Question: Should I induce vomiting after my dog ingests a toxin?
Answer: Sometimes, but not always.
If you believe that your dog has ingested a dangerous substance, it is essential to act right away. However, you should never induce vomiting without first speaking with a veterinary professional. Begin by calling a veterinarian's office or an animal poison control hotline. You should have the package and a sample of the toxin with you during the phone call, if available. The quicker you can explain what your pet ate, the faster therapy can begin.
After reaching a veterinary professional, he or she will advise you of the next steps. If the recommendation is to induce vomiting, you will most likely to be instructed to orally administer a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. It is a good idea to keep a fresh (ideally unopened) bottle of hydrogen peroxide in your home at all times. Syringes may also be very useful for administering the solution by mouth. The recommended dosage may vary depending on the type of dog you have, your dog's size, and the present situation. Be sure to follow your vet's instructions for the amount and frequency of hydrogen peroxide doses. In some cases, you will be advised to follow up with your primary veterinarian in a day or two. However, in most cases you will be told to go to your veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian right away.
If you cannot reach your veterinarian on the phone, or if your dog is already showing signs of toxicity, you should go to the nearest veterinarian right away. Many toxins are absorbed rapidly and require medical treatment, not simply induction of vomiting. If you are not sure, play it safe and get to the vet.
ALERT NOTE: Inducing vomiting is not always the correct method after ingestion of a dangerous substance. In some cases, vomiting can cause very severe consequences, such as irreversible damage to the esophagus as the toxin passes through a second time. DO NOT attempt to induce vomiting before calling for assistance. Always follow the instructions given to you by a veterinary professional.
Important Contact Information in Case of Poisoning
In case of toxin exposure, keep a list of important phone numbers in a visible, easily accessible location. Be sure pet sitters and other people who might be in your home are aware of the location of the list. The following phone numbers should be included:
- Your primary veterinarian
- One or more nearby 24-hour veterinary emergency clinics
- ASPCA Poison Control: (888) 426-4435 (generally a $50 fee, free to Home Again subscribers)
- Animal Poison Hotline: 888-232-8870 (generally a $35 fee)
- Pet Poison Hotline: 800-213-6680 (generally a $35 fee)
- An emergency contact number for you and your dog's co-owner (if applicable).