Can Pigs Throw Up? What You Need To Know

Can pigs throw up? The answer is yes, pigs can vomit. However, the structure of their stomachs does not allow for traditional vomiting like in humans and other animals. Instead, pigs may exhibit symptoms such as retching or regurgitating undigested food, which can be mistaken for vomiting.

In this article, we will explore the topic of pig vomiting in depth, including what can cause it and how to properly care for your pig if it is exhibiting these symptoms.

Do Pigs Throw Up?

As mentioned in the introduction, pigs are not able to throw up in the traditional sense due to the unique structure of their digestive system. Pigs have a very strong lower esophageal sphincter, which controls the flow of food and liquid into the stomach. This sphincter prevents food from coming back up through the esophagus and into the mouth.

Pigs have a strong cardiac sphincter, which controls the flow of food and liquid out of the stomach. This sphincter prevents the contents of the stomach from being expelled in the opposite direction. Together, these two sphincters make it physiologically impossible for pigs to vomit in the traditional sense.

They may exhibit symptoms that can be mistaken for vomiting, such as retching or regurgitating undigested food. Retching is a reflex that can occur when the stomach is irritated, and it involves repeated contractions of the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. Regurgitation, on the other hand, occurs when undigested food is brought up from the esophagus and expelled from the mouth.

What Would Cause a Pig to Throw Up?

As previously mentioned, pigs are not able to throw up in the traditional sense due to their unique digestive system. However, they may exhibit symptoms such as retching or regurgitating undigested food. There are several potential reasons why a pig may experience these symptoms:

Gastrointestinal Issues: Pigs can develop a range of gastrointestinal problems, including ulcers, inflammation, or infections. These issues can cause nausea and irritation in the stomach, leading to retching or regurgitation.

Infections: Pigs can be susceptible to infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. These infections can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

Blockages: Pigs may accidentally ingest foreign objects such as rocks, plastic, or metal, which can get stuck in their digestive system and cause blockages. These blockages can lead to retching or regurgitation.

Toxic Substances: Pigs may accidentally consume toxic substances such as poisonous plants, chemicals, or medications. These substances can cause nausea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.

Overeating: Pigs may overeat, especially if given access to unlimited food sources. Overeating can lead to indigestion, bloating, and discomfort in the stomach, which can result in retching or regurgitation.

Stress: Pigs can experience stress due to changes in their environment, such as transportation, new housing, or social disruption. Stress can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, including retching or regurgitation.

If your pig is exhibiting symptoms of retching or regurgitation, it is important to consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. Your veterinarian can help identify the underlying cause of these symptoms and develop a treatment plan to alleviate your pig’s discomfort and promote healing.

Can Pigs Get Sick from Food?

Pigs can definitely get sick from food just like any other animal. Some common foodborne illnesses that can affect pigs include salmonella and E. coli infections.

These infections can be contracted from contaminated feed or water sources, and can lead to severe illness or even death if not properly treated. It is important to practice proper food handling and hygiene when feeding pigs to prevent the spread of these infections.

What Foods Make Pigs Sick?

Pigs are omnivores and can eat a variety of foods, including grains, vegetables, fruits, and meat. However, certain foods can be harmful or toxic to pigs and should be avoided. Here are some examples of foods that can make pigs sick:

1. Avocado

Avocado contains persin, which is toxic to many animals, including pigs. Ingesting avocado can cause gastrointestinal problems, respiratory distress, and even death in severe cases.

2. Chocolate

Chocolate contains theobromine, which can be toxic to pigs if ingested in large amounts. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in pigs include vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, and increased heart rate.

3. Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic contain compounds that can damage the red blood cells in pigs, leading to anemia and weakness. These foods should be avoided or given in small amounts.

4. Moldy or Spoiled Foods

Moldy or spoiled foods can contain toxins that can make pigs sick. These foods should be avoided and discarded.

5. High-Fat Foods

High-fat foods, such as fatty meats or dairy products, can cause digestive problems in pigs and lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.

6. Sugary Foods

Sugary foods, such as candy or soda, should be avoided as they can contribute to obesity and diabetes in pigs.

It is important to provide your pigs with a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs and avoids foods that can be harmful or toxic. If you are unsure about what foods are safe for your pigs, consult with a veterinarian or animal nutritionist for guidance.


In conclusion, pigs cannot throw up due to the structure of their stomachs. However, they can exhibit symptoms that may be mistaken for vomiting, which can be caused by various health issues.

It is important to consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment if your pig is exhibiting these symptoms. Additionally, practicing proper food handling and hygiene can help prevent foodborne illnesses in pigs.