Dog drinking

Should I try to make my dog sick?

Occasionally, your pet may eat something that could be harmful and may need to visit their vet to be made sick. It is never recommended to make your pet sick at home. There are risks associated with inducing vomiting, even under careful veterinary supervision at the clinic. Vomiting may do more harm than good, therefore a veterinary risk assessment is required to identify if vomiting should be induced. Our vet explains more here!

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When might my pet need to be made sick?

Dogs, especially younger ones and puppies, are more likely to eat something that they shouldn’t, compared to cats.

This can include:

  • Hard obstructive objects - stones, balls

  • Sharp objects - needles, toothpicks, plastic

  • Soft objects - gloves, socks

  • Toxic substances - chocolate, raisins, bleach


When a dog, or cat, eats one of these substances, there is a risk of blockage, perforation (trauma or a tear of the intestinal tract) or poisoning. If it is appropriate to do so, your vet may recommend making your pet sick to remove the item or substance from the stomach. Food or objects in the stomach take approximately 2 hours to pass into the small intestine, therefore there is a narrow window of time in which vomiting will bring the stomach contents back up. After this, vomiting is less likely to be an effective method of decontamination. The decision to induce vomiting is one that your vet will make carefully, as sometimes it can be harmful.


Why can it be dangerous to make my pet sick?

  • Home remedies can cause illness - salt water should not be used to induce vomiting. Salt can be toxic, causing salt poisoning in the blood. Hydrogen peroxide can also cause severe burns to the mouth, throat, oesophagus and stomach of animals, and must not be used to induce vomiting in pets

  • The substance eaten was corrosive - making them sick risks the toxic substance causing further irritation to already irritated tissues and making the damage worse

  • Sharp objects - if the item ingested is sharp, then making the pet sick could cause puncture injuries or tears to the oesophagus and throat

  • Aspiration pneumonia - making a pet sick can result in the vomitus breathed in (aspirated) down the windpipe and into the lungs. This risk is particularly high in brachycephalic breeds (bulldogs and pugs)


What should I do if I think my pet has eaten something harmful?

If you think that your pet has eaten something harmful, contact your vet immediately for assessment. They will be able to advise you of the best treatment for your pet.

Further reading

Why chocolate is an unsavoury treat for your dog

Are grapes and raisins poisonous to dogs?

Eating things that are not edible - pica in dogs

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