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Is It Safe to Induce Vomiting with Hydrogen Peroxide?

induce vomiting

Ah, the old heave-ho! 

 Many owners are familiar with the procedure of trying to induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide in their pets in an emergency situation.  Whether you do it at home or have it done at the clinic, making your pet throw up is always the first step when dealing with poisons, right?

Not quite!

(Please do read all the following precautions before attempting this at home to ensure that it is safe.  If directed by your vet, the safe dose is provided at the bottom of the page.)

While it is often a very common treatment for many types of exposures, there are a few risks involved with giving hydrogen peroxide to an animal:
  • Aspiration – Some animals are at a high risk of inhaling either the peroxide or the vomit.
  • Vaso-vagal response – The strain of vomiting can overstimulate the vagus nerve.  This can lead to complications for pets with seizure conditions or heart issues.
  • Overdose – When administered properly, peroxide can be successful in inducing vomiting.  However, overdoses are possible and can lead to ulceration of the stomach.
  • Stomach strain – A pet who has recently had abdominal surgery should not throw up if at all possible because of the strain vomiting puts on the tummy.
There are also certain exposures where it is unsafe to make a pet throw up:
  • Caustic Substances – Bleach, batteries, or any other acidic or alkaline chemicals burn as they go down.  They also burn if they come back up, so we don’t want to make them throw up.
  • Fast-Acting Substances – If we’re expecting to see signs very quickly, inducing vomiting can be dangerous.  It would be awful for your dog to start to have a seizure in the middle of trying to administer peroxide.
  • Older Ingestions – If your pet ate something 8 hours ago, there is a possibility that inducing vomiting wouldn’t be helpful.  The time frame will vary based on what your pet ingested.
  • Substances with a High Risk of Aspiration – motor oils, soaps, cooking oils, etc. are all very easily inhaled.  Inducing vomiting in these situations is not the best option.
  • Substances that prevent vomiting – If it’s geared towards stopping vomiting, inducing vomiting is not likely to be as successful at home.
Vomiting at home (or at all) is also not something we can do with all pets:
  • Cats – Peroxide is generally not successful in cats to induce vomiting.  They also have a very high risk of inhaling peroxide, so kitties should be taken to the clinic instead of induced at home.
  • Rabbits, Rats, Guinea Pigs, and Horses – These guys can’t vomit, so we shouldn’t try to make them!
  • Birds
  • Reptiles
  • Cows, sheep, goats
After going through the whole list of times we can’t induce vomiting, there is only one way to safely induce it at home, which is peroxide.  If you don’t have a bottle handy at home and your vet directs you to induce, do not try:
  • Mustard
  • Salt – Too much salt is actually toxic to pets, and giving salt to induce vomiting will only make things worse. Never, ever, ever use salt despite what you read online.
  • Ipecac
  • Sticking your hand down their throat – This is never successful and can result in trauma to your dog, or you being bitten.
If your pet swallows something it should not, your first action should be to reach for a phone to call the nearest veterinary professional – not for the bottle of peroxide.

However, if directed by your vet, the safe dose in dogs for hydrogen peroxide is 1 mL per pound (or 1 tsp per 5 pounds) given orally.  Never exceed 45 mLs or 3 tbsp in one dose.

The peroxide should be fresh (within the expiry date) or still fizz and bubble when it comes into contact with subdermal tissue.

After administration, walk your dog in circles indoors on a flat surface like tile or linoleum.  This will help stir up their stomach contents and encourage vomiting.  When they do vomit, we will have to go through it (ew, I know) to try and find the swallowed object.  Often we need to assess volume, and this is difficult if they vomit on the carpet.

Then contact your vet or poison control center with the results.

21 thoughts on “Is It Safe to Induce Vomiting with Hydrogen Peroxide?

  • This is great information! In my Husky Facebook group random people ALWAYS recommend using peroxide to induce vomiting…. I am always shocked that people do this without even having a clue how much to use, or even IF they should use it!!! I am bookmarking this post!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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    • I am always surprised too! It goes to show that if it is repeated enough online, people think it must be true!

      Reply
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  • I’ve had to induce with hydrogen peroxide in the past… it’s not pleasant, but sometimes it is the best option.

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    • Sometimes it is, but only at the behest of a vet! There are a lot of risks involved.

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  • The animal ER tells us to never induce vomiting but to bring them in. I haven’t had a situation where I’ve had to make a decision either way yet.

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    • That is definitely the safest way to have it done in MOST cases. There are a small number of substances that you want to get out of their systems ASAP because they can become sympotomatic by the time you drive to the clinic, but most vets will clue you in to this fact before you make the drive.

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  • Really good info here! Very well researched, thank you!

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  • As always,you share such important information for every pet owner! Thanks so much for sharing this post.

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  • I agree, you should always take you pet to the vet if they have ingested something they shouldn’t. There are just too many risks of trying to induce vomiting at home.

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  • Great information – we always call our vet and the ASPCA Poison Hotline. The Hotline is fantastic and has vets on hand and databases for best outcomes (they charged a small fee for specific case advice- well worth it). Vomiting is not good with flat-faced breeds like Kilo the Pug but we did have to induce one time at the vet for chocolate.

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  • t. Great post in understanding what to do and when. Thank you for sharing.

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  • I’ve had to call the vet a few times to determine the best course of action for my dog when he ate something he shouldn’t. Thanks for the reminder that not every toxin should be treated the same way. I never knew that rabbits could not vomit.

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  • WOW! This is a scary subject. Thank you for sharing this great information – I will pin it forward.

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  • You sure do need to ask a vet or poison control for sure – great piece!

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  • I never knew about using peroxide. I’ll continue to rush my girls to the vet if they are having problems.

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    • Never with kitties! They either inhale, or it doesn’t work. The vet is by far the best place for them! 🙂

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  • Great post! Too many try to avoid that vet bill or think it’s somehow unnecessary. It’s not, and thanks for making the possibly devastating outcomes known!

    Reply

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