A guide to how to make a dog throw up safely, and when to induce vomiting in dogs. If you think you need to make a dog vomit, read this first!
You may need to make your dog vomit if it eats something dangerous or toxic. However, you should never make a dog vomit if two hours have passed since he swallowed the substance, if he has a history of seizures, or if he has problems with his stomach, throat or beathing.
Making your dog vomit can make the situation worse in some cases. So, always check with your vet before taking any action.
You should also avoid using salt, ipecac syrup, dishwashing liquid or mustard powder to make your dog vomit. These substances can have serious side effects.
Let’s look in more detail at why you might need to make a dog vomit, and the best way how to make a dog throw up. As well as methods you should avoid.
Why would I need to know how to make a dog throw up?
We all know that dogs, and especially puppies, love eating things they find interesting. Sometimes they’re so quick that they grab and swallow before you can even get close.
You may need to know how to make your dog throw up if your fur baby has just eaten a human food that’s toxic to him – like chocolate, or xylitol in gum or other snacks.
You can learn more about human foods that aren’t safe for your dog to eat, in the article “What can dogs not eat – which foods are not safe to share”.
Maybe your pup got hold of a tub of your medicine, or pounced on a tablet you dropped. Or got away with some non-food toxic substance in the house. Or even a piece of clothing like a sock.
One of the most common dangers for pets is poison used for garden pests or rodents. This is something that is often easily accessible to dogs when they’re out of doors. Even swallowing a dead rat while out walking could expose your pet to rat poison.
So how do you make a dog throw up if they have eaten something that can really hurt them?
Don’t Wait Too Long
You might need to know how to induce vomiting in dogs because it needs to be done within about two hours – before the toxic substance passes through the stomach.
It’s always the safest option to take your dog to the vet right away if they’ve swallowed something dangerous. If you can’t get there fast enough it’s best to give your vet a call before you make your dog throw up.
Based on a full history including your dog’s condition, and the substance they swallowed, your vet can advise you on whether or not you need to, or should, induce vomiting.
When is it safe to make my dog vomit?
You should only induce vomiting if all of the following criteria are met:
- Your dog has just swallowed a toxic substance and is not yet showing signs of illness. Generally speaking, if your dog has swallowed something toxic within the past two hours, then the substance likely hasn’t made it past his stomach yet.
- The substance your dog swallowed is a non-corrosive. Corrosive substances can burn the throat as it comes back up. This includes a battery, bleach, or concentrated oven or toilet bowl cleaners.
- A swallowed object isn’t too big, or has sharp edges, that can damage your dog’s throat when they vomit.
- The toxic substance that your dog swallowed isn’t petroleum-based or oily which has a high risk of causing severe lung problems is accidentally inhaled.
- Your dog is alert, mentally stable and does not have a history of seizures – they must be able to swallow.
- The dog doesn’t have any existing problems associated with their stomach, throat, or breathing.
Keep in mind that even if your dog meets the above criteria there could still be a risk of complications. You should pay a visit to your vet even if you successfully made your dog throw up.
When is it not safe to make my dog vomit?
You should never induce vomiting if your dog swallowed a toxic substance and is already showing signs of illness. This suggests that the poison is already actively circulating through his system.
When your dog has already vomited, don’t try and make them vomit some more.
If it’s been several hours since your pup swallowed the toxic substance the poison has already made it out of the stomach and vomiting won’t help to get rid of it. You should get your dog to the vet.
Don’t make a dog vomit if they’ve swallowed a corrosive toxic substance or something sharp that could inflict more damage on their throat when it’s vomited back up.
You’ll also want to avoid inducing vomiting if the substance includes bones, which could get stuck on the way back up.
The biggest potential risk of making your dog throw up is if they accidentally breathe in the vomit – known as aspiration.
When is there a high risk of aspiration?
Aspiration can cause serious lung problems and, with some substances, can even be fatal.
In the following circumstances you should not induce vomiting, unless advised to do so by your vet. The reason is that the risks of complications from aspiration are greatly increased.
- Your dog is unconscious, acting lethargic or has a health condition that affects his mental health, such as seizures, hyperactivity, or depression.
- The substance that your dog swallowed was petroleum-based or oily, which could easily be inhaled if vomited back up.
- You dog has existing health problems with breathing or swallowing. Such as an enlargement or narrowing of their throat.
- You have a short-faced, or brachycephalic, dog like a Pekingese, Pug or Bulldog. They have a greater risk of aspirating because of their elongated palate and potential breathing problems.
Given all the reasons why it might not be safe, you’ll understand why it’s best to consult your vet before making your dog throw up.
You’ve discussed the situation with your vet and they’ve given the go-ahead. Now you’re wondering about how to induce vomiting in dogs. Let’s look at how to make a dog throw up.
How to make a dog throw up
You want to make your dog vomit in a way that won’t aggravate his condition while you’re trying to get rid of the offending substance from his system.
There are only two scientifically backed substances to make a dog vomit that are safe to use in the home environment. These are 3% hydrogen peroxide and washing soda crystals.
According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, 3% hydrogen peroxide administered orally via syringe (in the proper dosage, of course) can safely make a dog vomit.
In fact, vets themselves often choose this method because it’s easier to use and cheaper than apomorphine, the drug commonly used by vets to induce vomiting.
A study found 3% hydrogen peroxide and apomorphine were almost equally effective for inducing vomiting in dogs. The possible adverse effects were also similar and mostly mild.
At this point a note of caution – peroxide is not recommended to make cats throw up.
Washing Soda Crystals
A second household product that can be used to make your dog throw up is a washing soda crystal (sodium carbonate), which must not be confused with caustic soda!
In one study found that washing soda was less effective in inducing vomiting that apomorphine. However, the authors concluded that it’s a good alternative in an emergency situation because it’s easily accessible and cheap.
For instructions on how to make your dog throw up using a washing soda crystal, refer to the instructions posted by the London Vet Clinic here.
What not to use to make a dog a dog throw up
If you do a search for “how to make a dog vomit” on the internet, you’ll be presented with various methods that dog owners have used to make their pet get sick after they ate something bad. But not all of these are safe.
So what should you avoid when you’re learning how to make a dog throw up?
Vets warn against using salt, ipecac syrup, dishwashing liquid or mustard powder. These remedies are either ineffective or can cause serious side effects.
Now let’s look at how to make a dog throw up using hydrogen peroxide.
How to induce vomiting in dogs with hydrogen peroxide
Firstly, vets recommend that if your dog hasn’t eaten in the last two hours you feed a small bland meal before giving the hydrogen peroxide.This gives the dog something to actually throw up and it’s also something that the toxic substance can stick to.
Use a fresh, unopened, bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Previously opened peroxide can go flat and be ineffective.
It’s important that you only use 3% hydrogen peroxide. Hair dye peroxide, could be even more toxic than the substance that your dog has swallowed!
You’ll also need a clean syringe to administer the peroxide. Or you can use a turkey baster if you have a very big dog.
The recommended dosage is 1 teaspoon of 3% peroxide for every 5 pounds of your dog’s weight, with a maximum of 3 tablespoons if your dog weighs more than 45 pounds.
Follow your vet’s instructions if they recommend a different dosage.
When your dog is relaxed, gently pull his lip away from the side of his mouth, and squirt the dosage between the back teeth. Don’t be tempted to shoot the syringe straight to the back of the throat, as your dog may accidentally breathe in some of the peroxide.
An alternative suggestion made by the Pet Poison Helpline is to pour the first dose onto a slice of white bread – if your dog is one of those likely to grab any snack.
What happens after administering the peroxide?
Once you’ve given the hydrogen peroxide your dog should vomit within 10 to 15 minutes.
Peroxide induces vomiting by the fizzing in the stomach and walking your dog around after giving it could help to get the foaming going.
You can give a second dose if your pup hasn’t vomited within about 15 minutes after the first dose. However, if this still doesn’t work, you’ll have to get to your vet so they can induce vomiting using a different method.
Stay with your dog to make sure that he doesn’t eat his vomit and to watch for any possible side effects. This could include continuous vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy or bloat. Also keep a sample of the vomit for your vet to analyze.
Even when you’ve successfully induced vomiting, there could be reactions from either the toxic substance or the hydrogen peroxide. So you should still take your pup to the vet for a check-up as soon as possible.
How to make a dog vomit – Summary
Making your dog vomit may sound unpleasant, but in an emergency, it may be the best option for quickly expelling a harmful substance from your dog’s belly.
You should always contact your veterinarian to discuss the situation prior to making your dog vomit at home. This is because there are many reasons why making your dog throw up could make the situation much worse.
If your vet is closed, you can contact an animal hospital or the Pet Poison Helpline.
We’ve described how to induce vomiting in dogs using 3% hydrogen peroxide or washing soda crystals. These are the only recommended safe methods and when properly administered this should make your dog vomit within a few minutes.
With is many uses, it’s a good idea do keep a bottle of peroxide in your pet first aid kit.
Even if your pup has thrown up, it’s best to take him to the vet as soon as possible to ensure that the toxic substance has cleared his system.
Have you ever had to make your dog vomit?
Have you had a scary experience with your dog eating something he shouldn’t have? Feel free to share in the comment section below.
This article has been extensively revised and updated for 2019.
- Burke, A. 2019. How to make a dog throw up. American Kennel Club.
- Dowling, P.M. Drugs to control or stimulate vomiting (monogastric). Merck Veterinary Manual.
- Garcia, J.L. 2012. Journal Scan: Apomorphine and 3% hydrogen peroxide—is one agent better for inducing emesis in dogs? DVM360.
- London Vet Clinic. How to make a dog vomit. London Vet Clinic.
- Mars, M. 2015. How to make a dog vomit in an emergency. Charleston Veterinary Referral Center.
- Marshall, J. What I know about vomiting. Pet Poison Helpline.
- Yam, E., et al. 2016. Comparison of the use of sodium carbonate (washing soda crystals) and apomorphine for inducing emesis in dogs. Australian Veterinary Journal.