the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Fun for everyone in this one!

Last night while both kids were crying and simultaneously not eating what we’d made for dinner, one of the dogs puked something all over the new rug in Leta’s room. I say something because I finally learned to stop trying to figure out what it is. That information is never rewarding. You’re never like, GOD I’m glad I know my dog just puked up her own feces. File that one away for the next time I take the SAT!

The color of the vomit was not like the color of the vomit that we’ve found in six different places over the last four days. We just know it was dog vomit, which narrows the suspects down to two. Do dogs vomit in different colors? Should I be that intimate with my dogs’ vomit? As intimate as I am with my child’s poop so that I know whether or not my husband has secretly been feeding her licorice when I’m not around?

(Having your adorable, soft baby give you a kiss only for it to reek of black licorice is not unlike discovering that your dog has just puked her own feces. This is my plea to you, Jon. Life is too short for me to avoid kisses from my toddler.)

Do they teach you in sex education that if you’re a parent and are shown a specimen of poop without any explanation, you’re able to tell if it came out of one of your children? Because that chapter should come before any of the fun pictures of genitalia.

I ask because I never took a sex ed class. And didn’t see a penis until I was so old that I thought my boyfriend had a really awful tumor.

Anyway, one or both of the dogs keeps throwing something up. And I keep cleaning it up without figuring out what’s inside it or causing it. Because it keeps happening at a time when I would have to collect a small sample, put it in a bag, and then put that bag in the refrigerator. Dogs, I love you, but that love has boundaries. And one of those boundaries is this: puke when I can take the sample right then to the vet.

  • janeingrid

    2011/01/05 at 4:36 pm

    Your dogs *do* seem to puke a lot, now that you mention it. You also talk quite a bit about doggy diarrhea. Wonder what’s causing it?

  • dooce

    2011/01/05 at 4:45 pm

    I’m pretty sure Tyrant is feeding them arsenic. Wait, is arsenic poisonous to dogs? SOMETHING TO SCREW WITH ME.

  • sugarleg

    2011/01/05 at 4:53 pm

    that’s so Flowers in the Attic.

  • karala

    2011/01/05 at 5:01 pm

    Coco gave Leta’s rug a Cosby Sweater:

    And black licorice? Gross.

  • kaptaink

    2011/01/05 at 5:07 pm

    Hmm, I’m not normally an advice-giver, but there’s a first time for everything. My dog used to puke. A lot. And then someone suggest I feed him a raw food diet. There’s a good book called “Give your Dog a Bone” that basically walks you through the theory and makes the diet pretty much idiot proof. Plus a TON of online stuff.

    My point would be that it was easy to switch my dog and the puke stopped immediately. As did the horrible, huge, runny poops. My black lab now produces the daintiest hard little poops. Sadly, he thinks they sometimes taste good. But still, no more puke!

    Anyhow, we made the switch 8 years ago. He is trim and healthy. And even though the raw diet SEEMS complicated, if you read the book I mention above, you realize it’s actually quite simple.

    Ok, end of advice-giving. I hope you figure out the cause of the dog puke and can put an end to it. It makes for good content, but can’t be much fun to clean up.

  • chicgeek75

    2011/01/05 at 5:07 pm

    Ah, another of the joys of dog ownership. When I had cats, at least their ‘vomit’ was a furball – something that could be relatively easily picked up and tossed, leaving no stain.

    Of the two dogs I’ve had over the last 12 years, only one puked regularly. I distinguished his ‘contents’ based on had he eaten recently and if so, what had he eaten. Cuz, half the time it’d be reddish-pink, initially freaking me out thinking it was blood. Then I realized, his food was essentially that color. The other half of the time it was yellow, which I learned is a sign of bile. So, basically he had an acid stomach, which totally made sense since he was a super-anxious animal.

    OR, if I knew he was eating things out of the grass (he loved squirrel and bunny turds) – or vegetation itself – that would usually coincide with a vomit-fest. Nothing that ever amounted to an issue the vet needed to assist with.

    From your posts, it seems that Coco could be your culprit: she eats her own turds and she is hyper. But, I’m not a vet. Nor do I play one on TV. So, there you go.

  • chicgeek75

    2011/01/05 at 5:10 pm

    Oh, and he always vomited twice. AND would go to an area of the house with carpeting to do it. Seriously. 85% of my house is hard floors, and yet he never puked there.

  • leafgirl

    2011/01/05 at 5:17 pm

    No dog, but I had to take stool samples from my son when he was little. Try getting 3 tablespoons of a sample from a baby in diapers, with diarrhea. Just saying I feel for ya!

    Oh and black licorice is of the devil.

  • hender_sk

    2011/01/05 at 5:21 pm

    Just getting over a bout of doggie diarrhea here – finally just threw that rug out!

  • Lazisme

    2011/01/05 at 5:23 pm

    But it’s winter. Isn’t it cold enough there to stick the vomit in a bag and then put it out on the front porch?

  • ljnelson

    2011/01/05 at 6:10 pm

    Dear God in Heaven I love this website.

  • Dianess

    2011/01/05 at 6:15 pm

    I think I have an idea why your doggies are vomiting: NERF. This occurred to me when I saw the photo of Coco with the Nerf pieces. I had to have one of my dog’s stomach pumped after he swallowed this stuff; it’s deadly and your dogs may have eaten some. Horrible stuff; not pet friendly at all.

  • Lazisme

    2011/01/05 at 6:18 pm

    Also, does vomit go bad? I don’t refridgerate stool samples. Should I be? D’oh.

  • desibo77

    2011/01/05 at 6:19 pm

    Delurking to tell you…I’m a vet. I can’t tell what’s in a dog’s vomit any more than you can, unless it’s something really obvious like a giant worm or a diamond or something. Taking in a vomit sample would be kind of useless for your vet. Sounds to me like somebody got into somethin’…

  • ecelesteo

    2011/01/05 at 6:27 pm

    That’s what I was going to say! Maybe take a picture instead of take a sample. At my hospital, we would always just nod politely and throw away those vomit samples….

  • TigerLily

    2011/01/05 at 6:30 pm

    Hell, if Coco or Chuck is puking diamonds, I’ll come out to Utah and clean it up!!!

  • kristanhoffman

    2011/01/05 at 6:49 pm

    Okay, this may be SUPER obvious to you guys, since you’ve had Chuck and Coco for a while, but I’ll say it just in case:

    Like chicgeek75, my dog used to throw up quite a bit, and it was usually yellow-ish or brown. We eventually learned this was due to doggy acid reflux. (He too is a very anxious, high energy dog.) The solution, for us, was pretty simple: feed more often. This keeps the stomach acid from churning against itself and refluxing. Since we split his dinner into breakfast-and-dinner, we haven’t had any issues.

    Acid reflux or not, I hope you figure the problem out soon (or else that it solves itself). Good luck!

  • Sarah P

    2011/01/05 at 7:33 pm

    I am so glad the vet chimed in to tell you that samples are not necessary! She has a degree so you will believe her, but I was definitely going to say the same thing.

    The Nerf ball might be the problem lately, but it might be their diets the rest of the time. I have three schnauzers who have ALL had some serious tummy troubles. Apparently the breed is notorious for having sensitive tummies.

    Rule one: I never change their food. Rule two: If anyone throws up, no one eats for the next 24 hours. Rule three: following the 24 hour fast they get prescription canned food in small doses for 24-48 hours depending on how well they keep it down, then slowly increase the amount and mix in their dry food. Supplement with ice cubes as treats to help keep them hydrated. Rule four: if someone is still throwing up 48 hours after the first instance of vomit, they go to the vet.

    I would definitely take them both in and have a chat with your vet about the frequent vomiting in your house and see if they have any ideas on how to minimize it- for the pups’ sake, and yours.

  • Daddy Scratches

    2011/01/05 at 7:35 pm

    I was a military-police K-9 handler for a few years, back when I was around 20 years old. Thought for sure I’d get a dog as soon as I had a house of my own some day.

    I’m 40 now. I have a house of my own. I have two children. My desire to have yet another thing I need to keep alive is non-existant. Especially if that thing pukes. And eats its own feces.

  • LaurieML

    2011/01/05 at 7:40 pm

    My dog Scarlet (RIP) used to eat frogs when they would jump in our pool during the summer. Then, she would lie on my bed and throw them up and eat the throw up.

    It’s a good thing dogs are so loving, otherwise no one would put up with that.

  • Tootyjane

    2011/01/05 at 7:48 pm

    A dog eats its own poop.
    A dog eats cat poop.
    A dog eats cat poop, vomits, eats cat poop vomit.

    I can speak authoritatively on this subject.

    Also, my chiweenie ate a baby bird whole, and then came in the house and threw it up in the kitchen. For a split second I thought that she had just had a puppy. Blerg.

  • swilliams38

    2011/01/05 at 7:51 pm

    My kids varied types of poop were traumatizing for me. The youngest one is now six and I still haven’t recovered. After reading your numerous stories about poop(dog/kids), I am quite thankful that my (4)kid’s terrible poop years have ended. Also, I can’t wait to pay them back when it’s their turn to change my icky old lady poop diapers…….hee hee heeee…revenge will be MINE!!!!!!!

  • theldara

    2011/01/05 at 8:09 pm

    My dog used to puke a lot. Food allergies. It sucked. Moved her to Blue Buffalo corn-free food and no problems since.

  • ErikaMSN

    2011/01/05 at 8:17 pm

    I totally forgot (until kristanhoffman mentioned it) that our sweet Lab, Ben, used to puke in the middle of the night, regularly. He was given a reflux dx, and we ended up him Prilosec (or Zantac, can’t remember) & feeding him a small snack before bed.

    This became more amusing was when I was pregnant & had *horrible* heartburn, and ended up taking Ben’s medicine.

  • alysia75

    2011/01/05 at 8:30 pm

    Blech. Dog puke is the worst. Poopy dog puke is REALLY the worst. Way worse than kid puke.

  • AtOneWithHim

    2011/01/05 at 8:47 pm

    Heather, you are one patient woman. I love my children enough to put up with that crap/vomit, but not an animal. Your pets are a crazy amount of work. I don’t know how you do it. My daughter has a cat that for some reason still lives in my house. He is constantly vomiting hairballs that look just like cat crap. I cannot stand it. I cannot stand the cat.
    As for the poop eater, give treats of pineapple. Supposed to make doody taste like doody! Magical.

  • Janice

    2011/01/05 at 9:44 pm

    Do you think there’s something in Tyrant’s whistling that makes the dog’s puke? Like he whistles in a tone only the dogs can hear and it makes them puke? Feeding them poison is traceable and I don’t get the impression he’s the type of person who would be mean to an animal. Screw with you with puke Whistling, sure…

  • jacqueline

    2011/01/05 at 9:44 pm

    can i just say these comments have made my day.

  • TheScarlett

    2011/01/05 at 10:28 pm

    Chiming in about the puke – dogs puke for a reason. Remove the reason and no puke. Eating a foreign substance (Nerf for example) usually produces evidence so I would say it is the food. My completely unsolicited advice is to change the food and look into some supplements. But meanwhile I think Janice may be onto something with the puke whistling theory. Tyrant may be the Jedi warrior of puke whistling. Just saying.

  • Kelie

    2011/01/05 at 10:46 pm

    hmmm….so, my dog, who is 14, has probably thrown up a total 5 times in her entire life. and each time it was because she ate something disgusting, like a dead fish at the beach or dead squirrel at the park (gross, right?) so i think the moral of the story for you here is that you need to stop feeding them whatever your feeding them – a fast, if you will – and wait until their tummies are clear before you start with bits of fresh food for them. when my dog has an upset tummy i will give her a cup of plain white rice mixed with chicken broth, and it’s perfectly filling and not going to make her vomit. you can also mix in canned green beans, which are great for your dog (and weirdly they love it).

    obviously coco and chuck have serious food allergies if they’re throwing up that often. your dogs have accidents more than any dogs i’ve ever heard of, it’s not normal and you shouldn’t wait to take one or both to the vet to get this started. good luck!!

  • Shea

    2011/01/06 at 3:02 am

    oh. my. gosh.

    Billy Sue pukes sometimes. She does a heaving thing before she pukes. I must admit that sometimes she gets “human food” ’cause hell, she looks at me with that face. Those pleading eyes.

    I am doing better now. But maybe sometimes you just have to figure that what goes in the body that the body doesn’t like is gonna come outta the body and when it REALLY doesn’t like it it may come out in the worst of ways.

    Good luck, Heather.

  • The Dalai Mama

    2011/01/06 at 7:13 am

    I’m thinking it’s Coco throwing up pieces of the nerf football she most likely inadvertently ate while mutilating it.

    I know our cat pukes when she either eats too fast or eats one of the kids’ silly bands.

    Our one dog also pukes when she eats too fast.

    Dogs are fun–figuring out their poop is also never rewarding. Nothing like finding out the dog has eaten the tampons out of the trash. Fun!

  • Sully

    2011/01/06 at 8:20 am

    One of my monsters, errr I mean dogs, ate a little TY beanie baby bear. He ate it whole. It caused the nastiest poop and vomit that ever happened before we could figure out what was going on. It had to be surgically removed.

    Anyway, as long as they are acting fine, it is probably just something they are eating. I do think a change of food is a great idea. Remember when changing foods to do it slowly. Mix the old kind with the new kind and gradually increase the new food.

  • hoosiergirl1962

    2011/01/06 at 8:33 am

    Your dogs DO have diarrhea a lot! Get rid of the NERF!! We have a small terrier and he went through this poop/puke cycle a while back. We switched him to organic dog food and he gets all his water from a Brita pitcher thingie and no otherworldly poops/pukes since.
    Also, the only reason black licorice is EVER cool is the fact that it makes your tongue and your spit black…and that loses its cool factor after about…..age 3. So tell Jon to lose the black licorice and switch to Red Vines, which make your breath not quite so heinous!!

  • beezilla

    2011/01/06 at 9:53 am

    We had a nervous dog, until we changed her food. Have you checked out the rating of Coco and Chuck’s food on Dog Food Analysis? Could be a crappy food being the ultimate culprit. The food we were giving, which was purchased from the Vet’s office, was a 2 Star!!! Now we feed a 5 Star grain-free food by Canidae, and it made all the difference in the world, night and day. Dogs aren’t supposed to eat corn and cheap filler and grains. ‘Magine that.

  • CathyJean

    2011/01/06 at 11:17 am

    I would suggest researching what’s in their food. Pet food is even worse than human food (the fast/processed/junky kind). They will put anything into pet foods (fillers, by-products, etc.) to save money; we save money buying cheaper food, the company saves money making it, but our pets end up suffering because of it. I don’t have a dog, I have a cat, and have been researching cat food at this great site(, and I am *alarmed* at what they put in there! Check out what a truly healthy dog diet is and what things are common allergens. You’ll usually find better pet foods at feed stores, they are usually more healthy than what is found at grocery stores. But do a little research first. Your pups will thank you. Good luck to you, and thanks for all the great photos and writing!

  • uvula_envy

    2011/01/06 at 12:13 pm

    I just rescued a dog that has vomited more in the last month than any of my previous dogs and cats have ever. He had a break in there but on Friday, he started vomiting Easter grass. Yes, grass from an Easter basket. Since I don’t decorate for the holidays or have kids, the thinking is that it has been in his system for at least a month or more. He also pooped it out too. Try to process wtf Easter grass is when a dog vomits that the first time.

    Thankfully, he is fine now, but he spent the weekend at the emergency vet. I transferred him to the rescue center’s vet on Monday and by that time the worst had passed, literally.

    Outside of the food, don’t be surprised if it was something one of them ate awhile ago. If Chuck wasn’t a vomiter before Coco showed up, my bets are on her.

  • souphead

    2011/01/06 at 12:25 pm

    note to self: stop reading Dooce while eating lunch. She seems to be stuck on poop/fart/puke posts.

  • MamaLana

    2011/01/06 at 12:40 pm

    I REALLY wish I had not been eating breakfast while reading Dooce this morning.

  • Dragulska

    2011/01/06 at 2:03 pm

    Props to you for cleaning it up! I know kids do it too, and I do clean up their poop and puke all the time, but they both came out of me…

  • workroom

    2011/01/06 at 2:49 pm

    I think it’s clear, Tyrant is The Puke Whistler…
    you need to *ssshhhhh!* him immediately and often…

  • heyitsamber

    2011/01/06 at 3:11 pm

    this matter seems to have been answered thoroughly, so i will leave you with this, which i just found today and which reminded me of chuck and coco immediately:

  • Moomser

    2011/01/06 at 4:43 pm

    I’m not a dog person,I have nothing against them, I just don’t want to own one. Your blog totally reinforces this belief. I also think animals should live in houses where they are going to be treated and loved like children (which is why I should never own a dog), something you seem to be doing. Seriously, if I had to clean up the sheer amount of dog poop and puke you seem to encounter on a regular basis I’d be having a nervous breakdown! Bizarrely, I find reading about your dogs and seeing their pictures quite amusing, so maybe I’m a dog person vicariously… Of course this comment is neither here nor there, but I have no advice to give…

  • lisdom

    2011/01/06 at 6:12 pm

    I’m just chiming in to tell you how hot you look in your new clothes and accessories. Changing up my wardrobe is also one of my New Year’s aspirations.

    I also wonder if you shouldn’t put a layer of linoleum over all your floors until this poop/puke situation is under control. =)

  • budi

    2011/01/07 at 4:58 pm


  • apostate

    2011/01/07 at 12:16 pm

    I think you forgot something. Let me just go ahead and get that for ya, Heather:

    Sorry, Heather’s dad. About the penis remark and everything. Just pretend that you didn’t hear it.

  • lekki

    2011/01/09 at 11:54 pm

    we’ve got a puking dog and we took a while to figure out that she vomits after gulping water from her bowl. It made it hard to figure out what was causing the vomits because the food varied.
    She does audible burps too but they’re far more entertaining than the upchucks

  • love guru

    2011/02/16 at 7:32 am

    :))) “I thought my boyfriend had a really awful tumor.”
    :)) this is really really funny.ohh my god

    Lg from Love Tips

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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