By Dr. Becker
In this video Dr. Karen Becker discusses how and when to induce vomiting in a pet that has swallowed a potentially toxic substance.
Today's topic is a lovely one – how to make your pet throw up!
I realize it sounds like a terrible subject, but I actually get the question quite often at my Natural Pet animal hospital. A lot of clients want to know, 'How and when do I make my dog throw up' if I think he's swallowed something dangerous?
If this isn't something you've ever considered, my opinion is it's better to be safe than sorry. It's better to have the knowledge before or if you need it, rather than need it and not have it in the middle of a crisis with your beloved companion.
If you do happen to have a dog or cat prone to sampling weird stuff around your house or yard, view this video so you'll know exactly what you need to do in an emergency, which will include having hydrogen peroxide on hand to induce vomiting.
Should I Automatically Make My Pet Throw Up, No Matter What?
Let's say you actually see your dog or cat consuming something she shouldn't. Do you automatically induce vomiting?
An animal might, for example, come up the stairs from the basement with something in his mouth. Or maybe you see your dog in the yard or behind the garage chewing on something.
Sometimes kitties consume houseplants. You might see chew or tooth marks on a plant, or notice some of the leaves looked stripped or shredded.
You don't necessarily need to induce vomiting in these situations, depending on the circumstances.
When Should You NOT Induce Vomiting?
Circumstances in which you should not make your pet throw up include:
- When he's already throwing up. Don't induce more vomiting in an already vomiting animal, because you can incite a worse vomition response.
- If your pet has lost consciousness and/or if she's very weak or has trouble standing. Do not induce vomiting in this situation because aspiration pneumonia, which can result when an animal inhales vomit into its lungs, can become a secondary problem.
- If your pet has swallowed bleach, a drain cleaner, or a petroleum distillate. These chemicals can cause burning as they are swallowed, and secondary additional burns as they come back up. Don't induce vomiting if your pet has swallowed a caustic substance.
- If it has been over two hours since your pet ingested a potential toxin. Once a substance enters your pet's small intestine, vomiting will not clear the stomach of that toxin. Inducing vomiting in a dog or cat that has already digested a potential toxin won't be effective in ridding her body of the substance.
When Should You Absolutely Induce Vomiting?
- When your pet has consumed antifreeze within the last two hours.
- When you've called your veterinarian, discussed the specific circumstances around your pet's swallowing a potential toxin, and your vet instructs you to induce vomiting.
Hydrogen Peroxide to Induce Vomiting
I recommend (and probably your own veterinarian will as well) the only substance you use at home to make your pet throw up is hydrogen peroxide.
I'm talking about three percent hydrogen peroxide – the kind you purchase at any pharmacy. Do not use the stronger, concentrated peroxide found in hair color, use only the three percent kind.
The dose is one teaspoon (five milliliters, or cc's) for every 10 pounds of body weight.
The hydrogen peroxide must be given orally to your pet. At my clinic, especially if the patient is a dog, we mix it with a little vanilla ice cream to make it palatable. I don't advocate feeding ice cream to dogs, of course, but in a situation where it's necessary to make a pet vomit, hydrogen peroxide hidden in sugary ice cream usually gets gobbled up with no argument.
You can also try using a little bit of honey if there's no ice cream on hand.
Sometimes, however, we just syringe the stuff down an animal's throat. With kitty patients, it's usually easier and more effective to syringe it.
If your pet is a dog, after you get the hydrogen peroxide down, you should walk her around for a few minutes to get her moving, which will help the hydrogen peroxide do its work.
Cats, of course, are a little harder to get moving, but getting them in motion will encourage absorption of the hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide is an irritant to the gastrointestinal tract, so it typically induces vomiting of stomach contents within 15 minutes of use. If your pet doesn't vomit within 15 minutes, you can give him a second dose. However, if another 15 minutes pass and he still hasn't vomited, don't give him a third dose of the hydrogen peroxide. It's time to call your veterinarian.
Veterinarians use specific drugs to induce vomiting in pets – apomorphine is used for dogs, and xylazine is used for kitties.
These medications are by prescription only and can only be administered by a veterinarian. They can be much more effective at inducing vomiting than hydrogen peroxide. So if your pet isn't throwing up from your at-home hydrogen peroxide treatment, you should seek veterinary care immediately.