Your dog is a lot like a small toddler when it comes to swallowing things he shouldn’t. While he sometimes eats things because they taste good, sometimes, he swallows things as a way of exploring his environment or chewing on something to relieve anxiety.
And while chewing on socks and shoes is all well and good and the stuff that jokes are made of when your pooch eats your sock, it’s not so funny.
When it’s poison or a rock or a nail that he eats, it’s even less funny. Therein lies the conundrum. Should you make him vomit? And if so, how do you go about doing that?
For many people, the go-to response to this question is simple table salt. But how and when do you use it and when should you avoid it?
If your dog has swallowed something questionable, here’s what you need to know about how to make a dog vomit with salt.
What Human Yummies are Doggie No-Nos?
There is something to be said for not having to make your pup vomit in the first place. This should be a go-to strategy in your doggie-care toolbox.
And the way you make that happen is by knowing kinds of human foods (and drinks) you should avoid giving your dog.
Even foods that are good for humans, like grapes and raisins, can be toxic to your pup, according to Today.com.
Other foods, like avocados, nuts, chocolate, candy, raisins and grapes, and onions also count as just a few of the people treats that you shouldn’t give your dog.
Many of these foods cause your dog’s heart to beat irregularly and very fast. Some also cause kidney failure.
The same can be said for drinks, like beer or caffeinated drinks. Caffeine, in general, is bad for dogs, due to what it does to their cardiac and nervous systems.
Alcoholic drinks affect your dog’s liver and brain in the same way that it does yours, except a lot faster because your dog is smaller.
Some of these foods, like the avocado, contain substances that are not only toxic to your dog but also your cat and almost all other animals as well. Many of these substances are literally poison to your furry friend.
Don’t be fooled into believing that a little is okay. You don’t actually know where your dog’s little-to-too-much threshold is. It’s better not to push it.
So, the lesson here is that when Fido is giving you his best puppy-dog eyes for that piece of chocolate you’re eating, it’s best to take the hard pass on that. Your little pooch-kiss may not know you’re saving his life, but you are.
What Other Kinds of Substances Harm Dogs?
However, according to Pet Poison Helpline, it isn’t just toxic foods you should watch out for. Household poisons, including but not limited to:
- mouse and rat poison
- household cleaners
- human drugs – including ibuprofen and Prozac
- and even some veterinarian-prescribed drugs, like Dermaxx, are poison to your pooch in large amounts.
You need to treat your dog just like it’s a tiny human. Lock those items up and keep the cupboards latched with baby-proof latches. Or put them high on a shelf.
If you accidentally drop a pill or spill some poison, clean it up right away. This cuts down on the possibility that your dog will lap it up when you’re least expecting it.
What if my Pooch Swallows a Rock?
Or a sock? Or a razor blade? Or whatever?
The short answer is if the object is teeny tiny, like a small pebble, it’s probably okay to see if your dog can throw it up. We’re talking like maybe smaller than a dime size and NOT sharp.
However, bigger objects, like socks probably merit a vet’s visit, according to Dogster.com. Unfortunately, Fido loves fabric, which may account for the number of pairs of socks and underwear that vets the world over have had to extract from dogs’ stomachs…
These objects are just too large for your dog to throw up comfortably and without harm. Ironically, the way you know that your dog actually swallowed something that’s too big to throw up is that he often throws up other things. And he continues to throw up. A LOT. He might also stop eating and drinking.
This indicates that there is an obstruction in the pipes somewhere. Symptoms like these may be the only indication that you have that your dog has swallowed an object if you didn’t actually see him do it.
If the object is still in the dog’s stomach and hasn’t made it to his intestines, the vet can use an endoscope to remove it without surgery. If the object has made it further along, surgery may be required.
In this case, all of the salt in the world probably won’t work to alleviate your dog’s challenges.
When Should I Try to Induce Vomiting?
According to The Spruce Pets, a dog can show signs of the poisoning of some kind within 20 minutes of ingesting the harmful substance. However, sometimes symptoms won’t show up until a couple of days have passed.
That said, if you can discover the problem right away and make the dog throw up right away, it’s better for your dog: There is less of a chance that something harmful will get absorbed in his system.
If you can catch it right away, then make the dog vomit if you can. There is a caveat to all of this, however. Some things should just not be removed from the stomach by vomiting.
Corrosive poisons, like bleach, gasoline, paint, a toxic houseplant, or laundry detergent burn on the way back up.
Don’t make your dog throw these up under any circumstances. Call the vet immediately for assistance.
The same can be said for sharp objects. A swallowed piece of a broken Christmas tree ornament, a razor, or a nail will cause as much damage coming up as it did when it went back down. Your dog shouldn’t be made to throw these items up, either.
Other objects that may/ do require a vet to remove them:
- shards of plastic/ glass
- nails, tacks, and screws
- hooks and needles
If after you have run through your checklist of possible items that your pooch has ingested and you still don’t know if you should make him throw it all up, go ahead and call a vet.
If the offending object doesn’t require your vet’s physical presence, the vet will tell you. Calling the vet also gives you peace of mind when you may not be feeling very rational.
Additionally, your vet can tell you if your dog has gone past the safety window, so to speak. Your dog has about an hour or so before it isn’t safe for him to throw something up.
Also, be mindful of the fact that your vet may actually tell you to offer Fido a safe treat before you try to induce vomiting. Making your pup eat something will slow down how rapidly his stomach will digest something.
This slows down the possibility that a harmful substance will have time to make it past your dog’s tummy and into his intestines.
Food also gives your dog’s stomach something to work with: Just as it is with humans who need to vomit, it can be difficult for your dog to throw something up on an empty stomach.
Dry heaves can make an already miserable experience even worse for your puppy at a time like this.
How to Make a Dog Vomit With Salt
Dogs are pretty efficient most of the time when it comes to ridding their stomachs of something unpleasant. That’s very often why you’ll catch them wolfing down some clumps of grass, according to Cuteness.com.
However, grass doesn’t always take care of the job: That’s when it’s best to try to get a dog to vomit.
Getting your dog to down salt is a simple procedure in theory. A half of a teaspoon or so of salt ought to do the trick. Most of the time this amount of salt will cause your dog to spit up lunch, even if that lunch happens to be a few small pebbles.
However, the actual act of getting your dog to voluntarily take a half of a teaspoon of salt is another matter.
You want to pull your pup’s head back and open his mouth, taking care that he doesn’t bite you. (This part is best done with the second set of hands and some thick gloves.)
After you get the dog’s mouth positioned, drop the salt in the back part of his mouth, aiming for the back of his tongue. Let his mouth go so that your dog can swallow the salt. Wait a couple of minutes.
If this is going to work, it’ll work in about three or four minutes. If it doesn’t, give your dog another half of a teaspoon of salt.
If Fido doesn’t bring forth the goods after the second helping of salt, it’s time to take a trek to the vet. Do this immediately: Time is of the essence when your puppy swallows something toxic.
You should additionally be aware of the fact that too much salt can cause health issues in your dog, including kidney failure, so be careful of how much salt you administer.
Also, if you really think that you are not qualified to care for your dog in this way, head straight to the emergency vet.
Here is a Video Recap of Important Highlights
When it is a medical emergency, you may not have time to read through this whole article. If that’s the case, the following video gives you a two-and-a-half-minute reminder of how to use salt to make a dog vomit.
It also offers you an alternative suggestion on how to use peroxide to get your pup to throw up.
The video is by Dr. Adrienne Mulligan of Expert Village.
Final Thoughts on Making Your Dog Vomit With Salt
Dogs experience the world through all of their senses, much like we do. However, they never grow out of their tendency to eat things that they shouldn’t.
The first defense you have against your dog swallowing something that he shouldn’t is to keep it out of his reach in the first place.
Just know that he probably will beg for that piece of chocolate or that clump of grapes. It is best to deny your pup the urge to gnaw on something he shouldn’t, no matter how much he begs for it.
This sort of precaution takes the form of not feeding him harmful items. It is also a matter of locking the cabinets and cupboards where you keep your cleaners and pesticides. If you have to use a child-proof latch to prevent the dog from opening up the cupboard.
While you may ask why a dog would try to get at these substances, please remember that your dog doesn’t think as you do.
Many of them, like rodent poisons, smell and taste sweet. What attracts rodents will attract your dog for the same reason.
Additionally, be mindful of that pill you accidentally drop. Do everything you can to find it before your dog does.
Also, remember that some substances, like corrosive poisons and sharp objects, like broken Christmas bulbs should never be thrown up. Those jobs are for a vet and as soon as possible.
Finally, if after going through your checklist, you determine that it’s okay to make your pup vomit by giving him salt, limit your attempts to two tries. If he doesn’t throw up after that, go immediately to the vet for help.