Vomiting is common in dogs. Expulsion of the contents of the stomach can occur due to a variety of reasons. Given the indiscriminate eating habits and the voracious appetite of the dog, most dog owners would be exposed to the vomiting bouts of the pet. There is nothing unusual about vomiting especially after the dog has had a large meal. An owner that hears the gagging sound would immediately come to rescue - the carpet (and not the dog) as in most cases; after the pet has vomit in one area, it would turn and deposit another mound in a different area of the carpet. Cleaning the mess created by the dog is part and parcel of taking a dog for a pet. Naturally no dog owner would want to have a vomiting dog in her/his hand. However, there are cases when the owner would need to induce the dog to vomit. This commonly happens when the dog has ingested potentially hazardous objects and substances. How would you induce your dog to vomit if you have seen the pet ingesting a toxic substance?
The toxic substance or the foreign object swallowed by the pet has to be removed from its stomach but some things must be considered before inducing vomiting. You have to have an idea what was ingested, when the object or the substance was ingested as well as the amount of the substance swallowed by the pet. This can be a tall order knowing the curiosity and the exuberance of the pet. No one would expect you to watch the dog all the time and it can be difficult to ascertain what was ingested. Obviously, you would not need to induce a dog to vomit if it is already vomiting or if it is unconscious. If it has been more than an hour after the dog has ingested the substance, induction of vomiting will be futile as the substance would no longer be in the stomach but already in the intestines. A dog that has ingested a sharp object must not be induced to vomit as the dog can be further injured. A dog that has swallowed petroleum products, household cleaning products such as bleach and drain cleaners must not be induced to vomit as the substance can burn the esophagus and the mouth. An owner would naturally want to help the pet but never induce a dog to vomit unless doing so was Okayed by the vet.
So when would it be OK to induce the dog to vomit? If you are sure that the dog has not ingested caustic substances like alkalis and strong acids and if you have seen the pet eating human medication or lapping the antifreeze then you can induce vomiting. Vomiting would be easier for the dog if it has some food in the stomach. Let the pet eat a small amount of dog food or a few crackers. Hydrogen peroxide can be used to induce vomiting. The label would indicate that hydrogen peroxide is a toxic substance but it can be safely used as it will be vomited by the dog and not stay in the dog’s body. Just be sure that you are using 3% hydrogen peroxide and not the one used to color the hair. Use an oral syringe to give the dog about one teaspoon for every 10 lbs body weight. Squirt a steady stream of the liquid at the back of the dog’s tongue. The dog should vomit in 15 to 20 minutes. Another dose can be given if the first one has failed to induce vomiting. A teaspoon of salt or syrup of ipecac can be used if hydrogen peroxide is not available. Inducing the dog to vomit should only be a first aid measure. Your dog would still need to be taken to a veterinary facility.