why hunger pukes in raw-fed dogs can also be caused by fasting.

I just recently discussed this with a homeopathic vet I saw for Wally’s annual blood test. I asked her insight into fasting him because I know that fasting can be beneficial for the immune system.

However, whenever I’ve withheld food from Wally for more than 15 hours, he’s thanked me for it with hunger pukes.

Lovely foamy yellow bile stuff on the ONE and only rug in my home. Ugh.

Why is it that dogs prefer throwing up on carpeted areas as opposed to tile or hardwood floors? So annoying!!

Anyway, the vet said that fasting can work great for some dogs and not so well for others. Since Wally appears not to do well with it, I shouldn’t “force” it on him, so my takeaway is exactly that – no more fasting attempts for Wally!

At least not where I withhold all sorts of food. More on that in an upcoming blog post, so stay tuned.

Hunger pukes are also a common occurrence in dogs who are transitioning from kibble to raw.

As I pointed out earlier, these dogs are not used to food digesting as quickly and being left with an empty feeling in the stomach.

Remember, this is because kibble is a lot more starchy than raw dog food and takes longer to digest.

In general, about 8 hours vs just 4 hours for raw dog food.

Fun nerd fact: Kibble poop is a lot more voluminous than raw dog poop. It sort of looks like a blown up, cushioned version of raw dog poop.

What dog poop should look like for a raw-fed dog
What dog poop looks like in a raw-fed dog like Wally
What kibble-fed dog poop looks like

Is Canine Bilious Vomiting Syndrome Dangerous?

Here’s the good news: Hunger pukes in dogs are not dangerous.

At least not if they happen occasionally or towards the beginning of transitioning your dog from kibble to raw dog food.

On the contrary, that’s to be expected during the transition.

However, if hunger pukes are accompanied by other symptoms like blood and/or diarrhea, you should consult your vet to rule out an intestinal blockage.

Also, chronic yellow vomiting can be a symptom of pancreatitis, ulcers or even cancer, so if the yellow foam vomiting persists, you should also schedule a vet visit.

How to Prevent & Treat Hunger Pukes in Raw-Fed Dogs

While they’re not dangerous, hunger pukes are annoying to clean up because they typically end up on carpeted areas or bedding.

Plus, we obviously don’t want our furry besties to go hungry, right?

Yellow bile puke on dog crate bedding

So here are a few options you can try with your pup(s) to prevent the behavior.

(1) Avoid feeding only one huge daily meal. Instead, split up your adult dog’s raw dog food into 2 or even 3 smaller daily meals.

(2) Switch up your feeding times. Dogs can get used to set feeding times to the point where they anticipate food and their digestive system starts to produce bile! This can cause hunger pukes as well.

(3) Add a little fiber to your dog’s 2 main meals (breakfast and dinner).

For example, mashed sweet potato or pumpkin purée (homemade or canned).

(4) Feed a late night snack right before bedtime. For example, a few bites of banana. Or some sweet potato dog treats.

You can either make your own using a dehydrator or buy some sweet potato dog treats online.

For example, Dr. Harvey’s Sweet Potate’r Chews.

As far as “treating” an acute case of hunger pukes, you can give your pup some slippery elm syrup if they seem to have lost their appetite.

You’ll need to make it from slippery elm powder.

It helps with nausea, reduces inflammation and coats/lubricates the esophagus and digestive tract.

You can give your pup 1 teaspoon per 15lbs of body weight twice per day.

It’s best to offer it without food as it can interfere with nutrient absorption.

If your pup doesn’t want to lick it out of their bowl, you can also squirt it into their mouth using a pet feeding syringe.

Slippery elm bark syrup can help treat  acute hunger pukes in raw-fed dogs

Hunger Pukes in Raw-Fed Dogs: Bottom Line

If your raw-fed dog tends to puke yellow bile in the mornings or late at night, they’re likely hungry due to an empty stomach.

That’s because raw dog food digests much faster than starchy dry dog food.

If you’re currently transitioning your pup from kibble to raw dog food, it’s quite likely for your pup to experience a few episodes of hunger pukes.

The best way to prevent them from happening is feeding your adult dog smaller frequent meals. For example, 3 meals per day as well as a late night snack right before bedtime.

To help your pup with an acute case of hunger pukes, you can feed them slippery elm syrup.

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.


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