Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Induce Vomiting? To Puke Or Not To Puke? The Vets Most Common Question

My Jekyll's early morning yawn,,
although it does look exactly like his "I'm about to yack" yawn.

One of the great mysteries of life is why dogs and cats eat the things they do?

I had a cat last week who ate 16 oz of raisins. Why would a cat eat raisins? (Which by the way is a very valid discussion that you should have with your vet after you figure out how to deal with the potential raisin toxicity risk).

We get a phone call almost daily from a concerned parent whose pet just ate,,, Well, you name it a pet has eaten it.

The question always gets volleyed to the back treatment area where a veterinarian consults with the parent to try to understand the magnitude and repercussions of the ingestion.

Duke uses his Jedi powers to convince me to surrender a snack.

Here's the take home thumb nail version of ingestion;

1. If your pet eats anything that is NOT DOG OR CAT FOOD, or

2. If they eat an ABNORMAL AMOUNT of any food, or,

3. If they MIGHT HAVE EATEN something that is not dog or cat food.


CALL THE PET POISON HOTLINE, or your vet. Don't wait. minutes count, and hours can kill.

Angel makes a bold statement.
She's tired of waiting for me, even though
today is spay day.
I am all about keeping things as simple as possible. Why? because in times of panic your brain doesn't think properly. So, just reduce the thinking to two steps;

"I think my dog ate..." therefore, "I will call a professional."

OK, after that we discuss the following;
  1. Age, size, breed,
  2. Amount of product ingested,
  3. Type of product ingested,
  4. When it was ingested,
  5. Any complicating pet factors, like disease, medications, etc.
Please remember to look at your home and possessions as a place that needs to be protected from a toddler who wanders and ingests arbitrary items. Don't leave out any medications, choking hazards, or dangerous items laying around. Everything in your pets environment that they have access to is a a potential "chew on and swallow" item. Don't leave stuff accessible to them, they will disappoint you, and I would argue that it is your fault, not theirs.

OK, so you have a pet, you have stuff, you therefore need a pet emergency kit.

Your emergency pet medical kit should have 3% hydrogen peroxide. You should call your vet, ER, or Pet Poison Helpline BEFORE using this. Some products should not be vomited!!!

Lia gives a sad face.
She's here for a very minor boo-boo, sore left foot.

Here is my simplified list of things to induce vomiting for;

  1. chocolate. I would first emphasize to call the Pet Poison Hotline and discuss the amount and type of chocolate. It takes quite a lot of chocolate, and it usually has to be a very dark  bakers chocolate to cause problems. 
  2. plants, that aren't supposed to be eaten.
  3. clothing like hoisery and synthetic materials.
  4. plastics, unless it is thick and might have hard edges that could damage the esophagus.
  5. medications unless they are in liquid or gel cap form.

Here's what you DO NOT induce vomiting for;
  1. petroleum products
  2. glues
  3. bleach, cleaners, most liquids

Bella, always a charmer..

The best way to get your dog to vomit is to give 1 tsp per 10 pounds of hydrogen peroxide. The maximum dose is 3 tbsp. You can do this twice about 10-15 minutes apart. If this isn't working head to your vets office or the closest emergency clinic.

Cats, well cats are another story. Cats are better on a case by case basis. And why did that cat who eat 16 ounces of raisins? Well, who knows, it's a cat. But there isn't a safe way to induce vomiting in a cat at home. You need a vet for that.

My sweet girl Magpie.

And, as fate would have it, as I began writing this blog I had a client call today. They had just left the office from their examination, got home, went back to the project he had left, dropped a bolt on the floor and POOF! his dog swallowed it. Without knowing what kind of bolt it was I told him to have him vomit it up. Three tablespoons of peroxide later the bolt was back on his floor. See these blogs do make a pets life better.

Related Blogs;
Signs That Your Pet Needs Emergency Care

Is Your Cat Safe In Your Own Home?

PassOver The Easter Lily, Protecting Your Cat

And if you can't find the answer there, you can ask me, and a whole bunch of other pet experts at Pawbly.com. We are an online platform dedicated to helping people take better care of their pets. We are free to use and open to anyone and everyone who cares about pets.

You can also find me on Twitter @FreePetAdvice. Or at the clinic, Jarrettsville Vet where I help pets everyday.

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