Unfortunately, most dogs will eat just about anything. They don’t exactly have discerning palates. This could mean eating a small toy or even ingesting a dangerous household chemical. If this happens to your pooch, fast action could save their life.
Call your veterinarian right away. Talk to them to determine if you should induce vomiting before you bring your pup in… seconds count. Here’s some information on some of the dangerous things that dogs sometimes ingest, and how to induce vomiting in the safest manner possible — as long as talk to your vet first, of course.
Dangerous Things Dogs Typically Eat
A lot of “people foods” can be toxic – or even life-threatening – to your dog. Chocolate, for example, is poisonous for a pooch. The reason is it contains substances known as methylxanthines. These are found in the seeds of the cacao plant, which is used to make chocolate. Not only can they cause nausea, they can also lead to seizures and heart problems. Chocolate can even be fatal to dogs in some instances.1
Grapes and raisins are also toxic for dogs, often leading to kidney failure when ingested.2 Onions can lead to an upset stomach and can even damage red blood cells.3 If your dog eats something that contains a great deal of salt, like peanuts or potato chips, that can result in sodium poisoning. This can lead to seizures and also death.4
Many dogs are such indiscriminate eaters, they’ll often eat dangerous non-food items as well. These include medications, fertilizer and other garden products, toxic plants, and bug killer. Dogs have even been known to ingest antifreeze.5
Inducing Vomiting – Do’s and Don’ts
If you see that your dog has eaten something that could be harmful, your first instinct might be to make them throw it up as soon as possible. While this is the right thing to do in some instances, it can actually make a problem worse in other cases. That’s why you should first call your veterinarian before doing anything. If a doctor isn’t available, call your nearest emergency animal clinic for guidance.
It’s critical to know when NOT to try to get a dog to throw up. For example, if your dog swallows a sharp object, such as a piece of plastic or a screw, vomiting could do severe damage to their digestive tract, as well as their internal organs. This is a major medical emergency. Get your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible.6 Dogs will sometimes ingest poisonous materials that can burn their esophagus and other organs. These kinds of items include kerosene, gasoline, and paint.7
You should ONLY induce vomiting in certain situations.
For example, if you know for certain that your dog ingested something poisonous and not something that is listed above.8 Once you get the okay from your veterinarian, it’s time to try to get your dog to purge. But we can’t stress enough the fact that you should only do this in case of an emergency, and when your vet says it’s okay to do so.
Here are some ways that you can induce vomiting in your dog:
Give your dog a small amount of food. This might help make vomiting easier. But don’t force it if the dog doesn’t show any interest in eating.9
Give your dog one teaspoon of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide for every five pounds your dog weighs, with a maximum dose of three tablespoons (or nine teaspoons). For example, if your pet weighs 45 pounds, you’ll give them nine teaspoons. Use either a syringe or a turkey baster to shoot the hydrogen peroxide into the back of the dog’s mouth.10
While the vast majority of hydrogen peroxide you’ll find in stores is 3 percent (meaning 97 percent water, 3 percent hydrogen peroxide), look at the bottle to make sure. Hydrogen peroxide forms oxygen bubbles in your dog’s digestive tract, often stretching it to the point that vomiting often results.11
If your dog hasn’t vomited after about 15-20 minutes, gently jiggle their stomach for a minute or two. This can help the hydrogen peroxide bubbles stimulate vomiting.12 Dogs will usually start to drool and show signs of experiencing nausea before throwing up.
If your dog still doesn’t vomit, try repeating the hydrogen peroxide dosage.13 If that doesn’t work, call your veterinarian.
The Bottom Line
Be ready to take action if your dog ingests something that will potentially be harmful to their health. It’s important to know when and how to induce vomiting. But it’s just as vital to know when not to do it. The best thing you can do is to talk to your veterinarian, in case your dog gets into something dangerous and has an upset stomach. That way, you’ll have the best possible plan in place.