So your dog ate chocolate, a shiny candy wrapper, a dirty old sock, or a bunch of raisins.

What now?

If you quickly Googled, “How to make a dog throw up” and ended up here, you are on the right track. If you just prefer to be over-prepared and are joining us while your pup sleeps calmly on the couch nearby, welcome.

Without further ado, let’s dive into what you need to do if you think that your beloved pet needs to throw up.

When Not to Make a Dog Throw Up

Below is a list of cases in which you should not force emesis, or vomiting, for your dog:

  • If your dog has already vomited.
  • If your dog has swallowed one of the following: batteries, a sharp object, or a corrosive liquid such as bleach or most household cleaning agents.

Sharp or corrosive objects can cause lethal damage on their way back up the dog’s throat. According to Fi Veterinary Consultant Dr. Jeff Werber, specific examples of these objects include glass or chicken bones.

  • If your dog is brachycephalic, or short-nosed, such as a pug, Boston terrier, or French bulldog.

Because of their short snouts, these breeds are at a greater risk of aspiration pneumonia, which defines as “when food, saliva, liquids, or vomit is breathed into the lungs or airways leading to the lungs, instead of being swallowed into the esophagus and stomach.” Call your vet or APCC to confirm the best approach if you own this type of dog.

  • If your dog is unresponsive, disoriented, lethargic, or having seizures.
  • If your dog ingested the object over three hours ago.

Per the ASPCA Poison Control Center's Decontamination Information, “Emesis is most productive if performed within 2-3 hours post-ingestion.” If your pet consumed the concerning object or substance over two hours ago, take it to the vet or urgent care immediately if at all possible. Call your veterinarian or the hotline for advice if in-person attention is not accessible.

Before Taking Action, Consult With a Medical Professional

Ideally, you would bring your dog to the vet as soon as it needs urgent medical attention. Unfortunately, there are times when that is simply not an option.

So, do the next best thing: Call your vet.

If your vet is not available, dial the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at 888-426-4435. APCC is available 24/7/365 for any animal poison-related emergency.

Before taking any action, it is always best to consult with a professional. They can advise you whether this is solvable at home and which specific approach to take or let you know if you should rush your pet to urgent care.

“Ingredients” for Inducing Vomiting in a Dog

  • Small, moist meal if your dog has not eaten in over two hours
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide -- do NOT use a higher concentration than 3%, as this is toxic
  • Hand feeding syringe or turkey baster

Step-by-Step Instructions: How to Make a Dog Throw Up

So, your dog is not a brachycephalic. It has not consumed batteries or bleach. You’ve called and spoken to a professional medical provider. They’ve told you to “initiate emesis,” or in less nerdy terms, confirmed that it is time to make your dog throw up.

No matter how they worded it -- you’ve got the green light to preserve your pup’s safety by inducing vomiting.

Where to go from here?

  • Extra initial step if your dog hasn’t eaten in 2+ hours: Feed your pet a small, moist meal.

If your dog has not eaten in over two hours, feed it a small moist meal to make sure it has something to throw up or for the toxic substance to stick to.

  • Step 1: Prepare the proper dosage of 3% hydrogen peroxide in your hand feeding syringe or turkey baster.

According to APCC’s Decontamination Information, “[t]he dosage is 1 teaspoon [per] 5 lbs body weight, not to exceed 3 tablespoons.”

  • Step 2: Making sure that your pet is calm, gently pull back its lip and squirt the 3% hydrogen peroxide between its back teeth.

Do not shoot the liquid directly into the dog’s throat as this can cause aspiration. If 15 minutes passes and nothing has happened yet, squirt your pet with a follow-up dose of the 3% hydrogen peroxide. It should make your dog throw up by fizzling in its stomach.

  • Step 3: Stay by your pup to make sure it does not eat the vomit. Scoop the throw-up into a container to bring to your vet for analysis.

Complications to Look Out for After You’ve Induced Vomiting in a Dog

Although you have now completed the heroic act of forcing emesis, an important task remains: Watch for complications.

The main consequence to look out for is the aforementioned aspiration pneumonia. According to a vet-written and vet-reviewed piece in PetMD, “Symptoms of aspiration pneumonia include breathing difficulties, swallowing difficulties, coughing, fever, discharge from the nasal passages, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, a bluish tinge to the skin (cyanosis), and a possible intolerance to exercise due to weakness.” Seek emergency attention if your pet shows these signs.

Other signs that something has gone wrong are vomiting for over 45 minutes, extreme fatigue, and prolonged diarrhea. These complications merit a call to a vet or trip to emergency services.

If all seems fine, it is still advisable to bring your dog to the vet as soon as possible. They can conduct a thorough examination to ensure your pup’s well-being.

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For advice on how to keep your pet healthy from Emmy award-winning veterinarian Dr. Jeff Werber, visit his Off Leash author page.