How to make a dog throw up safely after ingesting a foreign object

It can be terrifying to find out that your dog swallowed something he shouldn’t — whether he got into the Halloween candy or scarfed down something inedible — but it’s important to act fast in situations like these. First things first, you should always call your trusted veterinarian if you suspect that your pup ingested a foreign object. Then, you can take advantage of one of these at-home techniques for inducing vomiting if your vet gives you the go-ahead.

Learning how to make a dog throw up shouldn’t be taken lightly, even if you feel confident that you know what you’re doing. Swallowing foreign objects can lead to many complications, so you’ll want to make sure you won’t make the situation worse. This is another reason why your vet should be your first phone call. Here’s what you can do.

A veterinarian opens a Golden Retriever's mouth for a checkup

How to make a dog throw up after swallowing a foreign object

Surprisingly, the most commonly used emetic for canines is something you most likely already have at home: hydrogen peroxide 3% solution. This liquid, which is usually used to clean people’s wounds (don’t use it to clean cuts and scrapes on pets, please), works as an irritant to your dog’s stomach, which results in vomiting. Please try this only after consulting with your veterinarian, or — even better —while they are on the phone or in contact with you.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) lists the proper dosage of peroxide as follows: 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of body weight (a graduated syringe will help with this). No matter your dog’s weight, though, the dose should never exceed 3 tablespoons (there are 3 teaspoons in 1 tablespoon). Your vet may give permission to administer a second dose if your dog doesn’t start vomiting within 15 minutes, but be sure to ask before giving any more.

You can also try helping a dog vomit on their own by feeding them a small meal after swallowing a foreign object. This will work best if they haven’t eaten at all in two or more hours, though, but can be less invasive than using peroxide.

Whichever method you use, be sure to stay with your dog until you can get him to a vet. You’ll need to keep an eye out for complications of vomiting, such as diarrhea, dehydration, bloat, or lethargy, according to Veterinary Centers of America.

How long will it take peroxide to make a dog throw up?

According to the canine health professionals with the AKC, 3% hydrogen peroxide will help a dog vomit within about 10 to 15 minutes. Here’s the catch: The vomiting that results from this can last for over 45 minutes, so you’ll want to make sure to keep your pup calm and comfortable for a while.

Hydrogen peroxide usually helps a dog throw up about half of their stomach contents, so you will probably need to continue gentle care for a while after he vomits. Ideally, using this at-home method will buy you enough time to bring your dog to a vet’s office.

Someone gives a Shetland Sheepdog their medication in a syringe

Can hydrogen peroxide hurt a dog?

Although peroxide is an approved emetic for canines, it can still be dangerous when consumed incorrectly or in excess. It’s important to use 3% hydrogen peroxide to avoid complications such as ulcers, loss of appetite, and damage to the stomach and intestinal lining.

In exceptionally rare cases, even if used correctly, peroxide can cause a type of brain inflammation that produces loss of motor control and even collapse. This is another reason why it’s important to stay by your pet’s side if you do administer hydrogen peroxide in any amount.

When not to make a dog throw up

There are many situations when inducing vomiting may put your dog in more danger than he was in before. For example, any dog who is already throwing up should not be administered peroxide. Some breeds, particularly brachycephalic kinds who have squished-looking faces (think pugs, French bulldogs, and the like) have a greater risk of aspiration pneumonia than other pups, so they would be safer vomiting while under veterinary care, according to the AKC.

Whether or not to induce throwing up also depends on what your dog ingested. If he swallowed some kind of chemical or medication, vomiting could cause severe harm. The same can be said for sharp or textured objects, as stomach or throat obstruction can be fatal.

Because of all the variables involved in a dire situation like this, it’s important to see why your dog’s veterinarian needs to be a part of the process. Not only are they medical professionals, but also they will probably be calm and collected in the moment, allowing them to make the most informed decision for your dog. After all, your four-legged friend deserves only the best medical care. As for you — don’t forget to breathe!

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