How (& When) To Make A Dog Throw Up


If you’re a dog parent, you’ve probably experienced one of those “oh no” moments. You know the ones I mean, right? When your pooch gobbled down something he shouldn’t have. Think: Chocolate, sugarless gum, a household product, or any number of items.

Our homes are filled with things our fur kids shouldn’t eat. But since dogs love to explore the world with their mouths, animal poison control hotlines routinely get thousands of calls from frantic pet owners because their pets ate something potentially toxic.

Before I share how to induce vomiting in dogs (below), let’s go over some common pet toxins, what to do if your dog consumes a toxic substance, and when (and when not) to make your dog throw up.


Common Pet Toxins

Photo via ASPA Animal Poison Control Center
Photo via ASPA Animal Poison Control Center

I’ve Been There …

I remember one night when I was growing up, two of our poodles got into my mom’s purse. It was sitting on the kitchen table and had a new bottle of Advil inside. When my mom walked into the kitchen, she saw her purse on the floor, the Advil bottle all chewed up, and tablets everywhere. She immediately screamed, “Oh No!!!”

I remember her gathering and counting every scattered tablet, attempting to figure out how many the dogs ate.

She quickly called the emergency vet and was instructed to induce vomiting. In our case, things were a little more complicated because we didn’t know which of the two dogs ate the tablets. So, yes, we had to make both dogs throw-up.

To make a very long story short – thankfully they were both fine!


What To Do If Your Dog Eats Something Toxic Or Harmful

  • First, identify what was swallowed and when.
  • Gather as much information about what your dog ate. Was it a medication? How many pills/tablets? Dosage? Or did your dog consume toxic foods, like chocolate, grapes, or onions? Maybe insecticides? House plants? And the list goes on.
  • When did it happen? Note the time of ingestion because this does make a difference.

According to Trupanion Pet Medical Insurance Company:


“Ingested material stays in the stomach for about four hours before moving on to the small intestine. If it has been less than four hours (preferably less than one hour) since ingestion of the toxin, inducing vomiting may be successful; however, if it has been more than four hours, vomiting is less likely to help.”

Initial Action Plan
  • Stay calm, call your veterinarian, and remember that every minute counts. If you can’t get in touch with your vet the two Animal Poison Control Centers listed below are available 24/7 – 365 days of the year.
    • Animal Poison Control Center / Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661
    • ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435

When Should I Make My Dog Vomit

First, it’s always best to get the go-ahead to induce vomiting from a veterinary professional. After all, in some instances, inducing vomiting can cause more harm than good.


When NOT to Make Your Dog Vomit

  • Your dog is already vomiting.
  • The dog is weak, sleepy, having seizures, unresponsive, or showing symptoms of poisoning.
  • If he’s having difficulty breathing.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • The dog’s a brachycephalic (flat-faced) breed like a Shih Tzu, Pug, Bulldog, Pekinese, etc. Because of their anatomy flat-faced breeds are at high risk for breathing the vomitus into their lungs which could lead to a life-threatening condition called aspiration pneumonia. These breeds need to get to the vet where he/she can induce vomiting safely.
  • If your dog has swallowed anything caustic like oven cleaner, drain cleaners, bleach, batteries, lime products, etc.
  • Hydrocarbons or Petroleum Distillates. If your dog ingested any petroleum products like gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, engine oil, paint solvents, wood stains, etc., think products you would store in your garage.
  • If your dog swallowed a sharp object.

Preparing To Make A Dog Throw Up

Supplies

You’ll need 3% Hydrogen Peroxide to induce vomiting at home. This is the safest and only method you should use. Hydrogen Peroxide is available at higher strengths, so be careful and make sure that yours is no greater than 3%. Higher concentrations can cause gastric damage and can be toxic to your dog.

*A Note About Hydrogen Peroxide

Make sure your Peroxide is fresh. It will only work if it produces a bubbling action. It’s the bubbles that works to irritate the gastric lining which causes the dog to vomit. If you’re not sure, squirt a little into your sink to see if it’s bubbling. If it isn’t, you’ll need a new bottle. Peroxide that is old, stored improperly, previously opened to the air, can break down rapidly turning it into water. So always make sure your Hydrogen Peroxide is potent!

Dosage

According to the AKC, the proper dosage should be 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of the dog’s body weight by mouth, with a maximum dose of 3 tablespoons for dogs who weigh more than 45 pounds. Of course, you should always ask your veterinarian about the best dosage for your dog and only induce vomiting if your dog ate the substance within 2 hours.


How To Make A Dog Throw-Up

According to Embrace Pet Medical Insurance,

“Feeding a small moist meal before giving the peroxide helps. Think of it as ballast to bring up more material. Some veterinarians also recommend mixing the hydrogen peroxide with water.”

  1. Fill a medication syringe or a turkey baster with the proper measured out dose of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide.
  2. Place your dog in a standing or sitting position, head up, and pull back his upper lip. Position the syringe or baster into the rear corner of his mouth between the cheek and teeth.
  3. Slowly dispense the 3% Hydrogen Peroxide into his mouth making sure he is swallowing it.
  4. Get your pooch up and moving. The more he moves, the more bubbly it’ll get in his tummy. And since it’s the bubbling action of the peroxide that’s going to get him to vomit – the more bubbles the better!
  5. Stay with your dog and monitor him. If he hasn’t thrown-up within 15 minutes – give him a second dose.
  6. When he throws up, it’s a good idea to save some in a baggie or a clean container in case the vet wants to examine it. Clean it up immediately to ensure your dog doesn’t lick up any of the vomit.
  7. If your pooch hasn’t thrown up after two doses, you’re going to need to get him to the veterinarian ASAP. Do not give him more than two doses at home.