Thursday, March 1, 2018

Hydrogen peroxide could save your dog's life.

Does your dog ever eat things they shouldn't?
Ahahaha! Silly question.  It's a dog!  The answer is almost 100% surely "yes".
BUT, does your dog ever eat things that could harm them or even kill them?  Not all dogs have this problem (Leopold, for example, is pretty good about just eating food... and grass... and maybe cat poop).  But some dogs just can't help themselves.  Like Halo....

We've always had issues with Halo eating things that she shouldn't.  She's gotten better, but there have been times where she seems like a canine vacuum cleaner for anything and everything within reach: her bedding, sticks, bugs, compost, important bills and documents, cardboard (especially cardboard)....  She knows enough to not eat these things when we're around, but when we're out of site, all bets are off.  It's caused problems and rather large vet bills.

To be honest, it had been a while since Halo had really gotten into anything she shouldn't.  She's even pretty good about not eating sticks now.  But... then the holidays rolled around... 
When I worked at a veterinarian ER, the holidays were always associated with an increase in dogs visiting our clinic because they ate something that could potentially harm (or kill) them.  Human treats containing chocolate and raisins being the big offenders, of course.  This past holidays season was the first year we had this issue with our own dog.

Incident #1 was some fish-leather that I had left out to dry after tanning.  I should have known better to leave the skins so accessible, but the "dog area" is also my work area and I was feeling optimistic because I had been tanning fish skins for weeks and leaving them out to dry in a Halo-accessible area.  But then I came home from a morning of errands to discover all but one of my skins were missing.  There were foul words said, despite being in the presence of my toddler, and I stood there, dumbfounded.  That was a lot of fish-leather she had consumed.  I was worried about risk of blockage.   

Incident #2 was two whole dark chocolate bars -- the really fancy ones that also help save the rainforest.  My husband had done a little Christmas gift-wrapping the night before: chocolate and fishing lures.  And in the depths of Christmas chaos and late-night fatigue, he left them sitting on the coffee table.  Halo helped herself to what, I'm sure, she thought were special Christmas gifts just for her.  Again, I came home from errands to discover she had gotten into something she shouldn't.  Chocolate wrappers and wrapping paper all over the place.  Thankfully, she didn't eat any of the fishing lures, though I was pretty freaked for a bit b/c she had chewed up all the packaging :-O.

Incident #3 was also chocolate -- some really special and fancy stuff that my parents brought all the way from my hometown in Wisconsin.  We got home from some family outing and we had barely come in the door when my husband realized what had happened and shouts to me, "Get the stuff!"  Again, we should have known better, but in the Christmas chaos, we weren't thinking, and the chocolate got left in my husband's office area, which is also part of the "dog area".

Luckily, in all three of these incidences, we were able to deal with the situation fairly easily at home instead of taking Halo to see a vet.  How?  By inducing vomiting in order to force Halo to puke up the offending material.  

Why am I telling you all this?
Partially because I have a tendency to over-explain...
But mostly because I wanted to talk about what you can do in situations like this and why it's a good idea.
The faster you get whatever your dog shouldn't have eaten out of their gastro system, the better.  If you wait too long, it could move on out of the stomach and then require surgery if it's a "foreign body" (indigestible, non-food item), or it could be absorbed and cause toxicity and possibly death (grapes, raisins, onions, chocolate, gum with xylitol, antifreeze, rat poison, etc.....).  There are situations where you might not want to induce vomiting; for example, if your dog ate something needle-like that could cause further damage if brought back up (There was once a dog come into our clinic that had eaten a holiday candy display and had to have a ton of pins removed from it's gastro system. Eek!).
But in most cases, inducing vomiting at home can help save your dog's life or at least save you some hefty veterinary bills.  

So, how do you induce vomiting in a dog at home?
Hydrogen peroxide!

In addition to a turkey baster and measuring spoon, I also use
a bowl of some sort (I grabbed my pyrex this day apparently)
to put the measured H2O2 into.  The turkey baster will most
likely end up with dog saliva on it, and I really don't want that
in my bottle of H2O2.  
A quick google search will tell you to use 1 tsp of hydrogen peroxide for every 10 lbs of dog.  
Halo is about 55lbs, so I used 5.5 tsp of hydrogen peroxide every time I needed to force her to puke.
I also used a flavor-injector syringe (without the needle of course!) or turkey baster.  Anything to get the hydrogen peroxide to the back of her throat to force it down.  
The way I force Halo to drink hydrogen peroxide is squirt it in the back of her throat while her head is tilted up, and then I hold her mouth shut until she swallows.

The hydrogen peroxide will make a dog's mouth a bit foamy, so don't worry if that happens.  If they don't puke in the next 15 minutes, you can repeat the dose one more time.  If they still don't puke, take them to the vet ER.  Do not repeat another dose!  Another dose could cause more problems than do good.  The vet ER will most likely use apomorphine, which gets dripped in the dog's eye and then washed out once the dog has puked up whatever they shouldn't have eaten. 

But if they do puke up the offending material, all that's left to do is let loose a huge sigh of relief and maybe clean up a little puke--I recommend doing all this outside, by the way, but I also recommend either spraying the vomit with the hose to disperse it or grabbing a poo-bag to pick it up.  Basically, you just don't want your dog to re-consume their vomit, which we all know dogs will do.  (Dogs can be so gross...).

I'd say don't worry about memorizing the dosing:  Personally, I can never remember the how much hydrogen peroxide to give and how long to wait.  I always just google it when I need the information.
The important part is to have the hydrogen peroxide and syringe or turkey baster on hand.  If you're a dog owner, I highly recommend you have these things handy in your house just in case.

Hydrogen peroxide is so cheap -- like one of the few things you can still get for a dollar (ok ok, more like $1.50, but still!).  And turkey basters aren't a huge investment either.  Here's one on that's just a little over $5 (at the time of this post, anyway):  Meat And Poultry Baster
And if you're feeling lazy, you could always order hydrogen peroxide from too:  Hydrogen Peroxide Antiseptic Solution 16 Oz
Don't have measuring spoons? First, that's weird... Second, here's some incredibly cheap ones you can do as an "add on" on Prepworks by Progressive Snap Fit Measuring Spoons - Set of 5
And I'm just going to assume you have a bowl or cup or some sort of vessel you can measure the hydrogen peroxide into ;-)

I hope you never have a reason to induce vomiting in your dog, but if such a situation does arise, I hope that now you feel a little more prepared to deal with it!

Convenient product links:


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