It's common for dogs to accidentally consume substances that could cause them serious harm. As well as poisons and chemicals which would make a human seriously ill, there are some seemingly harmless foods that could threaten a dog's life if they eat enough of it. If a dog swallows something likely to make it seriously ill, you may need to take steps to make it throw up. However, some methods could cause even more harm to the dog or simply be ineffective. Always consult a veterinarian before making a dog throw up.
Some common vegetables are highly toxic for dogs. Corn can cause intestinal obstructions, which can prove fatal. Any member of the onion family and avocados can irritate a dog's gastrointestinal tract, leading to vomiting and diarrhea. Grapes and raisins contain an unknown toxin which causes liver and kidney failure in dogs. Macadamia nuts, chocolate, alcohol, and an artificial sweetener called xylitol are also highly dangerous for dogs. If a dog consumes any of these foods even in very small amounts, they should see a veterinarian as soon as possible, even if they appear well. Some effects may not become apparent until several days following consumption.
Any medication intended for human use could cause serious harm to a dog, even if they only swallow a small amount. A dog could also be poisoned if they accidentally ingest more of their own medication than the prescribed dose. Chemicals such as bleach or other cleaning fluids or objects containing corrosive chemicals like batteries can also cause life-threatening illness.
Vomiting should only be induced in a dog who has consumed something poisonous in the last hour. The dog should also be showing no symptoms of poisoning. If they are symptomatic, they require urgent veterinary treatment. It's only safe to make a dog throw up if they are otherwise healthy. If the dog has any abnormality involving the airway, this places them at a higher risk of inhaling their own vomit.
The only safe way to make a dog throw up at home is to use a solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Make sure the hydrogen peroxide isn't out of date. For every pound of body weight, administer 0.5-1 ml hydrogen peroxide solution. The dog should throw up in around 20 minutes. It's important to weigh the dog beforehand to be certain that the dose is correct. Giving too much hydrogen peroxide could cause the dog to vomit uncontrollably.
Inserting a finger or other object down the dog's throat to make them vomit is traumatic to the animal, unlikely to be effective and could cause injury. It may also cause the dog to bite. Giving large amounts of salt to a dog to make it vomit can cause dangerously raised sodium levels. Although syrup of ipecac is sometimes used, it can cause very serious side effects and should never be administered at home. Mustard is also not recommended as a method for inducing vomiting in dogs.
Vomiting should never be induced at home if the dog is a brachycephalic breed. This means that the dog has a squashed snout. Brachycephalic breeds include pugs, British or French bulldogs, and Shih-Tzus. When brachycephalic dogs vomit, they are more likely to inhale it than breeds with longer snouts. This can lead to pneumonia.
You should never make a dog throw up if they have consumed a corrosive substance such as oven cleaner or swallowed batteries. This is because corrosive chemicals and battery acid could cause further damage to the esophagus on the way back up. Hydrocarbons or petroleum products such as motor oil or gasoline are highly likely to be inhaled if the dog vomits, so vomiting shouldn't be induced at homeas it could cause pneumonia.
Some symptoms indicate that it's too late to induce vomiting, and the dog needs urgent help. If the dog has already started to vomit, has trouble breathing, is unresponsive or finding it difficult to swallow, the poisonous substance has already taken effect. Seizures are also a sign that the poison has already caused some damage.
Whether vomiting has been induced or a dog has thrown up of its own accord after eating something it shouldn't, it's important to inspect the vomit to decide if a trip to the vet's office is warranted. White, foamy vomit is a sign that the dog has eaten something poisonous. Yellow vomit indicates that the vomit contains bile. If the vomit contains blood, this means that the dog may have a serious condition requiring urgent treatment. Their vomit may contain fresh, red blood or look like coffee grounds if the blood has been partially digested.
If a dog swallows an object, it's important to contact a vet before inducing vomiting. Some small, soft objects such as toy squeakers or socks can be safely removed by making the dog throw up. However, larger objects may need to be removed using an endoscope. If the object was sharp, such as a splintered bone, never make the dog throw up. The sharp object could cause damage to the esophagus. A vet may recommend allowing the object to break down naturally in the dog's stomach or advise surgical removal, depending on its size and material.
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