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What You Need to Know About Inducing Vomiting

Every dog swallows something they shouldn’t at some point or another.

dreamstime_8099200When your dog swallows something that could hurt them or make them sick, it’s important to know how to induce vomiting if you can’t make it to our veterinary clinic in North Merrick. However, you should only induce vomiting in your dog if you don’t have any other options. If you have the possibility of taking your dog to visit the veterinarian, you should do so. If you do have to induce vomiting, there are many things you need to know.

When should you induce vomiting?

  • If your dog ingested something that is poisonous to them, such as chocolate, grapes, mushrooms, etc.
  • If your dog ingested something they shouldn’t recently (less than an hour).
  • If your dog is asymptomatic (they aren’t showing signs of being poisoned yet).
  • If your dog has swallowed a soft foreign object, like a sock, cloth or other fabric.
  • If your dog doesn’t have a medical problem that puts them at risk for inhaling their vomit into their lungs, such as a collapsing trachea, laryngeal paralysis or an abnormal esophagus.
  • If your dog isn’t a brachycephalic breed. These breeds have smooshed faces that put them at risk for inhaling vomit into their lungs and include English Bulldogs, Pugs, Pekingese, Shih-Tzus, etc.

When should you avoid inducing vomiting?

  • If your pet swallowed a corrosive chemical, such as drain cleaner, oven cleaner, lime removal products or batteries. Vomiting corrosive chemicals can cause additional damage to the esophagus.
  • If your dog has swallowed petroleum distillates or hydrocarbons. These are oily substances that can easily be inhaled in the lungs, which could lead to aspiration pneumonia.
  • If your dog swallowed a foreign object that is sharp, such as glass.
  • If your dog is having seizures.
  • If your dog is not fully awake or able to swallow properly.
  • If you are unsure about what your dog ate.

How do you safely induce vomiting?

There are several methods for inducing vomiting, but you should know that many are dangerous and some can do more harm than good. The only safe way to induce vomiting yourself is with 3% hydrogen peroxide. The best way to do this is with a syringe without a needle, an eyedropper or even a squirt gun or a turkey baster would do the trick. You can repeat the process two to three times, just make sure that you wait five minutes in between doses. Give no more than 0.5 – 1 ml of 3% hydrogen peroxide per pound. Since 15 mls = 1 tablespoon, you can give a 50 pound dog 1.5 – 3.5 tablespoons.

What should you avoid using to induce vomiting?

  • Syrup of ipecac (due to profound side effects)
  • Salt (due to the side effects and effect on sodium levels)
  • Mustard
  • Sticking your fingers down their throat (this just doesn’t work)

Although these are the general rules of inducing vomiting, every case and every dog is different. If you have the option, it’s always best if you rely on a veterinarian. Even if the veterinary clinic is closed, you should, at the very least, call the after hours number and talk to someone before you induce vomiting.


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