Dogs aren’t usually very discerning when it comes to their eating habits. They have been known to swallow a wide variety of items, including rocks, toys and even items of clothing.
If your dog has snacked on something inappropriate, your vet has safe and effective drugs on hand that can be used to make your dog throw up or vomit before the object gets stuck further along his digestive tract.
But what if you are nowhere near a vet? Can you, and should you, make your dog vomit?
There are divided opinions on this amongst vets, with advantages and disadvantages of doing so.
The advantage is that the foreign body is no longer in your dog’s stomach, and there should be no ongoing effects. The disadvantages can be serious.
7 Risks of Inducing Vomiting
There are many things that can go wrong if you make your dog vomit up whatever he has eaten.
1. Can Lead to Double Irritation – If your dog has eaten something caustic, it will irritate his esophagus (the tube between the mouth and the stomach) as he swallows. Making him vomit could double the damage as it will irritate again on the way back up.
2. Can Cause Holes in Stomach Walls and Infection – It’s possible that the forceful contractions of the stomach that occur with vomiting can lead to perforation of the stomach wall. This will lead to potentially fatal inflammation and infection in the abdomen.
3. Can Complicate An Already Bad Situation – There is the risk of the foreign body getting stuck in the esophagus on the way up. This is harder to fix surgically than a foreign body in the stomach or intestines.
4. Can Lead to Pneumonia – When your dog vomits, there is a chance that he may breathe in some of the vomitus. This can lead to pneumonia.
5. Dog May Not Throw Up Everything – Making your dog vomit will often only remove 60-70% of the stomach contents, so it’s possible it won’t work as well as you’d like it to. Your dog is then likely to still need veterinary treatment.
6. Can Lead to Long-term Complications – Most products that are used to make dogs vomit do their job by irritating the lining of the stomach. This can lead to ulceration of the stomach or esophagus.
7. It May Not Work At All
It’s important that you don’t make your dog throw up except on the advice of a veterinarian. Depending on what your dog has eaten, it may be safer to just let it pass through.
3 Ways to Make Your Dog Throw Up
Ideally, you should make your dog vomit within 30 minutes of swallowing the foreign body.
It also helps if you give your dog some food before you make him vomit. That way there is something for him to bring up, and the foreign body may come up with it.
There are several products that people use to induce vomiting in dogs.
Even though you may see instructions on how to use salt to make your dog vomit, this isn’t a good idea.
Too much salt does cause vomiting, but it also causes weakness, rapid heart rate, seizures and coma. It basically messes up the body’s electrolyte balance.
Some dogs have actually died from being given too much salt. Add to this the fact that it isn’t very reliable, and the risks of using salt outweigh any benefits. So, give this one a miss.
This is probably the most common method know to make your dog vomit.
Hydrogen Peroxide is available in different strengths, so make sure you use the 3% solution.
Give 1ml of hydrogen peroxide per lb. of body weight, but no more than 45ml in total. If he doesn’t vomit, you can repeat that dose in about 15 minutes.
If he doesn’t vomit after the second dose, then it isn’t going to work and if you give him any more, you could make him very sick.
To encourage your dog to drink the hydrogen peroxide, you can mix it with a little milk. Most dogs will happily lap this up.
Alternatively, use a syringe and squirt it gently into the corner of his mouth. Do this slowly to avoid him breathing it in.
This is syrup that was used in the past to make children vomit, and you may be able to buy some from a pharmacy.
It’s not easy to find because people with eating disorders used it to purge themselves, and their chronic use of the syrup caused heart disease.
If you do manage to get your hands on some, the dose is ½-1ml per lb. bodyweight.
This is best given by syringe into your dog’s mouth, as described for hydrogen peroxide.
When In Doubt Consult Your Vet
Even if you are a long way from a vet surgery, you should at least phone them to chat about whether or not you should make your dog throw up. By doing so, you give your dog the best chance of recovering from his dietary indiscretions.