You turned your back for just a second.
Your dog was playing outside, enjoying the warm summer breeze. Then he found something potentially harmful and swallowed it.
First of all, don’t panic.
You have options, depending on what he swallowed and what symptoms he may or may not be showing.
Sometimes you might have to induce vomiting, while other times you might have to dislodge something from your dog’s throat, experts say. And then there are times when a veterinarian visit is a must.
Below are tips on what you should and shouldn’t do when a dog has swallowed a foreign object.
Consult your veterinarian
According to the Charleston Veterinary Referral Center, sometimes you might have to induce vomiting in your dog. But even if you know how to do it, you should consult a veterinarian first if possible. Sometimes, vomiting can actually injure your dog further.
When not to induce vomiting
Your dog has lost consciousness or is very lethargic (slow heartbeat, too weak to stand or falling asleep).
He’s consumed any petroleum distillates, such as kerosene, mineral spirits or gasoline. These are oily substances that can be inhaled during vomiting.
When he has swallowed any type of caustic substance, such as bleach, drain cleaner or oven cleaner, which burn going down and can cause serious burns coming back up.
Your dog is already vomiting,
When it has been more than 2 hours since the ingestion. After that, the item or substance would have passed from the stomach into the intestines, making vomiting no longer an option.
The object swallowed was pointy or sharp.
When to induce vomiting
When you veterinarian has directed you to do so.
If you can’t reach a vet, try contacting one of these pet poison control centers
— APCA’s Animal Poison Control Center: 888-426-4435
— Pet Poison Helpline: 855-213-6680
If your dog drank antifreeze less than two hours prior.
How to induce vomiting in a dog
Gather your supplies: A bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide, a large syringe or turkey baster and measuring spoons (if your syringe doesn’t have measurements).
Measure out the needed amount of hydrogen peroxide based on your vet’s directions or following this formula: 1 teaspoon of peroxide to every 10 pounds of weight.
Squirt the peroxide down your dogs throat with the syringe.
If vomiting hasn’t occurred in 15 minutes, repeat every 15 minutes up to four times.
Once vomiting occurs or after you’ve tried four times, follow the advice of your vet or go to the clinic.
Signs of dog choking
According to the American Kennel Club, there are signs when your dog has swallowed something and is choking on it.
If an object is caught in your dog’s throat, he might make choking sounds or paw at his muzzle and drool.
He might rub his face on the floor and gag.
Dogs often cough and retch due to tracheitis or heart disease. If you come upon your dog coughing and don’t know if it’s because of illness or choking, check the skin and mucous membranes. If they’re blue, your dog likely has something lodged in his or her airway.
What to do if dog is choking
Restrain the dog. Do not muzzle them.
Carefully pry open the jaws, using both hands (one on the upper and one on the lower mandible) and fold the dog’s lips over their teeth so that there’s a layer between them and your fingers.
Use a small flashlight, like the one on your phone, to look inside. With your index finger, hook or pull out small objects that are easily removed, such as bones or sticks.
If you see a small object that is impossible to remove by hand, such as food or rawhide, take or break it apart with large tweezers or small tongs. Do not push at it, as it could become more firmly lodged in the throat.
If you see a large object, such as a ball or toy, press your thumbs underneath both sides of the dog’s jaw near the base of the throat and press upwards. This might dislodge it.
Don’t forget to check the roof of the mouth, as often sticks or bones can become lodged across that area.
If you don’t see an object, do not insert anything down your dog’s throat, (including your hand), as that could hurt your dog.
If none of these options work and your dog is still in distress or unconscious, take your pet to the veterinarian.