When & How to Induce Vomiting in your Dog

There’s nothing worse for a dog parent than thinking your dog is in danger, like when you suspect that they swallowed poison. Obviously, you should seek emergency veterinary care, but is there anything you can do more immediately? Yes there is! I’ve had the unfortunate experience of going through a poisoning with my dog and found an unlikely ally in regular, old, household use hydrogen peroxide.

sick dog

How my dog got poisoned

Last week I had to take my dogs to work with me. Scooter, Rosebud and Lola were just hanging out. Sugar, on the other hand, was busy sniffing every inch of the place. Then I heard the dreaded, “Oh no! Sugar! No!”

My husband’s secretary had left her purse down on the floor under her desk. Sugar had found it and pulled out her cigarettes and ate them! (another reason you shouldn’t smoke!) Cigarettes are definitely toxic to dogs, but there was no need to panic; Sugar had just swallowed them so there was time to do something.

I ran down to the closest place I could find hydrogen peroxide.  It took me no more than 5 minutes, so I knew I was okay on time.  As soon as I got back in the car, I made Sugar drink some of the hydrogen peroxide (see below for instructions on the exact procedure) and I had her on a big blanket in case she decided to throw up before we got back to the office.

K9 Pawtography

She rode fine in the car and was acting normal. When we reached the office I put her on a leash and walked her around the grassy area for a few more minutes until she finally threw up all the cigarettes she had just ingested. Phew!! What a relief. We dodged the bullet this time. She was fine the rest of the day and we were all so relieved that nothing bad happened from her indiscretion. She expelled all the cigarettes and I did not have to take her to the vet (I called to make sure).

When it is OK to induce vomiting in your dog

In this instance it was okay to induce vomiting since we knew what she ate and when she ate it.  The vet would have done the same at his office. But not all situations are that easy to fix.

Other circumstances when you should absolutely induce vomiting include:

  • When your pet has consumed antifreeze within the last two hours.
  • When you’ve called your veterinarian, discussed the specific circumstances around your pet’s swallowing a potential toxin, and your vet instructs you to induce vomiting.


When it’s NOT OK to induce vomiting in your dog

Circumstances in which you should not induce vomiting in your dog include:

  • When he or she is already throwing up.  Inducing vomiting in a dog who is already vomiting may cause a worse vomition response.
  • If your dog has lost consciousness, or is very week or having trouble standing, then inducing vomiting may cause aspiration pneumonia, which can result from an animal inhaling vomit into his or her lungs.
  • If your dog has swallowed bleach, a drain cleaner, or petroleum distillate.  These chemicals are known to cause burning when swallowed, and if you induce vomiting, they would cause secondary burns on the way back up as well.  Never induce vomiting if your dog has swallowed a caustic substance.
  • If more than two hours has passed since your dog ingested a potential toxin, vomiting will not clear the stomach of the toxin, since it likely has entered your pup’s small intestine.  In this case, contact your veterinarian right away.

How to induce vomiting in your dog

Dilute 1 teaspoon of some 3% hydrogen peroxide at the rate of 1 teaspoon per 10 lb. of body weight but never more than 45 ml at any one time even if the dog is more than 45 lbs.  For more information, click here.

Be ready for a dog emergency

My dog poison incident served as a reminder to be ready for a dog emergency:

  • Always put things up and away from the dogs’ reach
  • Hydrogen peroxide is a good staple to keep in your first aid kit
  • Know the phone numbers of your veterinarian and the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435), or the Pet Poison Helpline (855-213-6680)

So remember to always put things away and out of reach of your pets.  Install child safety locks on cabinets, drawers, refrigerators or freezer doors, and get trashcans with lids or keep them where the dogs can’t get to them. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  And if all your precautions fail, keep some 3% hydrogen peroxide on hand, a list of important phone numbers, and always call your vet if a dog emergency does occur.

happy boston terrier dog

Stay safe pups!

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