The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the spectacular spring day beckons – it is a perfect day to go for a hike with your best friend Fido. You pack your day pack, lace up your boots and the two of you are off.
Did you pack your first aid kit? Of course! It would be folly to enter the woods without your trusty St. John’s Ambulance first aid kit. What about Fido? Did you pack his trusty first aid kid as well? You bet! Taking Fido into the woods without his first aid kit is just as dangerous.
After an hour drive to your favorite mountain, Fido and you set off at a brisk pace. Within a few hours, you stop for lunch at the top of the mountain and as you sit enjoying the view, Fido is off investigating the area within a whistle call as always. A few minutes go by and you haven’t heard the happy, contented jingle of his dog tags and you call – he doesn’t come. You whistle and again, no jingle. You decide to investigate.
Not far off, you see Fido’s rear end sticking out of the bushes. You whistle and he looks your way but whatever it is that has his attention is more important to him then you at the moment. You run up, grab his collar, and pull him back
What you find makes you instantly worry. Why would there be a meat wrapper sitting just off the trail like this and by the remnants leftover and Fido’s lip smacking, you know if wasn’t an empty meat wrapper. You attach Fido’s leash to keep him near you and pick up the meat wrapper – you don’t like littering but there is also a gnawing worry in the back of your mind that you may need to know what it was that was in this package.
The wonder of the day has worn off so you decide to pack up your lunch and head down the mountain. Not a mile down, Fido begins to salivate – a lot! Oh no, you think and the gnawing worry moves to the front of your mind. What was in that meat?
You keep moving knowing that at best, you are two hours from a veterinarian. A few minutes later you notice Fido is now not only drooling but he is now beginning to shake. He is also starting to desperately grab at foliage as the two of you walk down the trail. Instinct is driving him to induce vomiting the doggy way by eating grass. Unfortunately, in his shaky condition, he is grabbing at anything green and there is no way to help him to eat more.
Whatever it is that is in him, has to come out and he may not have the necessary two hours to make it to the vet. You find a safe spot on the side of the mountain and take off your pack. Grabbing the pet first aid kit, you take out the hydrogen peroxide in a squirt bottle that you had ready for just this kind of emergency and you force the whole lot down his throat.
Now it’s a waiting game. You continue down the trail with Fido as it helps to mix the peroxide around in the gut as well as the closer you get to your car, the better.
Within twenty minutes, Fido begins to display the doggy ‘oh my gawd, I am going to throw up’ look and stance and soon, up comes the meat. Although he is not out of the woods by any means, you are now able to get him down the mountain and to the vet for treatment knowing that only a portion of the toxin, whatever it is, was digested.
How to Make your Dog Vomit
The safest and most effective way to make your dog vomit is by forcing them to swallow 3% hydrogen peroxide. Never use the stronger hydrogen peroxide that is used for coloring hair as it is far stronger and will cause serious damage.
The dose of 3% hydrogen peroxide is 1 teaspoon or 5 ml per 10 lbs of body weight. Give it, walk the dog around or massage their abdomen to mix it around in the belly and within 20 minutes, they should vomit. If they do not, it is safe to give them one more dose.
Other emetics often suggested are syrup of ipecac, salt water or mustard seeds mixed with water. These are not as effective and can be dangerous. They should only be given if recommended by your veterinarian.
Once the dog has vomited, make sure they do not eat it back down and, if a toxin is suspected, collect a sample for your vet.
Is This an Emergency?
Recognizing the emergency is the hardest part. It is potentially dangerous to induce vomiting without veterinary supervision but in situations like the one above, it could save your dog’s life.
If you know you dog has eaten a toxin and you are more then two hours from a veterinarian, induce vomiting yourself. Calling the vet and be doing it under his supervision is ideal but not always possible.
There are several things to consider as well – how much of the toxin was ingested, whether the dog has an empty stomach and the toxicity of the poison. For example, if a dog ingests half an onion after finishing his own meal, you have a larger window of safety. However, if he swallows four ounces of undiluted antifreeze (coolant) on an empty stomach, you have no safety buffer at all – he must vomit that coolant up as soon as possible. Even if you are only thirty minutes from the vet, call and ask if you should administer the hydrogen peroxide before leaving the house. This may mean that he is vomiting in the car but what is a cleaning bill when it comes to your pet’s life?
Always assess the situation and make informed choices. If you can call a vet, any vet, or animal poison control, it is highly recommended. Follow their instructions to the letter and your dog stands the best chance of surviving being poisoned.
Once your dog has vomited, he must be checked over by a veterinarian. Often activated charcoal will be administered as it binds itself to the toxin and prevents absorption. Usually the dog will be hospitalized for monitoring and other medication and/or fluids will be administered as needed.
Never induce vomiting yourself without either the recommendation from a veterinarian or you have no way of getting your pet to the vet within a couple of hours. Poisoning is all too common in the canine world. Always carry a few ounces of 3% hydrogen peroxide in your dog’s first aid kit along with a dosing syringe or a squirt bottle. Animal first aid courses are available in many cities and it is always a good idea to be prepared for any emergency. Poisoning is one time where the Boy Scout’s motto will save your pet’s life: be prepared.