Inducing vomiting in a dog is no fun for anyone involved. However, expelling a toxin may save a dog’s life. For certain poisons, there’s a limited window (roughly 30 minutes) between when a dog ingests the toxin and when he experiences severe complications. Because it’s best for a dog to throw up as soon as possible in these cases, it’s something that you may want to do at home before bringing your dog to the vet. But what’s the best way to make a dog throw up?
Reasons to Make a Dog Throw Up
First, understand that the only reason to induce vomiting in a dog is if he has very recently ingested something poisonous. Gary Weitzman, DVM, President of the San Diego Humane Society and author of the book The Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness, says, “The most common reason we would recommend a dog vomit is if he’s eaten mouse poison or rat poison, or snail bait.” He adds that antifreeze and marijuana are other toxins for which vomiting is a necessary measure as well. Chemicals in gardens can cause issues for dogs, too.
Before you try to make your dog throw up, however, it’s critical that you call your veterinarian. If your vet isn’t available, you can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. Every situation is different, so it’s critical to assess whether inducing vomiting in your dog is appropriate in your particular case.
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When Not to Make Your Dog Throw Up
The reason it’s important to speak to a professional before inducing vomiting in your dog is that sometimes vomiting can cause additional harm. If your dog has eaten a corrosive chemical like bleach, batteries, or laundry detergent, throwing up could lead to even more damage on the way back up. (Although not a toxin per se, the same goes for sharp objects, which could tear the esophagus or create a choking hazard when vomited.)
Dogs with breathing issues, including brachycephalic (“smooshed-face”) breeds like pugs and bulldogs, are at risk of inhaling vomit into the lungs. This can lead to serious complications like asphyxiation or pneumonia.
How to Induce Vomiting in a Dog
If you’ve determined that the best course of action is to make your dog throw up, there is only one safe way to do it: hydrogen peroxide.
A 3% hydrogen peroxide solution, something every dog owner should keep on hand, is the most effective and safest way to induce vomiting in dogs. Give one teaspoon per every 10 pounds of body weight. Open your dogs mouth and drop in the solution before massaging his throat. If you have an eyedropper or small baster, this can be helpful for administering the solution.
Weitzman says this will bring up everything your dog has in his stomach. “The look in their eyes is horrible. You can see they are so nauseous,” he admits. “But it can save their life.”
Just remember: a moment or two of discomfort is a small price to pay for your pup’s health and safety!
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.