It's probably safe to say that learning how to make a dog vomit isn't on top of your list of priorities. But it's an essential lifesaving skill for all dog parents. "Dogs will be dogs and that means that most will misbehave given the opportunity," says veterinarian Dr. Marisa Scott of Charleston Veterinary Referral Center in South Carolina. "Dogs love to eat things they shouldn't, and this includes items that are toxic and potentially fatal." Chocolate, for example, is extremely harmful for dogs.
Imagine coming home from work to discover your beloved pup has devoured your entire box of Valentine chocolates. What should you do?
Like most lifesaving procedures, time is of the essence. Waiting until you have to do something isn't the time to learn this skill. Being a fully prepared puppy parent is showing your love and commitment to keeping your dog safe.
Consult Your Vet
"Before trying to induce vomiting in your dog, always contact your veterinarian first," stresses Dr. Carol Osborne, an integrative veterinarian at the site Chagrin Falls Pet Clinic. Sometimes vomiting can actually injure your dog further, so don't take any chances. Dr. Scott agrees, "In many cases, attempting to induce vomiting at home may cause more harm than good, and you will be advised to bring your pet in for evaluation and treatment with your local veterinarian."
But when you're faced with the question to induce vomiting or not, consider these tips from Drs. Osborne and Scott.
When Not and When to Induce Vomiting
Don't induce if ...
- Your dog has lost consciousness or is very lethargic (slow heartbeat, too weak to stand or falling asleep).
- He's swallowed any type of caustic substance, such as bleach, drain cleaner or oven cleaner. These burn going down and can cause serious burns coming back up.
- He's consumed any petroleum distillates, such as kerosene, mineral spirits or gasoline. These are oily substances that can be inhaled during vomiting.
- Your dog is already vomiting, per the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
- It's been more than two hours since the ingestion. After that, says Dr. Osborne, "the food or item would pass from the stomach into the intestines where vomiting is no longer an option."
- The object swallowed was pointy or sharp.
Sometimes your dog may not get serious symptoms, such as lethargy or vomiting. According to the ASPCA, in those cases, with your vet's okay, watching your dog at home might be enough.
Induce vomiting if ...
- You've been directed by your vet to do so, stresses Dr. Scott. "It is essential to call your regular veterinarian or local emergency veterinarian."
- Your pup drank antifreeze less than two hours prior.
How to Make a Dog Vomit
With your vet's go-ahead, here's what you need to know to make your dog throw up quickly. "Give hydrogen peroxide by mouth to your dog using a syringe or turkey baster every 15 minutes up to 4 times," says Dr. Osborne.
Here is a list of steps to guide you through the process:
- Gather your supplies -- a bottle of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide, a large syringe or turkey baster and measuring spoons (if your syringe doesn't have measurements).
- Measure out the needed amount of hydrogen peroxide based on your vet's directions or following this formula -- one teaspoon of peroxide to every 10 pounds of weight. One teaspoon equals five cubic centimeters or five milliliters on the syringe. So a 40-pound dog would need 4 teaspoons, which is 20 cc or 20 ml. Be prepared and post the amount your dog needs somewhere handy. Math is tough under stress!
- "Shoot" the peroxide down your dogs throat with the syringe.
- If vomiting hasn't occurred in 15 minutes, repeat every 15 minutes up to four times.
- Once vomiting occurs or after you've tried four times, follow the advice of your vet or go to the clinic.
Dr. Scott recommends two pet poison control centers that will help direct you through an emergency for a fee if for some reason, you're unable to reach your vet.
Being trained in pet first aid and CPR and having a pet first aid kit handy are also extremely helpful. Inside the kit, you'll have exactly what you need to induce vomiting if it's ever needed.
Margie Mars, who lives in Oregon, is a mother of eight, Oma of three and mama to a Chocolate Lab with OCD. She writes for several top parenting sites on family, pet and health topics and specializes in Attachment Parenting and Autism.
* This article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be providing medical advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The reader should always consult a health care provider concerning any medical condition or treatment plan. Neither Care.com nor the author assumes any responsibility or liability with respect to use of any information contained herein.