Induce Vomiting Only When
It's Necessary, And Safe

You just saw your dog swallow something that could make her sick.

Do you induce vomiting right away?


The first action you should take is to call your vet or emergency vet clinic for advice.


Vomiting will not help in some situations. In others, vomiting could harm her even more. What follows is a list of times when you should not induce vomiting in your dog.

  • She has already started vomiting.

  • She has lost consciousness, she has trouble breathing, or she has become too weak to stand.

  • She has swallowed bleach, drain cleaner or a petroleum distillate product. These products will burn the esophagus and mouth parts again on the way up. (See Household Poisons to learn how to protect her from these caustic substances.)

  • She swallowed the material more than two hours ago. Don't induce vomiting in this case because the substance has likely passed into the small intestine, at which point your dog can't vomit it back up.

It's okay to induce vomiting in these two situations:

1) your vet has advised you to do it during your phone call;

2) your dog has ingested antifreeze (ethylene glycol) no more than two hours ago.

How To Induce Vomiting

Now that we know the When, let's work on the How of inducing vomiting in dogs who have swallowed something dangerous.

You want to make it as easy as possible for your dog to vomit. Some food in her stomach will make it easier for her. Feed her a slice of bread or a few crackers. Or try a tablespoon or two of dog food if you don't feed her "human" food.

Follow these steps.

  1. Into a small bowl, glass or mug, pour some three percent hydrogen peroxide from the bottle in your first aid kit (see Dog First Aid Supplies for more information on creating a dog first aid kit) or from the bathroom.

  2. Using the 10 cc syringe from the kit, draw up about 3 cc's for every 20 pounds (approximately 9 kg) of your dog's weight.

  3. Open her mouth slightly and insert the end of the syringe. Squirt a steady stream of the hydrogen peroxide toward the back of her mouth, which will force her to swallow it.

  4. Wait ten minutes. If she hasn't yet started to vomit, repeat steps 2 and 3.

  5. Call your vet immediately if she doesn't vomit after the second dose.

You can also do this by using syrup of ipecac instead of hydrogen peroxide.

Follow the directions closely. Do not give more than is recommended for your dog, and do not give it twice.

Your dog may start vomiting and not be able to stop after you give her ipecac syrup, so be prepared to take her to the clinic for follow-up care.

There are times when you should do this and times when you shouldn't.

Become familiar with the reasons for each, and you'll be helping your dog get better, faster.

Read about the signs of vomiting so you can describe your dog's symptoms accurately to your veterinarian.

Learn more about causes of vomiting that can debilitate your dog.

If she's already vomiting, you'll need to provide effective steps to help her.

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