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Can You Give a Dog Too Much Hydrogen Peroxide?

Updated on January 22, 2016
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Adrienne Farricelli is a former veterinary hospital assistant and now a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant and author of dog books.

Find out how to safely administer hydrogen peroxide to a dog that needs to vomit.
Find out how to safely administer hydrogen peroxide to a dog that needs to vomit.

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.

Caution

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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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    • Amanda 5 months ago

      Hi I have a 5lb chihuahua and we think she grabbed out boxers meds for seizures so we looked up how to make a dog vomit. As of right now we have given her 2.5ml of peroxide 3 times. So we gave her a dose every 15min. My question is the peroxide is a lil old and not that fizzy so could I give her one more dose because she still hasn't thrown up yet? Thanks

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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 9 months ago from USA

      Hopefully your dog will vomit it up, if not see your vet. I don't think a dog would necessarily die from it, but get stomach problems or probably ulcers. Please see your vet.

    • dana 9 months ago

      well I didn't know how much to give him and I made him chug a half of bottle of hydrogen peroxide so if he doesn't die i think its safe to say you cant over dose on the stuff =( fuk i hope he doesn't die

    • alexadry profile image
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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 2 years ago from USA

      Hello, The answer to this is in my article under "But what happens if you gave more than two dosages or gave more than one teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight and your dog hasn't vomited? " See what the vets say about this and if in doubt, seek vet help.

    • jennifer 2 years ago

      So I think my dog got into something while we were gone tonight, she's been drinking lots of water and occasionally making a coughing hacking almost throw up sound. We gave her a few treats then tried a tiny capsule of peroxide, but she has not thrown up, she acted like she was going to but didn't.

      I don't want to give her more in case she didn't actually in jest something , is it ok to leave that tiny bit of peroxide in her without having her ever throw it up, she's about a 15 lb poodle mix.

      We did this before when she got into a box of ex lax and it worked wonders thankfully .

    • Brian 2 years ago

      Thank you so much. you may have very well saved my dogs life today.

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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 3 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the votes up Monis Mas, we always keep 3% hydrogen peroxide in our pets' first aid kit in case our vet or the ASPCA poison control would advise to induce vomiting.

    • Monis Mas profile image

      Aga 3 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your knowledge, alexadry. Voted up, awesome and useful.

    • alexadry profile image
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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 3 years ago from USA

      Hello Gypsy Willow, something worth keeping in mind should an emergency ever arise and the vet recommends it.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 3 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Completely new to me. Thanks for the interesting update!

    • alexadry profile image
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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 3 years ago from USA

      Monis Mas, when directed by a vet and given correctly, it can save a dog's life. When I worked for the vet, we used to recommend it often. However, some clients didn't feel comfortable so they went to the vet for their dose of apomorphine.

    • Monis Mas profile image

      Aga 3 years ago

      Interesting. I never heard of giving a dog hydrogen peroxide. I would be afraid to.

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