Inducing Vomiting in Your Dog
Let me fill you in on a little secret: Dr. Google isn’t always right!
Veterinarians often cringe when pet owners find information (or shall I say “mis-information”) on the Internet. Unless it comes from a reputable source, please be smart about what information you use when it comes to medical treatment of your dog or cat (or kid or family member!). That said, I want you to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff, so you can provide the best care for your pet.
As a toxicologist, I see a lot of accidental poisonings in dogs and cats. That’s because common household items can be really dangerous to your pets (like grapes, raisins, chocolate, human medications, pain medications, chemicals, etc.). With that, I see people trying all different methods to induce vomiting in their dog or cat. Some methods can be life threatening. Some methods can be dangerous. Some methods can make your pet worse. And some just plain don’t work. So, when it comes to trying to induce vomiting in your pet, please take heed!
If your pet got into something poisonous, you always want to call your veterinarian or an animal poison control center first. Why? Because sometimes you can cause more injury or harm if you induce vomiting when it’s not appropriate.
First, we never recommend inducing vomiting with these types of poisons:
- Corrosive chemicals (e.g., oven cleaners, drain cleaners, batteries, lime removal products, etc.) – can cause more damage to the esophagus if you induce vomiting.
- Hydrocarbons or petroleum distillates (e.g., kerosene, gasoline, motor oil, etc.). These oily substances are easily inhaled into the lungs, causing a severe aspiration pneumonia.
In dogs, we only recommend inducing vomiting at home in these situations:
- If the substance ingested was poisonous
- Recent ingestion (e.g., your dog just ate grapes less than an hour ago)
- Your dog is asymptomatic, meaning he’s not showing any signs of the poisoning at all
- Your dog is healthy and isn’t at risk for inhaling the vomit into his lungs (e.g., he doesn’t have previous medical problems like an abnormal airway [e.g., laryngeal paralysis, collapsing trachea, etc.], an abnormal esophagus [e.g., megaesophagus, etc.], or isn’t brachycephalic [e.g., he has a smooshed face and is more at risk for inhaling his vomit into his lungs. Brachycephalic breeds include the following: English bulldogs, Pekingese, Shih-Tzus, Pugs, etc.].
- For dogs, keep in mind that the only currently
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Justine has more than 18 years of experience in the veterinary industry and is a board-certified emergency critical care veterinary specialist and toxicologist as well as the CEO and founder of Vetgirl. She is also a founding member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.