While making your dog throw up is not always a safe option, even if it has consumed something toxic, there may be times it is imperative. But it is always advisable to consult a vet or the Pet Poison Helpline before you do.
You see your dog eating a bunch of (gasp!) used tissue paper. Knowing it’s a choking hazard and could even make your pet sick, you decide to get your dog to throw up.
But do you know how to make a dog throw up without putting it in danger?
At times, inducing your pet to vomit can do more harm than good. And while you can arm yourself with information on how to make a dog vomit, I’d advise that you consult with your vet.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, right?
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Remember: Emesis — inducing an animal to vomit — may be dangerous for pets. It is also not the best treatment option when your dog ingests something it is not supposed to.
Generally, you shouldn’t force your pet to throw up even if it ate something harmful because it could aggravate an already bad situation.
In some cases, removing a toxic or dangerous matter becomes vital to saving your pet’s life. But forced vomit doesn’t guarantee the expulsion of the entire substance from its body.
Some toxins show symptoms only after a few days. Rat bait poison, for instance, takes 2-7 days to manifest its effects. By then, it has already entered your pet’s bloodstream and inducing it to vomit will not do much good.
What, then, is the alternative?
Call your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline if it has been more than a couple of hours since your pet has ingested a harmful substance, (see the FAQ section).
Ask about first-aid treatments instead of inquiring how to make a dog vomit.
Never induce your pet to vomit at home unless your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline recommends it.
Likewise, refrain from administering popular remedies, like hydrogen peroxide, to your dog. It can cause serious side effects and can be dangerous when inhaled.
Take your dog to the vet if it has vomited more than twice in 24 hours.
The vet will ask you what your pet ingested, the approximate time it happened, and an estimated amount. You will also need to provide your pet’s approximate weight and medical history.
Bring your dog to a vet after they vomit if they have comorbidities (one or more other health issues) like anxiety, stomach problems, or a heart condition.
Some people use home remedies like salt and mustard to induce vomiting in dogs but these are neither safe nor effective.
So, how to make a dog puke after eating something bad? Your best option would be using 3% hydrogen peroxide administered orally with the help of a needle-free syringe.
Hydrogen Peroxide irritates the GI tract, triggering your pet’s gag reflex. A 3% hydrogen peroxide is considered safe for most dogs.
A stronger concentration could damage your dog’s throat, especially if it doesn’t throw up immediately.
Check the label to be sure you’re buying the right concentration percentage. Many people mistakenly choose food grade 35% hydrogen peroxide, which is much too strong.
Even a 3% solution might have some side effects on your pet, despite it being healthy, so double-check the formulation.
The dosage would depend on the dog’s total weight.
Experts recommend 1 teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide per 5 lbs of body weight. A teaspoon is approximately 5 ml, and the maximum you could give your dog is 45 ml.
Certain substances are a complete no-no when considering how to induce vomiting in a dog. These include:
You should never induce vomiting using corrosive chemicals like drain cleaners or lime removal products as they can damage your pet’s stomach and esophagus.
These compounds are potent enough to dislodge stubborn dirt and grime from metal. So imagine what they can do to your dog’s internal organs.
Kerosene and lighter fluid are examples of such substances. The oil in them can cause aspiration pneumonia. This happens when the fluid or vomit accidentally enters the lungs instead of being swallowed.
Lighter fluid could cause petroleum poisoning and is lethal for dogs.
Giving a dog half a teaspoon of salt is what some people do when they want to make it throw up. However, ingesting an excessive amount of salt could lead to sodium ion poisoning and is, therefore, potentially poisonous for dogs.
Another quick fix some dog owners use to make their pet vomit is a salt water solution, a mixture of 1 part salt and 1 part water. But is that a safe alternative?
I’d say no.
While the salt concentration in this solution is too low to do any good, it is high enough to irritate your dog’s mouth and tongue.
Ingesting salt water solution or large amounts of salt could also lead to an electrolyte imbalance and stomach or intestinal ulcers in dogs. Worse, your pet could develop tremors and seizures and even go into a coma.
How to make a dog vomit with alcohol is a question many ask. But I’d suggest you not go down that route.
Alcohol is toxic to dogs and can result in hypoglycemia, hypotension, and hypothermia.
And while using it might induce a dog to vomit, it could also have repercussions. Adverse side effects include diarrhea, drooling, and collapse.
Another substance often considered when inducing a pet to vomit is Ipecac Syrup since it’s also used to induce vomiting in humans during emergencies. But if you are wondering how to make a dog throw up with Ipecac syrup, you might first want to know if doing so is safe.
For those not in the know, Ipecac syrup can be very dangerous for dogs because it triggers violent nausea and vomiting. Ingesting it can also lead to drooling, difficulty breathing, and heart conditions.
This is how a dog’s internal system reacts in case of poisoning. It will stop making saliva to digest food and start secreting digestive juices from the pancreas.
Giving your dog Ipecac in such a condition might cause it to throw up the entire content of its stomach, which includes the digestive fluids from the pancreas. These fluids contain corrosive enzymes with the potential to severely damage your dog’s throat and esophagus on their way out.
Refrain from sticking your hands down your dog’s throat. Even if you know how to make a dog vomit with your hands, you are still at risk of getting bitten accidentally when trying to do so.
Additionally, pets do not have the same gag reflex as humans. If something harmful inside your dog needs to come out, using your hands to make it vomit could create more damage, like a throat injury.
Even if you know how to make a dog vomit with baking soda, it will be useless. Why? Because even though baking soda solution is less corrosive than salt water, it is too gentle to expel anything harmful.
Moreover, if administered in large amounts, this leavening agent can prompt your dog’s stomach to expand, which may lead to spasms or heart failure.
I cannot emphasize this enough:
Before you figure out how to make your dog throw up, consult a vet.
Rushing your pet to the vet is the best way to ensure your dog receives the best treatment or procedure for whatever dangerous toxin or substance they ingested.
However, if you do get the green light to induce vomiting at home, taking the following precautions will ensure the process is safe for your pet. You also need to ensure your pet has a quiet place to rest after the process is over.
Keep the following handy:
Below is a step-by-step guide:
Now that you’ve understood how to make a dog throw up, another important question that begs answering is when to make your dog throw up.
In truth, there is never a good time to make a dog throw up.
However, if your dog eats something toxic or dangerous, a quick call to a veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline will confirm if it’s one of those times to make an exception.
Dogs like to rummage through things that interest their noses. They are natural scavengers, so they sometimes get into things that are not good for them.
But not everything they ingest needs expunging.
For example, studies show that dogs habitually eat grass. Researchers still don’t know why, but in this case, it is a good idea to leave your pet alone. Unless, of course, it starts to feel unwell after. That’s your cue to take it to a vet.
You should also not make your dog throw up if it has diarrhea because that would only worsen things. Instead, consult your vet immediately.
Your pet will feel weak and tired after vomiting. A meal of bone broth with no spices or salt would help it rehydrate and regain energy.
If your puppy was already unwell before it ate something toxic, bring it to a veterinarian to safely induce vomit.
Inform your vet if your puppy exhibits other symptoms like dizziness, weakness, or even fainting spells. In these cases, inducing the pup to vomit could only hurt it.
The vet also needs to know if your dog ingested the substance in the preceding three hours. This means the toxins are still in its system.
If your vet says that your puppy needs to vomit, but you cannot bring it to the clinic, ask for advice on how to make your dog throw up so you know the correct dosage based on its age and weight.
Also, ask the vet if you could feed your pet a small meal before you make it throw up. Doing so can help delay the absorption of the unwanted substance and make it easier for your puppy to throw up. But do it only if the vet recommends it.
Once your dog stops vomiting, it must be on a bland diet.
Ask your veterinarian about the kind of food you can give your pet. Most vets suggest a meal low in fat, with no spices, salt, or sugar. However, it might require special meals if it has other health complications.
Feeding your dog in small portions three to six times a day for a few days could help ease the stomach into assimilating food again.
After a few days, you can decrease the frequency while gradually increasing the food intake. The transition will help your dog go back to its regular eating schedule.
Call your veterinarian immediately if your pet ingests a toxic substance. That’s because different chemicals and toxins require different kinds of treatments.
Alternatively, you could also call a 24-hour online veterinary service and get immediate access to highly qualified vets across the US, UK and Canada.
You could also call the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) or the Pet Poison Helpline. The ASPCA has a 24-hour emergency hotline for such cases.
Share with the consulting vet the details of what your dog ate, its age, weight, and any symptoms it may exhibit.
Your next step should be based on their advice. If they recommend inducing vomiting at home, you can follow the steps in this guide but with caution.
A digital marketing expert by profession, Andrews is a gifted writer and animal lover at heart. A self-confessed "pawrent", Andrews is well-versed in all things dogs. He uses his years of experience of raising puppies into show-quality dogs to help guide first-time pet parents. He believes in spreading the joy that comes with being a dog dad and advocates more families to adopt pets.