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We’ve all been there. Our dogs eat something that they are not supposed to — a human medication, your other dog’s medication, or a toxic food such as chocolate or raisins — and our first thought is, “how do I make my dog throw up?” Vomiting can be a quick way to remove a potentially harmful substance like chocolate from your dog’s body. But it’s important to know how to make a dog throw up safely, and when you shouldn’t make a dog throw up. If you suspect your dog has been poisoned, call your veterinarian immediately. Here is what you need to know before you induce your dog to vomit.
When to (or Not to) Make a Dog Throw Up
If a dog eats something harmful that they shouldn’t have, it’s possible they may vomit it up on their own. When that doesn’t happen, making your dog throw up something they’ve eaten might seem like a good idea. But inducing vomiting is something you should only attempt to do under the guidance of a veterinarian. There are very good reasons for this. If your regular vet isn’t open, contact a local emergency vet or pet poison control helpline for guidance before you attempt to induce vomiting.
Some things that dogs might swallow—such as batteries, caustic materials, or sharp objects—can cause dangerous and even lethal harm if you induce vomiting and they are regurgitated. Swallowed objects can cause blockages or perforations, and the act of inducing vomiting itself comes with risks. One of these risks is aspiration pneumonia, which is caused by inhaling toxic substances—usually stomach contents—into the lungs.
It can be dangerous to induce vomiting in brachycephalic breeds, such as Pugs or Pekingese, because of concerns of causing aspiration pneumonia, so be sure to check with a veterinarian first. Do not induce vomiting if your dog is lethargic or comatose, or if they are having seizures. If your dog ingested something more than two to six hours ago, it may be too late to get them to vomit it up, depending on what they ate or drank.
The safest thing to do in these cases is to take your dog into the vet’s office immediately. However, if you can’t get there, or your vet’s office is closed, you may have to induce vomiting at home. Talk with your veterinarian by phone, contact or visit the emergency veterinarian, or try a veterinary virtual visit to get guidance on how to proceed. You can call a pet poison control helpline to get advice from the experts before you proceed. When you call any of these experts for help, be prepared to provide important information to the best of your ability: what your dog ate, how much they ate and when, your dog’s weight, and any existing health problems or medications your dog has.
Hydrogen Peroxide to Induce a Dog to Vomit?
Hydrogen peroxide 3-percent solution is the recommended method for making a dog throw up. Fortunately, it’s also a common thing to find in our home medicine cabinet. It’s a good idea to include a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in your travel dog first aid kit in case of an emergency away from home.
Hydrogen peroxide is a topical antiseptic that can be used as an emetic to make dogs vomit when owners can’t get them to a veterinary hospital quickly. Hydrogen peroxide is an irritant to a dog’s intestinal tract and typically works within 10-15 minutes, causing your dog to throw up about 50 percent of the contents of their stomach. The vomiting can last for up to 45 minutes, so make sure you give your dog hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in a place where he will feel as comfortable as possible throwing up. Avoid their normal sleeping, crate, or feeding areas; consider a bathroom or laundry area where you can provide them with a quiet, out-of-the-way place that can also be easily cleaned.
Hydrogen peroxide is generally considered safe to induce vomiting in dogs when administered by a veterinarian. At home, however, you don’t have the luxury of veterinary expertise. Don’t make your dog throw up if they exhibit any of the following symptoms or conditions:
- Already vomiting
- Severely lethargic
- Decreased swallowing ability
- Difficulty breathing
- Seizures or hyperactive activity
- Recent abdominal surgery or megaesophagus (a generalized enlargement of the esophagus)
- Consumed corrosive agents, sharp objects, or drugs
How to Make a Dog Throw Up
First, always call your veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian. Even if you plan on making your dog throw up at home, a veterinarian is a valuable resource and will be able to provide you with the most accurate information about your dog’s condition.
- If your dog hasn’t eaten within the last two hours, giving them a small meal can make it more likely that they will vomit.
- Make sure you have a 3-percent hydrogen peroxide solution. Higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide are toxic and can cause serious damage.
- Administer the proper amount of hydrogen peroxide: the suggested dosage is one teaspoon per five pounds of the dog’s body weight by mouth, with a maximum dose of 3 tablespoons for dogs who weigh more than 45 pounds. But ask your veterinarian about the best dosage for your dog and only induce vomiting if your dog ate the substance within 2 hours.
- Administer the dosage with a oral syringe or turkey baster and squirt it from the side by pulling back your dog’s lips and squirting between their back teeth. You can also squirt from the front into the back of your dog’s tongue or mouth. Be careful not to let your dog inhale the substance, as this can lead to aspiration. If your dog doesn’t vomit within 15 minutes, you can give them a second dose.
- Stay with your dog while they vomits. Collect the vomit for your vet to analyze, and don’t let your dog eat anything they vomit up.
- Keep an eye out for complications and adverse reactions, such as vomiting for more than 45 minutes, diarrhea, lethargy, gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV or bloat), or gastric ulcers.
- Follow up with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
- You may consider soothing your dog’s throat with a pet-safe liquid respiratory supplement after inducing vomiting, but ask your vet before administering anything.
Timing is critical, and the safest step is to take your dog to the veterinary office or emergency veterinary clinic to have vomiting induced. In some cases, other supportive treatment may also be needed, such as IV fluids. And if you haven’t been successful in making your dog vomit, your vet may give them a stronger medication to get rid of the substance that they swallowed, as well as the hydrogen peroxide.