Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your dog.

Emergency Care for Suspected Poisoning


If you suspect that your pet has ingested something poisonous, you should first consult your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency center. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is an excellent resource and can be reached 24 hours a day at 888-4ANI-HELP (888-426-4435). If you have general concerns that something in your pet's environment is impacting his or her health or well-being, please consult with your veterinarian. You may also want to check on the toxicity of certain house and outdoor plants before landscaping.

Inducing vomiting

If you just saw your pet ingesting something toxic, you may be tempted to try and induce vomiting. But because serious complications can arise, NEVER induce vomiting unless specifically instructed to do so by your veterinarian or by Animal Poison Control. Your dog may suffer further injury to his digestive tract or worse. It can be particularly dangerous in the following circumstances:

  • Your dog is in a stupor or breathing with difficulty.
  • He is unconscious or having convulsions.
  • If what was swallowed was some sort of cleaning, chemical, or petroleum product.
  • If your dog has swallowed a sharp object
  • If the label on what was swallowed instructs you to not induce vomiting.

The decision to induce vomiting depends on the type of toxin, how much was ingested and when, as well as the age and health status of your dog. Your vet has safer and more effective drugs than available home remedies, and can readily address complications should they arise. This is the best option if time and circumstances permit.

However, if your vet has advised you to induce vomiting at home, he or she is likely to recommend using hydrogen peroxide as an emetic. Syrup of Ipecac is rarely advised anymore because it can be toxic. Hydrogen peroxide can be administered as one teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide per 10 pounds of body weight. Walking your dog afterwards may help induce the vomiting faster. Your veterinarian may recommend that you repeat the dosage every 15 to 20 minutes, up to three times, until he vomits.

Follow up care

After the stomach is emptied, further treatment and monitoring may be necessary. Even if vomiting was induced at home, your dog must still see the vet for a follow-up evaluation. Serious plant intoxications take many different forms, and the effects can be insidious. Follow-up care may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Fluid treatments
  • Activated Charcoal, administered orally to absorb toxins that reached the intestinal tract
  • Treatment of oral and digestive tract injury
  • Specific antidotes, if indicated

Of course an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so be sure to keep potentially poisonous items out of your pet’s reach. And if you suspect your pup has been poisoned, always consult your vet.

Review the following links for more information on toxic items for dogs:

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