Whole Dog Journal's Blog December 15, 2015

Better Safe Than Sorry

Posted at 08:46AM - Comments: (8)

Let me just start with the moral of this story first: If you have a dog, keep some nice, fresh hydrogen peroxide on hand, won’t you?

Last night, I’m feeding my three-year-old grandson dinner, and he wants to simultaneously play with these little wooden cubes at the same time. The cubes are about a quarter-inch cubes, and have a tiny magnet glued on one side; they are supposed to be arranged in various artful ways in the accompanying metal tray. Because he’s actually a little young to play with this particular toy, and is more fond of just scrambling them around, I tell him, “You can play with them for a minute, but make sure they stay in the tray, okay? I don’t want them on the floor.”

Of course, within a minute he’s done something that caused several of the cubes to leap out of the tray, and a few fall to the floor – and as they do, my current foster dog, a young coonhound, leaps for them.  I yell, “Hey!” trying to stop her forward momentum, but she manages to snatch one up; I hear it clinking on her molars. And just as fast, she runs from the room.

I run down the hall after her, into the living room. She’s happy with this game. She leaps onto the couch and faces me, panting happily. Her mouth is empty. I look around the room; she’s dropped no cubes in there.  I retrace our steps; no dropped cubes in the hall. I carefully pick up the ones on the kitchen floor, from under my grandson’s chair, feeling them to see if they are wet with dog spit. Nope, they are all dry.


Did she swallow a cube, or didn't she? She's not telling.

Crud. Is one missing? As quickly as I can, I arrange them by color in the tray. There are supposed to be 10 of each color. I start with the dark colors – 10, 10, 10, 10… –  and work myself up to the brightest yellow, the last color. NINE. Crud crud crud. That’s when I started looking for the hydrogen peroxide, to make that coonhound vomit. CAN a quarter-inch cube make it through the dog without harm? I’d rather it come out how it went in, and now.

But guess what? We are all out of peroxide.

And my next door neighbors are not home.

And my sister is not home at her house, several blocks away.

At this point, I turn the three-year-old over to my husband, put the coonhound in the car, and race to CVS, race home with a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, and give her the first dose. Within 10 minutes she starts looking restless and unhappy, and drinks a bunch of water, but after 10 more minutes, hasn’t vomited, so I give her some more. About 10 minutes later, she vomits. The first round is grass and a little food and water. The next bit is watery bile. The last one is tiny, just a bit of watery bile. No cube.

I consult with the veterinary technician from my shelter, the one that I am fostering the hound for. She is unfazed. “Meh, give her some food, maybe some canned pumpkin, watch her, I’m sure it will go through,” she tells me. 

Meanwhile, my husband is looking under the sofas and beds, in every room the cubes have been played with. Because the cubes have been spilled out of their tray before, many times, he’s certain the set wasn’t complete to begin with, though he agrees that it’s weird that just ONE is missing. “I thought there were at least four or five missing,” he says.

The hound ate dinner with gusto. And breakfast this morning.

As I write this, it’s lunchtime. No poop yet, though I will be examining it when it happens. I won’t be letting her out of my sight for a while.  And, truthfully, if I know myself, I will most likely end up bringing her to the vet for an x-ray, even though the shelter vet tech says it’s not necessary. I just hate not knowing whether or not she actually swallowed one – AND I hate the feeling I have that if I had been able to make her vomit immediately, I would have known for sure whether she had swallowed a cube or not.

I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, check your hydrogen peroxide supply, won’t you?

How to Make Your Dog Vomit

A note on the dosage mentioned in the linked article: You will find other Internet searches that recommend 1 teaspoon per TEN pounds of body weight, with a maximum dose of 3 tablespoons, no matter the dog’s weight. Our veterinary sources recommend the more assertive dose of 1 teaspoon per FIVE pounds of body weight, but still suggest no more than 3 tablespoons no matter the dog’s weight. 

Comments (8)

Thank you so much everyone for this very useful article! My bottle of HP is several years old and I will go out and buy a new bottle today!

Posted by: Pawsitive | May 28, 2016 11:14 AM    Report this comment

Please note that the 'brown bottle' hydrogen peroxide found in the drug stores is, either, 1.5% or 3% strength. The importance of freshness can't be understated as an unopened bottle of hydrogen peroxide becomes water in a year or two depending upon how it is stored. An opened bottle looses strength even more quickly. Refrigeration slows, but doesn't stop the process.

Posted by: D Riley | December 15, 2015 6:17 PM    Report this comment

I hope the cube-eating coonhound is feeling ok! :) This article made me think, oh gosh, my dogs have eaten SO much stuff over the years. I'm sure more dangerous than a wooden cube. If I'd seen them eat a wooden cube, it would never even occur to me to prompt them to vomit it back up. I'd have assumed the choking hazard is worse than simply passing through the GI tract and out the other end!
One of my dogs did eat a LOT of grapes (in a box delivered to my home, before I had a chance to put them away), and I wasn't sure how he'd react. I know grapes aren't problematic for some dogs, but are for others. In that case, I used hydrogen peroxide. I was sure there was no chocking hazard coming back up, and no risk of chemical damage coming back up (as is true for some corrosive chemicals which shouldn't be vomited up).
When using H-peroxide, be sure to keep the dog on a leash (if outside), so that you can confirm whether they vomited or not. Someone told me this once, and it is SO true. As soon as I gave the H-peroxide, we went outside (on leash), as I think dogs are more comfortable to vomit outdoors, at least, mine are. I think without a leash, he (feeling nauseous) would have disappeared to a dark corner of the property and come back some minutes later, and I'd have no idea whether mission accomplished, or to give more H-peroxide. In other words, my advice is, take them outside, with LEASH ON!

But again, it would never have occurred to me to prompt a dog to vomit a wooden cube. Honestly, it just seems more dangerous (choking-wise) than pooping it out. But I could be totally wrong on that. Maybe a vet will chime in, on when it's best to let non-corrosive objects pass vs. induce vomit.

Posted by: Jency | December 15, 2015 6:16 PM    Report this comment

Just had to use some on my 8# Chihuahua this weekend.
She ate 3 squares of dark chocolate from my purse...totally my fault. I left it on the floor, while I ran outside to pick up some papers I had dropped. I did not even remember having any in there. Long story short I noticed the torn wrapper on my bed 10 min.s later.
Worked like a charm, chocolate mousse anyone?
She is going to be the death of me!!

Posted by: Sarah | December 15, 2015 5:44 PM    Report this comment

My 23 pound schnauzer once ate an enormous amount of mixed nuts and my vet had me pour 1/2 CUP hydrogen peroxide down his poor throat. Worked like a charm but i was gagging the whole time along with him!

Posted by: popdov | December 15, 2015 5:12 PM    Report this comment

What is the dose of peroxide?

Posted by: Tinatiga | December 15, 2015 11:41 AM    Report this comment

peroxide should be 10volume or 3% NOT 20 volume used for hair bleaching

Posted by: solseeker1 | December 15, 2015 10:00 AM    Report this comment

Do not forget to mention that the strength of peroxide to use is very important!
It is 3% or 10 volume NOT 20 volume that you use to bleach hair with

Posted by: solseeker1 | December 15, 2015 9:58 AM    Report this comment

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