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The idea of making a dog vomit is just terrifying and plain old gross.
However, when your doggie ingests a poisonous or harmful object, inducing vomiting may save her life.
Usually, you have a small window before things get out of hand. For some toxins, that means 30 minutes or less.
If the vet lives far away, you have to step in and offer first aid to your pet or risk losing them.
There are several ways to induce vomiting in a dog. One of the most common is using 3% hydrogen peroxide to irritate the gut thereby triggering vomiting.
Although not the safest, another DIY remedy is to use your hand.
When you don’t have hydrogen peroxide on hand, this little trick can be a lifesaver.
In this guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about making a dog vomit using your hands.
What Does It Involve?
If you’ve ever tried to induce vomiting within yourself, you already know what the hand technique is all about.
Basically, it involves sticking your finger at the back of your mouth to try and prompt vomiting.
Doing this triggers a gag reflex which will, in turn, expel anything in the gut.
The gag reflex is a natural feature that the human body uses to protect itself against ingesting foreign substances.
It is controlled by nerves and muscles and is referred to as neuromuscular action.
Dogs don’t exactly have the same gag reflex as ours. However, they do have one no wonder they seem to be always gagging. Learn more here: Do Dogs Have A Gag Reflex?
When they have foreign substances in the throat, mouth, or esophagus, they will try to gag or remove the lodged object.
By reaching your fingers at the back of your dog’s mouth, you can trigger the gag reflex and induce vomiting.
How Is It Done?
Inducing vomiting by hand is not an easy undertaking.
You have to be cautious lest you do more harm than good. Perhaps the biggest risk is having the dog bite you in the process.
First, get someone else to hold the dog’s mouth wide open through the process. This is especially true if you have a big dog like a mastiff, German shepherd, or Pitbull.
Next, grab a pair of latex gloves and put them on.
With the help of the second person, hold the dog still and open her mouth wide open.
Insert your fingers all the way to the back of her mouth—as far back as you can go and touch the area for a few seconds.
If the dog shows signs of throwing up, release her.
On the other hand, if nothing happens, repeat the process a few more times.
Discontinue and bring the dog to the vet if you don’t get any results after a few attempts.
Why Is It Not Working?
When you touch your throat with your fingers, it doesn’t take too long before you vomit.
Sadly, the same doesn’t apply to your doggie.
Like we mentioned earlier, dogs have different gag reflexes from those of humans.
Using the hand to trigger vomiting is ineffective under some circumstances. In such a case, you can try using hydrogen peroxide or rush the dog to the vet.
Sometimes using the hand doesn’t work simply because you are too late.
After a certain period, your dog will have absorbed some of the things ingested. As such, your efforts to induce vomiting will come up empty.
Typically, you want to act fast—within two hours after which there would be no need to induce vomiting.
By then, perhaps the object will have passed the tummy on its way to the small intestine. Getting it to come back up by hand will be like moving a mountain.
According to the ASPCA, the only DIY remedy for inducing vomiting is using hydrogen peroxide.
Anything else, including sticking your fingers on the dog or using salt is considered risky.
Even the hydrogen peroxide method can go south if you use too much of it. It should be under the advice of a qualified vet.
As mentioned before, with the hand method, you risk being bitten by your dog. The very act of inserting your entire hand in your dog’s jaws is far too dangerous.
Most dogs will not like it very much and will try to retaliate. With your hand in between his jaws, you are an easy target for forceful biting.
Using the hand can also cause trauma to the dog’s mouth or throat. As you navigate the mouth area and struggle to stick your finger in the right place, you risk injuring your dog in the process. This can do more harm than good at the end of the road.
Finally, the whole idea of inducing vomiting in your dog is not the best idea. As AKC would have it, you are better off calling the vet or the Pet Poison Helpline.
Some things are best left in the tummy than being brought back.
Pug-nosed breeds can choke on their vomit. If you don’t put your dog in the right position, you risk a terrible outcome.
Secondly, if the dog ingests harsh chemicals like batteries, harsh cleaners, and some poisons, don’t induce vomiting. This is because they can corrode your dog’s throat on their way back.
Sharp objects can also cause physical trauma while others can get dislodges and cause choking.
The bottom line is that if you can avoid inducing vomiting by hand, do so. However, if it is the only method you have access to, give it a go.
A dog is compared to a 2-year old when it comes to curiosity.
Canines put nearly anything remotely edible to their mouths. As long as it smells and tastes yummy, they will ingest it.
Unfortunately, this curiosity can cause them to swallow harmful, toxic, and poisonous stuff.
If you discover your pet has taken something potentially toxic, call the vet as you find a way to induce vomiting and possibly expel the toxin.
The hand method is effective but let it be the last option.
Also, exercise caution when sticking your fingers into your doggie’s mouth.
Sable McNeil is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.