How to Induce Vomiting in Dogs

image of two dogs in a basket

How to Induce Vomiting in Dogs

If your dog has swallowed something dangerous and you need to get it out of him, you are currently experiencing every dog owner’s worst nightmare. Our dogs love to get into things, and unfortunately, the fact that some items can cause them great harm (and even death) does not seem to deter them. While most owners do their best to prevent their dogs’ access to things that could potentially harm them, our favorite furry friends are masters at uncovering even the best hidden “treasures.” Many will leave no stone undeterred until they source what they are looking for.

Some items our dogs ingest are not inherently dangerous to them. They might experience an upset tummy or discomfort in passing the item through the intestinal tract, but there is little cause for serious concern. At other times, our dogs get into things that are toxic, and immediate vomiting is necessary.

What You Should Do If You Suspect Your Dog Has Ingested Something Dangerous

If your dog has ingested a substance you suspect could be hazardous for his health, it is critical that you contact your veterinarian right away. When it comes to a possible obstruction of an airway or the intestines or a product that is toxic, there is no time to delay. To wait is to place your dog’s life in jeopardy. Your veterinarian will know if the item is harmful or not and whether veterinary assistance is required. At times, inducing vomiting may not be necessary, but this is a decision best made by a professional.

After consulting with your veterinarian, he or she may feel your best course of action is to induce vomiting at home. In general, hydrogen peroxide is administered to cause the dog to regurgitate the ingested item. However, hydrogen peroxide is extremely caustic and has the potential to cause burning in the throat, mouth, and esophagus. For this reason, it is critical that hydrogen peroxide only be administered on the specific advice of a veterinarian, in the correct dosage, and in the manner instructed. The basic guideline is 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide per 10 lbs of weight. If this dosage does not produce the desired result within 15 minutes, it can be administered again at the same dosage strength. However, twice is the maximum amount of times this remedy should be attempted before immediately rushing your dog to your nearest veterinary clinic. 

What you need to know prior to using hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting

If you need to induce vomiting in your dog, it is important for you to realize that you are in an emergency situation. As with any emergency, there are proper steps which must be followed in order to achieve a positive outcome.

Here are four things that you need to know prior to using hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting:

When did your dog ingest the item?
Time frame is critical in determining the efficacy of any treatment. If your dog has swallowed a substance and two hours or more has passed since that time, administering hydrogen peroxide will not be effective.  Once two hours have passed, the material has now been absorbed into your dog’s system and is beginning the process of passing through the stomach and into the intestines.

In some instances, owners are uncertain as to when their dog swallowed the troublesome item. In this case, inducing vomiting with peroxide may have some benefit, but it is also possible that it may result in fruitless effort. 

What is it that your dog has swallowed?
Knowing what your dog has ingested is key to ascertaining which mode of treatment will be most beneficial.  If your dog has consumed a toxic chemical such as bleach, the chemical itself is better staying precisely where it is in your dog’s system. To induce vomiting in a caustic chemical would mean to bring acidic material back up through the sensitive tissues of the throat, esophagus, and mouth, thus causing further damage to an already distressed dog.

Likewise, if you suspect that your dog has eaten glass or a sharp plastic object, ruptures are possible if vomiting is induced. An alternate treatment option would be far preferable.

How is your dog responding to what he has swallowed?
Your dog’s emotional state prior to ingesting a potentially hazardous substance can also assist in helping you determine the next steps that you need to take. If your dog is unconscious or prone to gagging, it is unwise to attempt to induce vomiting yourself as your dog could easily choke on the regurgitated vomit and possibly die.

Conversely, if your dog has ingested a substance that has left him intoxicated, hydrogen peroxide-induced vomiting is best avoided altogether. 

What is your veterinarian’s phone number?
In the day and age of cell phones, many owners assume that if they need the assistance of their vet, they will have sufficient time to Google the number then make the call. But in an emergency situation, you will be very flustered. Even attempting to find things that are familiar to you like your shoes and car keys will be incredibly difficult. For this reason, it is wise to memorize your vet’s phone number as well as program it into your cell phone for easy access.  Accidents happen, and you need to make things as easy on yourself as possible, so that if an emergency situation does crop up, you do not place yourself under further and unnecessary distress.

What your Veterinarian can do to Induce Dog Vomiting

If hydrogen peroxide-induced vomiting is not advisable, your veterinarian may still be able to assist your dog. Veterinarians generally have apomorphine on hand, a drug which is administered to pets in need of vomiting hazardous materials. Apomorphine is far safer than hydrogen peroxide and carries none of the risks of potentially damaging sensitive tissues.

It is also important to note that most dogs who require induced vomiting will also require IV fluids to replenish hydration and electrolyte balances. For certain substances, activated charcoal is a better choice to induce vomiting. For these reasons, it is usually best to take a dog in need of vomiting to your veterinarian immediately for proper treatment.

Yes, Fido can sure get himself into a lot of trouble! Our dogs love to eat, but unfortunately, they don’t always pick the things that are best for them to snack on. Prevention is the best solution for dogs who are known to eat everything that isn’t nailed down, but if you do find yourself in a quandary, contact your veterinarian for expert advice.

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