People make bad choices all the time. It’s the drunk person in the bar who takes that 3rd shot of tequila. It’s the person with the gluten intolerance who orders that bread basket because they think it’s worth the consequences. People make bad choices, and they do so knowingly. Whereas, dogs make bad choices unknowingly. Dogs have eaten it all, from toads and mushrooms, to cigarettes and antifreeze. What do you do though, when you see your dog eat something that is probably not good for them? Pet parents often find themselves in a situation where they know their dog has eaten something potentially toxic or dangerous. Their first thought? Get it out of the dog’s system! If you have seen that your dog has just devoured an entire slab of chocolate, chances are you’ll wish you knew how to make a dog throw up.
What You Need to Know Before Making Your Dog Throw Up
The first and most important thing about making your dog throw up, is to not do it unless a vet, or otherwise qualified person tells you to. You can call your vet, or helplines such as the Pet Poison Helpline (855 213 6680) or the ASPCA Poison Control Center (888 426 4435).
There are a ton of instances in which making a dog throw up would be dangerous. In cases where inducing vomiting is the best way forward, the veterinarian or operator will make the call.
How NOT to Induce Vomiting in a Dog
Everyone knows how very wrong Dr. Google is a lot of the time.
Here are some of Dr. Google’s ideas, which will most likely cause more harm than good:
- Giving your dog salt (Dr. Google must have bunked the class on Salt Toxicosis)
- Syrup of Epicac
- Sticking your finger down your dog’s throat
Just to reiterate, the above are NOT veterinary-approved ways to induce vomiting in your pet. If you want to know how to make a dog throw up safely, keep reading!
Know When Inducing Vomiting is Necessary
You should consult a vet before you induce vomiting in your dog. The reason being, they need to establish whether the thing your dog ate will be safe to bring up or not. If your dog ate a piece of plastic, it may cause them to choke on it’s way back up. It could also cause ruptures or lesions. Likewise, if your dog ate something acidic or alkaline, it could cause harm on the way back up. Another potential result of making a dog throw up toxins is that it can enter their lungs and cause aspiration pneumonia.
When Not to Induce Vomiting
Here are a few instances in which it would not be safe to induce vomiting in your dog:
- The dog ingested the toxin over 2 hours ago.
- If they are intoxicated or unconscious.
- Your dog swallowed an indigestible object.
- If they ingested a caustic substance (for example drain cleaner or bleach).
- Your dog has ingested petroleum distillates (such as kerosene or gasoline).
- If you are dealing with Brachycephalic Breeds (flat-faced breeds).
- Your dog is already vomiting.
When to Induce Vomiting
You should induce vomiting in your dog once you get the go-ahead from a vet, call center agent, or emergency pet clinic.
Pet parents are right to be concerned and seek advice if their dog ate something funky, but it is not always a life or death situation. Sometimes the only result of Patrick the Pug eating a dead squirrel will be an upset stomach, or throwing up some undigested food.
Important Information to Have on Hand
In an ideal emergency situation (if there was ever one), you would be taking your dog to the vet. The veterinarian would first stabilize your dog’s vitals, and then deal with the poison afterwards. However, in typical emergency fashion, they tend to happen when you’re nowhere near your veterinarian’s office. This is why learning how to make a dog throw up is a smart move!
But first, you should have your dog’s information ready so that the person you are speaking to can make a more informed diagnosis and treatment plan.
The following information will be helpful in case of an emergency:
- Breed, sex, and age of your dog.
- Your dog’s weight.
- Your dog’s medical history and list of medications.
- The timeline of when they ate something to showing symptoms of poisoning.
- Availability of toxic chemicals, plants, or medications.
Know the Signs of Symptoms of Poisoning
In the best-case scenario: you know what your dog ate and when they ate it. Emergencies are never “best-case scenarios” though. If you don’t know what your dog ate, describing their symptoms to your vet can help give them an idea of what kind of poisoning you’re dealing with. Not every dog who has eaten something toxic will have white foam on their mouths. Different toxins result in different symptoms.
Here is a list of possible symptoms dogs may develop when poisoned:
- Central nervous system – Such as excitement, depression or seizures
- Muscle weakness or paralysis
- Acute blindness
- Acute kidney failure
- Liver damage or liver disease
- Acute oral lesions or ulcers
- Heart problems
- Pulmonary oedema – Fluid in the lungs
- Gastrointestinal signs – vomiting, diarrhea, stomach aches and pains
Making Your Dog Throw Up with Hydrogen Peroxide
Of all the ways of making dogs throw up, using hydrogen peroxide is the one method everyone seems to agree on. Hydrogen peroxide is safe to use, when used correctly, preferably under the guidance of a veterinarian (or helpline operator).
Ever dropped some hydrogen peroxide on a cut or open wound? It becomes fizzy and foamy. The same happens when the hydrogen peroxide enters your dog’s stomach. The lining of the stomach is irritated by the fizzing and foaming of the hydrogen peroxide, causing your dog to throw up.
Things You Will Need When Inducing Vomiting in Your Dog
Here is a list of things you will need:
- Your phone
- The phone number of your vet or a poison control center
- 3% hydrogen peroxide. It has to be 3%. Anything stronger can be very harmful to your dog. It should also not be too old. The older the fluid, the less fizzy and foamy it will be. Hydrogen peroxide is readily available at most supermarkets.
- A measuring spoon. The recommended dosage for dogs is 1 ml per pound. The maximum amount safe for dogs is 45 ml, so don’t give your dog more, even if they weigh more than 45 lbs.
- A poultry baster or big syringe, without the needle
- Paper towels
- A plastic bag
- Rubber gloves
- A small plastic container for a sample
Step by Step Guide on How to Make a Dog Throw Up
- Offer your dog a small amount of food. It’s easier to vomit when you have something in your tummy.
- Use the syringe to measure out the correct amount of hydrogen peroxide according to your dog’s weight. (No more than 45ml!) If you are using a baster, use the measuring spoon to measure the correct amount before putting the liquid into the baster.
- The next part can be tricky. You want to avoid getting the hydrogen peroxide into your dog’s airways. Push the syringe or baster into the back of your dog’s mouth, between their teeth and their cheek and squeeze out the liquid. Your dog probably won’t like this part very much, so you may need to be firm with them.
- Wait. Keep a very close eye on your dog. The vet may recommend giving your dog another dose if they have not thrown up within 15 minutes of the first dose.
- Once your dog has thrown up, take a sample of the vomit and put it into the container. This is particularly important if you don’t know what they ate. The vet can analyze the sample and tell you what made them sick. Hopefully you can prevent your dog from being poisoned by the same thing twice.
- Clean up. Wipe any vomit or spittle from your dog’s face or paws. Clean up thoroughly to prevent your dog or other animals from exposure to the toxic substance.
- Take a drive to the vet. Just because your dog threw up, it doesn’t mean that there are no more toxic substances in their system. Your vet will need to check whether your dog is OK, or whether they need further treatment or observation.
How to Make a Dog Throw Up – Final Thoughts
Dogs vomit. Whether they have motion sickness or have eaten a dead squirrel, dog vomit is as much a part of puppy parenthood as Addison’s Disease, Hip Dysplasia or Kennel Cough. The important thing is not only how to make a dog throw up, but how to make a dog throw up safely!
P.S. It may be a good idea to download the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center’s mobile app!