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How to make a dog vomit in an emergency

Some dog breeds (particularly labradors) always seem to be hungry and on the prowl for food. They'll seemingly eat almost anything, including foodstuffs that can be dangerous, says Tony Buckwell

chocolate biscuit cake

Chocolate cakes like this look delicious but could poison your dog

Knowing how to make a dog vomit is a first aid skill that every dog owner should know. Some dogs can be total scavengers (particularly labradors and spaniels), particularly if they are on a restricted diet for health reasons.

chocolate Labrador

It seems that labradors will eat just about anything – which could be dangerous

In fact labradors seem to be permanently hungry and will eat just about anything – so this article is essential reading if you own one.

Q: I am the owner of a labrador who will have his nose in a bin or rubbish at any opportunity. He is a great food thief too and has eaten a box of chocolates before now. I have been warned that I should know how to make a dog vomit, so that I can make him throw up anything he has eaten that might be poisonous to him. Could you offer me some advice on how to do this? 


Chocolate is very poisonous to dogs

A: First try to find out what has poisoned your dog and then 
I would recommend you call a vet and ask for advice.

If a dog consumes 
a poison that can cause it difficulty breathing, convulsions, seizures or make it depressed, lethargic or drowsy or likely to go into shock, it should not be made to vomit. If your dog has ingested some caustic substance, never attempt to make it vomit because these chemicals cause as much damage on the way back up as on the way down. Caustic substances are found in 
a variety of household products, petroleum and by-products; materials such as dish washer detergents, battery acid, drain cleaners and some soaps.

make a dog vomit

Some dogs will eat almost anything and a number of household products could poison them

(Read common garden plants that are poisonous to dogs and what to do if your dog eats one.)

How to make a dog vomit

If the dog doesn’t display any of those signs and hasn’t eaten anything caustic, you can make it vomit by administering a teaspoonful of three per cent food-grade hydrogen peroxide per 10lb bodyweight. Put this at the back of the dog’s tongue. It is often easier if the dog has fed first as this will “bulk up” the stomach contents and give it something substantial to bring up. It should vomit within 10 to 30minutes and if not, the treatment can be repeated.

cooking salt

A teaspoonful of salt on the back of the dog’s tongue should also make it vomit

A teaspoonful of baking soda in half a cup of water, or a teaspoonful of mustard in a cup of water, can be used in the same manner. Placing a teaspoonful of salt on the back of the dog’s tongue should also make it vomit.



What about dogs and fungi?

Many dogs permanently have their noses to the ground when outside and will hoover up just about anything edible. So if they come across a toadstool could they have an adverse reaction? (Read our advice on the best slip leads, so you can keep your dog away from anything potentially dangerous outside.)

Read also poisoned dogs – the symptoms and the dangers to look out for.

Some toadstools, such as the red Amanita muscaria shown above, can produce toxic effects although it is not as dangerous as some think. However the Death Cap, (Amanita phalloides), which is pale yellowish to olive in colour and about 5-15cm across, can be quite deadly. Broadly symptoms of poisoning by Death Cap are as follows:

  1. Extreme gastrointestinal signs, consistent with over indulgence; vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.
  2. These may be joined by the nervous signs of staggering, confusion and coma.
  3. Following on there is salivation, liver damage, tachycardia, blindness and on and on.

If you think fungi has been ingested, rapidly seek veterinary help for inducing vomiting. Fluid support, activated charcoal and symptomatic treatment can be life-saving.

If you’re having trouble getting your dog to swallow tablets or medicine, investigate these useful pill pockets for dogs we’ve come across, which may well solve the problem.

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