Can You Give a Dog Too Much Hydrogen Peroxide?
As the saying goes, "too much of a good thing can do more harm than good."
When your dog ingests something dangerous, you may decide to try hydrogen peroxide as a treatment to induce vomiting. If you are wondering whether it's possible to give too much hydrogen peroxide, the answer is both yes and no. The truth is that there are several variables that determine a safe dose of hydrogen peroxide. If you think you administered too much, please contact your vet. This article is not to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, especially when timing is of the essence.
Here we will discuss:
- Caution about hydrogen peroxide use.
- What it is and how it works.
- What to do it you give too much.
It is essential that you consult a veterinarian before giving your dog hydrogen peroxide. There are many cases when hydrogen peroxide can cause more damage and even be fatal.
Dogs that have already vomited, have trouble breathing, are unconscious, or are having seizures should NOT be induced to vomit. If you are unsure, play it safe and ask your vet or contact the ASPCA poison control number at 888-426-4435 (a $65 consultation fee applies). They should give you directions.
What Hydrogen Peroxide Is
Hydrogen peroxide, as the name implies is simply a liquid composed of hydrogen and oxygen (H²O²). It comes in different concentrations, some of which can be potentially toxic to dogs.
The correct percentage to induce vomiting in dogs is the 3%. This means it contains 97% water and 3% hydrogen peroxide. Most household peroxide sold at stores in the brown bottle is 3%, but it doesn't hurt to double check!
* Note: Until recently hydrogen peroxide was thought to be an effective treatment for wounds. However, research has shown that this can damage cells that are needed for healing. So if you keep hydrogen peroxide in your pet first aid kit, it should be only there to induce vomiting.
You may be alarmed to read on the label that hydrogen peroxide is toxic. Before second-guessing your vet's recommendation to it on your dog, understand that veterinarians report that it is safe to use for this purpose. According to veterinarian Dawn Ruben, the fact that the internally administered hydrogen peroxide is vomited up and does not remain in the body, it is safe to use.
How Does It Work?
Hydrogen peroxide is an irritant to the dog's intestinal tract. Basically, once it is swallowed, it generates oxygen bubbles in the stomach. When there are enough bubbles, they stretch the dog's stomach and trigger vomiting. Usually, after vomiting, the dog's stomach settles. However, if your vet advised you to make your dog vomit, consult them again for a follow-up on how to proceed from there. Some dogs require further treatment.
The correct dosage to induce vomiting in dogs is one teaspoon (5 ml) per 10 pounds of body weight, according to the pet health site Pet Place. Afterward, you would wait about 15 to 20 minutes to see if the dog vomits. Walking your dog and gently shaking his stomach may help the peroxide mix with the stomach contents so those bubbles start working their magic.
In a normal scenario, a dog that has ingested hydrogen peroxide begins to drool, gets queasy, and then vomits, expelling the harmful substance/object (be fast to remove it as some dogs will eat it again!). They should recover nicely after this.
Should no vomiting occur within about 15 to 20 minutes, you can safely repeat the dosage but only one more time, according to veterinarian Dawn Ruben. If the second dosage doesn't work within 15 minutes, it's time to contact your vet.
If You Give Too Much, Contact Your Vet
It took me almost half a day's worth of research to find out what happens to a dog that ingests too much hydrogen peroxide. The best advice I found is to consult with your vet, for several reasons. Following are some:
- If your dog ingested a toxin and hasn't vomited, your dog needs a stronger vomiting medication, which only your vet carries. With this medication, your dog should be able to get rid of the actual toxin and the hydrogen peroxide on top of that. Remember: Timing is of the essence. You have only two hours to empty the contents of the stomach.
- If your dog ingested a higher dosage than the recommended amount and doesn't vomit, there are some risks of side effects. Veterinarians report that peroxide can cause stomach ulcers. To monitor for ulcers, watch for black stools, vomiting, and lethargy. More serious side effects include hemorrhagic gastritis (bleeding inflammation of the stomach) and renal disease.
Veterinarian Discusses How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide
© 2013 Adrienne Janet Farricelli
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