Q: With all the festivities going on now that the holidays are here, I’m worried about our puppy, Olive. She is 14 weeks old and into everything. She likes to eats things she finds around the house that are not food items, like socks and paper and furniture. What do I do to help her to throw up if I think she has eaten something at home?
A:Olive is just a regular puppy who is learning about her environment one couch at a time. Young dogs have a strong desire to chew due to teething and their play behavior. It is up to us to do our best to watch over her and to try to Olive-proof the house as much as possible.
I have had clients crawl around their houses looking for potential trouble spots by seeing things at their puppy’s eye level. This is a great idea as long as you have good knees and don’t mind looking silly in front of your dog/family.
As an owner you can do all kinds of preventive work, but one unsuspecting visitor to your house can nullify all your preventive efforts when a stray sock or slipper is left unattended.
Last month, a client came in and said his puppy was found with a stray Christmas sock in his mouth and a guilty look in his eyes. They looked all over the house for the other sock but could not find it. The socks belonged to his sister who was visiting from out of state for a few days.
As any pet owner will do now, he Googled how to make your pet vomit. There, on the internet, was the home remedy for inducing vomiting in the dog. It is 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide per 5 pounds of dog given orally. This can be repeated in 20 minutes if it does not induce vomiting in that time frame. He gave the peroxide twice with no sock production. He came in defeated.
We find a weird sense of fun in stories like this. My staff likes to check out stomach contents like crime scene detectives, working the case of the missing — you can fill in the blank.
Once the playful puppy and angry owner arrived at the hospital, I gave the puppy a medicine called apomorphine. This is a tablet that we placed in the conjunctival sac of his eye and let it dissolve. After five to 10 minutes of waiting, the drooling started, and then up came the goods. Mixed in with his breakfast and some other odd-looking chewed up substances was a perfectly intact black Christmas sock.
The staff quickly grabbed it so the puppy would not eat it again — that’s happened before — and put it in a baggie for the now smiling owner to give back to his sister. He was going to mail it to her with the bill! We all laughed and the puppy went home to sleep off the medicine and was no worse for the wear.
So that puppy did fine, but there are some rules to inducing vomiting at home that need to be stated that the internet may not review. Owners should always call their veterinarian first before giving their pets anything that is not meant for dogs.
The hydrogen peroxide should be fresh, not expired, 3 percent hydrogen peroxide only. This method will only work if the pet had recently ingested the object, less than two hours earlier. After that, the object has probably traveled into the small intestine, and vomiting will no longer work to expel the object.
Only healthy, nonclinical pets can have vomiting induced at home. It is never advisable to induce vomiting in smashed-faced breeds — called brachycephalic breeds — like pugs, bulldogs and Pekingese. And lastly, if a poisonous substance is suspected, you must call poison control first, because sometimes vomiting is not the right thing to do. The ASPCA Pet Poison Hotline Number is 1-888-426-4435. They will advise you on how to proceed to get the best and safest help for your pet.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with lots of family and fun. Try your best to keep bedroom doors shut and Olive out of harm’s way. Good luck!