What To Do If Your Dog Swallows Drugs

How to keep them safe by being prepared – Tips from Dr. Sheldon

By Dr. Sheldon, Get Leashed Magazine veterinarian-in-residence

What to do if your dog swallows drugs and how to keep them safe

Our Veterinarian-in-residence Dr. Sheldon Covers This Important Concern

Summer is a season where there’s a lot of entertaining going on, and one thing we see a lot as vets, believe it or not, is dogs coming in with an overdose of human recreational drugs.

Festivals, parties, even at the dog park, your dog could come into contact with drugs, even if they are not yours or you are not a recreational drug user yourself.

Read or watch for a step-by-step walk through of what to do should your dog accidentally get into some recreational drugs.

  1. Identify the issue – what was ingested and possibly how much

  1. Get the dog to a vet immediately

  1. Be honest with your vet


If for any reason you know it’s going to be a long time before you can get to a veterinary office, let’s say you’re at the cottage, induce vomiting in your dog but be very careful.

Never induce vomiting in a dog or cat if it’s already showing symptoms of the drug.

The best way to induce vomiting in a dog is with 3% hydrogen peroxide, that you buy at any drug store.

The dosage for inducing vomiting in a dog is 1 tsp. of hydrogen peroxide for every 10 lbs. your dog weighs, with no more than 3 tsp. in a row.

If it’s a small dog, you can simply take a teaspoon and have someone hold the mouth open while you put it down the throat.

If it’s a larger dog, that requires a larger dosage, you probably won’t have a syringe to measure. So instead, measure out the teaspoons and use a baster, like a turkey baster, to squirt the peroxide down the back of the throat.

Never induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide in a cat.

It’s very irritating to the throat and intestines; it will cause bleeding in the cat’s stomach, and the cat will froth at the mouth, and will cause a very difficult time.

Never use any of the home remedies for vomiting or poison ingestion that you read on the internet, such as salt, oil, or milk. They either don’t work, or they are actually toxic to the animal.

Even if you have induced vomiting in a dog, still, get it to the veterinarian immediately.

If the dog seems to have very shallow breathing or stops breathing altogether, you have to administer mouth to nose respiration.

In humans we do mouth to mouth, but with a dog, you hold the muzzle shut, and gently blow into the nostril. Do this five or six times a minute, and that will help keep the dog breathing.

Once you arrive at the veterinarian’s office, tell the receptionist that you think the dog has been overdosed, and the veterinarian will see you immediately.

Make sure that you are very up front and honest with the veterinarian. Tell them what you suspect the dog ate, when it occurred, and how much they may have had. This will aid the veterinarian in getting to the proper treatment very quickly, and not wasting time with unnecessary tests.

As a veterinarian, because we see this so often, I suggest you add a few items to your first aid kit for your dog:

  1. A bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide
  2. A 5ml syringe from your vet (which is 1 tsp.) – why not work out the dosage your dog would need in advance, just to be safe, so you aren’t panicking in an emergency.

Even if you are not a recreational drug user, be aware. These drugs can turn up in all sorts of places, from music festivals to the dog park, and friends’ house parties. So always be on the alert when you bring your dog with you.