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Has Your Pet Eaten Something Toxic? Do Not Make It Vomit!

By Species, By Topic, Cats, Dogs, Emergency Situations, Exotic, Puppies

Has your pet swallowed something toxic? DO NOT MAKE YOUR PET VOMIT! This is one of the most common solutions suggested online for poisoned cats or dogs, but it could be deadly!


Call CEDARCREST Animal Hospital at 540-943-7577 immediately if you believe that your pet has ingested something toxic. Your pet needs STAT medical attention!


Read on to learn more about some common toxins and how to respond if your pet ingests them.

Common household batteries are a common culprit of pet poisoning. Batteries contain cores that are either very alkaline or very acidic, and if swallowed whole, those corrosive cores will be contained in your pet’s stomach. However, if you induce vomiting, the alkaline or acid will contact your pet’s esophagus, causing severe corrosion. Also, if any vomit gets into your pet’s airway, permanent damage to the trachea and lungs can occur.

Other common and potentially deadly poisons can come from household cleaners, motor oil, gasoline, lighter fluids, and laundry detergents, which can eat away at the linings of the esophagus and mouth and burn the trachea and lungs. I had a colleague in vet school whose small dog drank a pint of drain cleaner out of a clogged bathtub, her poor dog was only able to survive this ordeal because she knew not to try and make him vomit.

Another class of toxins to look out for are antidepressant medications—specifically anything labeled as an SSRI (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). Antidepressants are very rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream once consumed; they can cause serious neurologic depression within minutes of ingestion. This means their body functions work sluggishly. This includes the ability to swallow. Do you see where this is going? An animal that overdoses on antidepressants is at an increased risk of inhaling saliva and vomit into their lungs. If you attempt to induce vomiting in an animal that has consumed antidepressants, it might drown in its own saliva and vomit!

Many pets are also prone to eating pieces of toys, bones, clothes, or even rocks and sticks. If your pet eats any of these things, immediate attention from a veterinarian is critical!!  Ingesting foreign bodies can cut or tear at the entire digestive tract, and trying to induce an animal to vomit can cause more trauma coming back up!

If your pet swallows anything toxic or dangerous, it is important to act quickly. Do not wait to see if your pet will get better on its own. Every moment you delay, the danger to your pet gets worse. If you find yourself in this kind of emergency, stay calm and call your veterinarian immediately, keep your pet with you, and bring along the labels from anything your pet may have consumed.

CEDARCREST Animal Clinic provides medical and surgical care for every stage of your pet's life including preventive wellness care exams and vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care for your dog, cat, avian, or exotic. We are home to the only veterinarian practitioner in Virginia to be double Boarded in Avian and Canine/Feline care and provide care for birds, small mammals, and reptiles of all sorts! Plus, we are home to Virginia's most exclusive dog boarding resort that includes heated floors, an expansive play area, and even webcams so you can watch your pet while you're away. We're located in Fishersville, Virginia, and serve Augusta County and surrounding areas including Waynesboro, Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville. 

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