Thursday, August 14, 2008

Inducing vomiting in dogs

A lot of people ask, usually during a crisis, how to make their dogs throw up something they have eaten.

Before providing links to resources, I want everyone to be aware of some simple steps you need to take BEFORE you need to induce vomiting in your dog.

1.) Always keep your vet’s phone number handy. NEVER induce vomiting unless a vet tells you to do so.

2.) If your vet is closed, make sure you keep the number to your closest emergency vet handy. You should also know how close the emergency vet is, how long it will take to drive there, and that you know how to get there.

3.) Keep the Pet Poison Control number handy: (888) 426-4435 (Please note that you will most likely be charged a $60 consultation fee on a credit card if you call this number).

If you pet has ingested something that requires you to induce vomiting, your pet will most likely require immediate follow up care. Just because your pet threw up the substance or object, some of that substance may have entered the blood stream and you will need to ensure that proper follow up care is sought immediately.

You should never try to induce vomiting if your dog is unconscious, having difficulty breathing, choking, can’t stand, has ingested a caustic (like draino, bleach, etc.), or has ingested something more than 2 hours ago.

If you dog has ingested a large toy or soft toy, you should not induce vomiting as this may cause a blockage coming back up and your dog could suffocate. Get your dog to a vet so they can induce vomiting (if appropriate) where they have the tools to handle a blockage.

If you dog has ingested something sharp, do NOT induce vomiting. The force of the dog vomiting will cause that sharp object to pierce the esophagus on the way back up and will cause even more damage, if not death.

4.) Always have hydrogen peroxide on hand. The basic 3% solution found at most drug stores will work. Please note that hydrogen peroxide loses its effectiveness over time or when exposed to bright sunlight, so remember to throw out old bottles and buy new bottles periodically.

5.) Ask your vet for a syringe or purchase a liquid medicine dropper or syringe-like instrument for administering the peroxide. They just won’t voluntarily drink it, you’ll need to squirt it in their mouth (click here to see how to administer liquids with a syringe)

When you call your vet, you will need to tell them the following:

1.) size of your dog
2.) what they ingested
3.) how long ago it was ingested
4.) How much of it was ingested (if medicine, what is the dosage, how many pills, etc.)

Remember, have the proper tools on hand to induce vomiting
ONLY induce on the approval of your vet
Take your dog in immediately for follow up care

The following are links that describe how to induce vomiting. They should NOT be used instead of the direction of your vet, but are only to familiarize you with how to induce vomiting should your vet tell you to do so.

Suite 101 article (excellent article)

Dog First Aid 101 link

Pet Place link