Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant, and author of Brain Training for Dogs.
How to Prevent or Delay Toxin Absorption
A time may come when you find out too late that your puppy or dog has ingested something potentially harmful or even poisonous, requiring treatment at once. There are a few things that can be done at home to prevent absorption right before heading to the emergency vet.
A common method that many vets recommend is to induce vomiting prior to having the pet seen by the vet. Induction of vomiting may help the dog remove the potentially harmful object or toxin they ingested—or, at least, may limit its absorption.
- In order to be effective, the induction of vomit must take place at least WITHIN 2 HOURS from when the suspected harmful toxin has been ingested.
- If more than 2 hours have passed, the toxin or object has already left the stomach and is already being absorbed or forwarded to the intestinal tract.
- It is very important to realize that the induction of vomit may be harmful or even fatal when some particular toxins are ingested.
When NOT to Induce Vomiting in Dogs
First, and foremost, you need to learn when you shouldn't induce vomiting as this can do more harm than good. Do NOT induce vomiting when your dog has ingested the following items listed below. The problem with these items is that if they are brought back up, they may cause significantly more damage than if they remain in the stomach.
Therefore, avoid inducing vomiting if your dog ingested any of the below items:
- An acid-based chemical
- An alkali-based chemical
- A caustic, like bleach or drain cleaner
- A household cleaning solution
- A household chemical
- A petroleum product such as gasoline, turpentine, kerosene
- A sharp object
- A product whose bottle clearly states "Do not induce vomiting"
These are toxins that may burn the esophagus on the way up, or they are objects that may injure tissues severely when brought up.
Also, do not induce vomiting when:
- Your dog has vomited already.
- Your dog is unconscious.
- Your dog has labored breathing.
- Your dog is exhibiting nervous system disorders and seizures.
Should your dog exhibit any of the above, do not induce vomiting but rather rush him/her to the emergency vet. If you are unsure if your dog should be induced to vomit, don't take the risk: Call your vet or the ASPCA poison control number at 888-426-4435 (a $65 consultation fee applies).
Examples of When Inducing Vomiting Is Helpful
- Your dog ingested rodenticide poison. Immediate induction of vomiting is important upon witnessing such consumption. Your dog will still need immediate veterinary treatment since these poisons cause blood clotting disorders. Bring along the rodenticide product. For more on this, read: Dog Ate Rat Poison.
- Your dog ingested chocolate. The worst chocolate is baker's chocolate, followed by milk chocolate. As little as 4 ounces of baker's chocolate can prove fatal to a 5–10-pound dog. Call your vet after inducing vomiting, and provide them with information about your dog's weight, the type of chocolate and the quantity ingested for follow-up instructions.
- Your dog ingested antifreeze. Antifreeze is often ingested because it has an attractive sweet taste, and drops may be easily found under the car. Inducing vomiting followed by charcoal administration in this case will delay and reduce absorption. However, a vet must be still seen at once to prevent kidney failure.
- Your dog ate some of your prescription pills. People's medicines can be very toxic to pets. Even common over-the-counter painkillers like Tylenol or Advil can prove fatal in dogs. If your dog has ingested pills, induce vomiting as described below. Make sure the dog brings up the pills, then follow up with the vet to seek further treatment such as administering fluids or antidotes.
Remember: Always consult with your vet before inducing vomiting. Have your dog's weight available and the product label of the product ingested.
How to Induce Vomiting in Dogs
You will need:
- Hydrogen Peroxide 3%—do not use any other type!
- 1 teaspoon
- A watch
- Paper towels
- Strictly only use hydrogen peroxide 3%. You will need to administer one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide (5 ml) per 10 pounds of body weight.
- You may administer this dose a maximum of two times. Therefore, administer the hydrogen peroxide dosage once and then wait 15–20 minutes. Walking your dog around may help to expedite the process.
- If the dog does not vomit, repeat the dose. If he or she still does not vomit after another 10 minutes, bring your pet and the chemical bottle or other toxin to the vet at once as the vet may have more effective products to induce vomiting.
Note: The bottle of hydrogen peroxide may say "toxic to pets." This simply means that it makes them vomit. If you follow the instructions and dosages carefully, your dog will vomit and there will be no long-lasting effects from ingesting the hydrogen peroxide.
How to Prevent/Delay Poison Absorption After Having Induced Vomiting
You can purchase some activated charcoal and administer it after the dog vomits up the toxin. The dosage of compressed activated charcoal is one 5 gram tablet per 10 pounds of weight, according to the Dog Owner's Veterinary Handbook. Simply burning some toast in the toaster until black and giving burnt toast to the dog is not as effective.
Always contact your vet or have your dog immediately seen by your vet regardless of the fact that he/she has vomited or not. Many toxins need to be further flushed out of the system, and the dog may need emergency supportive care before complications such as seizures may arise.
Keep the Poison Control Number on Hand
Always keep the poison control numbers handy:
- The ASPCA'S Poison Control center's phone number is 888-426-4435.
- You can also try Angell Animal poison control hotline at 877-226-4355.
- PROSAR international animal poison control's number is 888-232-8870.
Please keep in mind that there is usually a credit card charge around $50 to $60 for the consultation.
REFERENCE: Dog owner's home veterinary handbook Debra Eldredge DVM, Liisa Carlson DVM, Delbert G. Carlson D.V.M and James M. Giffin M.D Wiley Publishing, INC
For Further Reading
- Can You Give a Dog Too Much Hydrogen Peroxide?
Dog owners are often told to give hydrogen peroxide to their dogs when they ingest something potentially harmful , but how much is too much? Can you give too much?
- Dog Health: Dog Ate Rat Poison, What to Do?
What to do if your dog ate rat poison? Learn why you should not wait to seek veterinarian care and how rat poison affects your dog.
- What to do if dog ate chocolate
Everybody loves chocolate and so it comes as no surprise when Lassie goes for a chocolate fix. If your dog ate your last batch of brownies or stole your unattended bag of Oreo cookies, you have reason to be concerned, as chocolate can be harmful to..
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Tori on March 28, 2020:
So thankful for this information! Our senior boy ate a popsicle the kids left on the floor, STICK AND ALL. We tried this before taking him to the vet, it worked and the vet said no damage to his stomach or esophagus. PHEW.
Lessie on August 27, 2018:
My Aussie doodle pup swallowed 2. Grapes. Just be safe used this method and worked awesome she threw up within 5. Min
Paulart from 2510 Warren Avenue Cheyenne,Wyoming 82001 on February 07, 2012:
Great stuff.I am glad to read this hub information.
CookiesNoCrumbs from New Jersey on January 31, 2012:
Alexadry Great Info!
Danni on November 24, 2011:
Thank you for this excellent guideline that was easy to follow, even when Mr I-Just-Swallowed-A-Tablet's owner was in a bit of a panic. The tablet reappeared within about a minute of administering the HP and the burnt toast (carbon alternative) worked a treat too. The Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook is on my shopping list!