The Dog Who Screambarfs At Strangers
June 16, 2012 7:17 PM   Subscribe

Strange and traumatic dog biology question! Not for the faint of heart.

So was staying in a tiny town on Maui for the last couple of days, and my partner and I walked past a house where there was this small dog in the yard. Like, a large terrier of some kind?

Anyhow, the dog ran up to us to defend his territory, unleashing a long yowling bark. However, halfway through barking the sound suddenly became a shrill gurgle, and I was horrified to see that the dog basically vomited at me WHILE barking. And he seemed just as surprised as I did -- the sudden presence of all this vomit to be reckoned with seemed to distract and even sort of humiliate him a bit. We were horrified but laughed about it -- dogs are weird, amirite? -- and kept on walking.

However, this morning we walked past the same yard on the way to breakfast, and the exact same thing happened -- the little dog ran out and totally screambarfed at us yet again. And on the way home from breakfast, it totally happened a THIRD time. The owner was in the yard that last time and as we walked off he laughed and said, "Watch out for Killer!" Going back to ask questions about the dog's health would have required me to deal with possibly being screambarfed at a fourth time, which no thank you.

So, is this like a regular thing that happens to some dogs? Or what.
posted by hermitosis to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I mean, it can't be good for him, just for esophageal and dental reasons from barfing all the time. It sounds like the little guy just gets way overexcited. I've definitely seen (little, it seems) dogs get so excited and barky they gag, though i don't think I've witnessed the full Aristocrat as you describe.
posted by cmoj at 7:34 PM on June 16, 2012

Maybe ask the Maui Humane Society to look into it? That can't be good for the little critter.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:10 PM on June 16, 2012

One thing I learnt from our pup's last illness is that there is a difference between regurgitation and vomiting. Regurgitation requires very little effort--food and liquid will just spill out from the dog's mouth without any warning--but a dog that is about to vomit will heave and make retching sounds before expelling its stomach contents more violently. Frequent regurgitation may be caused by a condition called megaesophagus, where food consumed by the dog is not pushed down to the stomach. If left untreated, the dog runs the risk of inhaling food back into its lungs which could lead to aspiration pneumonia--dangerous to the dog and costly to treat.

Our Frenchie is genetically predisposed to megaesophagus and regurgitated a lot when she was younger, especially if she became excited soon after she ate. We've managed to bring this under control by elevating her food bowl, dosing her with Omeprazole every day, and keeping her calm after meals. Dogs throw up all the time, but it shouldn't be on a daily basis. You're right to be concerned, and the owner of this dog should really check with his vet.
posted by peripathetic at 9:13 PM on June 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

Invisible fence reaction maybe?
posted by airways at 5:51 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Can you please, please, video this and post the link?
posted by crabintheocean at 2:27 PM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I really (sort of) wish this was possible. Oddly, the other videos I have managed to capture during my trip have all been dog related. Here's a lazy, fat dog drinking continuously from an igloo cooler spigot for over a minute (she went for literally fifteen minutes uninterrupted while we were eating lunch), here's my dad's rambunctious doberman Tater (softcore, he's still a pup yet), and here are coyote sounds that I recorded in the middle of the desert.

How I managed to get through all this without adding Screambarf the Dog to my collection, I'll never know.
posted by hermitosis at 6:13 PM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

That the dog was surprised by it doesn't mean it hasn't happened a lot. Dogs can be surprised by their own farts. I mention this only to say the dog isn't a good source on whether this is long or short term behavior. As my dog's trainer once said, they live in the moment.
posted by zippy at 5:29 PM on June 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

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