You don't want to think about your beloved dog getting sick, but it's better to be prepared for the possibilities in advance. If your dog ingested something he shouldn't or swallowed something poisonous, sometimes you need to make your dog vomit. But not always.
Here's how to know when — and how — to make a dog throw up. Keep in mind that in all situations, even those when it's generally recommended that making your dog throw up is the best course of action, experts at the American Kennel Club still recommend calling your vet, too.
First, if you can get your dog to a veterinary clinic quickly and safely (yours or an emergency vet), do that instead of inducing vomiting at home. Call a pet poison help line, too. Provide them with as much information as possible, including your dog's body weight, breed and health status, as well as what he swallowed, how long ago and how much. The hotline can advise you if it is safe to induce vomiting based on that information.
Once you know it's safe to make your dog throw up, and there's no risk of something like aspiration pneumonia, there are still several things to know.
First, experts agree that hydrogen peroxide is the safest way to induce vomiting in a dog, so, it's the only method we'll cover here. This common household substance can cause vomiting by irritating a dog's digestive tract. If it works, it should remove about half the contents of the dog's stomach in about 15 minutes.
Again, call your veterinarian or a pet poison hotline for guidance. If your dog hasn't eaten in the last couple of hours, feeding him a small meal may help induce vomiting. Make sure your dog is as comfortable as possible; they may vomit for as long as 45 minutes.
The suggested dosage is 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide for every 5 pounds (2.26 kilograms) the dog weighs, though you should not exceed 3 tablespoons even if the dog weighs more than 45 pounds (20 kilograms). Confirm this dosage with your vet or poison hotline when you call.
Administer the peroxide in the dog's mouth with a syringe, squirting it between the dog's back teeth or on the dog's tongue, holding his mouth open as necessary.
Give him a second dose of hydrogen peroxide if the first does not induce vomiting in five minutes. If nothing happens within 10 minutes, it is time to go to the vet; you cannot administer any more hydrogen peroxide.
What to Do After Your Dog Vomits
If the dog throws up, collect the vomit, both to keep your dog from eating it (yes, gross!) and to take it to your veterinary hospital for examination. Watch your dog for adverse reactions, including excess vomiting for more than 45 minutes, diarrhea, lethargy or bloating. Be aware also for difficulty breathing, which can be caused by aspiration pneumonia.
Consider having pet-safe liquid respiratory supplements on hand in your first aid cabinet to soothe your dog's throat after inducing vomiting. Call your vet for further advice when the dog is finished vomiting.
Again, being prepared for emergencies beforehand is useful. Keep a bottle of unopened, 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution with your first aid supplies. A new bottle of hydrogen peroxide will be far more effective than an old, opened bottle, which could be flat.
If your dog swallowed a caustic substance or object (like some cleaning fluids or a battery) or sharp objects — these will likely cause more damage coming up.
When your dog is already vomiting, having difficulty breathing, having seizures, is lethargic, is comatose, or has had recent abdominal surgery. These emergency conditions require immediate veterinary care.
If your dog ate the foreign object or substance more than two to six hours ago. It may be too late to induce vomiting.
If your dog is a brachycephalic breed — flat-faced dogs such as pugs, boxers or terriers. It can be dangerous to induce vomiting without a vet's guidance because these breeds are susceptible to aspiration pneumonia.
When to Go to a Veterinary Hospital Instead
Seeing a veterinary professional is always the best choice if you can get your dog to one quickly and safely. The Pet Poison Helpline lists several other times when you should head to the vet instead of inducing vomiting:
Your dog ate a corrosive substance or a sharp or large object.
Your dog is exhibiting severe symptoms.
The dog is a flat-faced breed with high risks of respiratory conditions.
The dog did not respond to being induced with hydrogen peroxide.
A veterinary or other animal professional advised you to proceed immediately to the vet.
The hydrogen peroxide method, or any other method of making a dog vomit, will not be helpful and may cause more harm.
Things Dogs Can't Eat
So why would you want to induce vomiting in the first place? Well there are specific things dogs can't eat, but they still do. Foods like chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins and avocados, as well as foods containing xylitol, are all toxic to dogs. But you should still be OK inducing vomiting if your dog eats them, as long as he isn't exhibiting symptoms of a seizure or another emergency.
But you should also keep in mind other things, like plants, that are toxic to dogs. Even if you do not have them in your home, your dog may encounter them — and eat them — outdoors. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a comprehensive list of plants to avoid.
And never use human remedies or solutions to induce your dog to vomit. Solutions that include foods like salt, mustard, olive oil, bread and milk aren't necessarily bad for dogs, but they can make the situation worse. And never stick your fingers down the dog's throat, either.
Now That's Interesting
Cat owners, take note. While this advice may help dogs in certain situations, experts advise there is no safe way to induce a cat to vomit. If you suspect your cat has swallowed something dangerous, the only course of action is to get a vet as quickly as possible.
Originally Published: Jul 11, 2011
Dog Throwing Up FAQ
Why is my dog not digesting its food?
If your dog is continuously throwing up and is unable to digest its food, he is suffering from intestinal malabsorption. With this disease, a dog is unable to absorb the nutrients needed for its body.
What does it mean when your dog is getting diarrhea and throwing up?
Gastroenteritis is a disease that causes inflammation in a dog’s stomach and intestines. If your dog is getting diarrhea and throwing up continually, get medical assistance immediately.
What can you give a dog for throwing up?
If your dog is suffering from gastroenteritis, add bland foods to its diet, such as white fish, boiled chicken, sweet potato or white rice. As always, if your dog is throwing up, seek the advice of your veterinarian before giving your pet any medication.
When should you be concerned about a dog throwing up?
Continuous throwing up is a sign that your dog needs immediate medical attention.
How can I make my dog feel better after vomiting?
To make your dog feel better after it throws up, try to scoop it in your arms and gently rub its belly to provide it some comfort.
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