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How to Induce Vomiting (Emesis) in Cats

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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Frequently, cats ingest items or foods that have the potential to be dangerous or even toxic. If you see this ingestion, you may be able to avoid the potential danger by making him vomit.

Inducing vomiting should only be done if instructed by your veterinarian. The procedure can be hazardous and is not usually recommended. We strongly encourage you to contact your family veterinarian or local veterinary emergency center for advice regarding the appropriateness of inducing vomiting for each specific incident. The item or substance ingested, the time and amount of ingestion, as well as the overall health of your cat should be considered prior to recommending the induction of vomiting.

Methods to Induce Vomiting

  • Hydrogen Peroxide

    Three percent hydrogen peroxide is quite popular and effective in making cats and dogs vomit. You must be sure to use three percent peroxide and not hair coloring strength peroxide. Despite the label indicating that hydrogen peroxide is toxic, it is safe to give to cats. It is considered toxic since it induces vomiting and therefore does not stay in the body.

    The appropriate dose of hydrogen peroxide is one teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight. If you have an oral syringe, one teaspoon equals 5 cc or 5 ml. Once given, walk your cat around or gently shake the stomach area to mix the peroxide with the stomach contents. Vomiting should occur within 15 to 20 minutes. If no vomiting occurs, you can safely repeat the three percent hydrogen peroxide once. If it is still not effective, your cat may need to be seen by a veterinarian for stronger vomiting medication.

    Once the hydrogen peroxide is given, it is important to watch your pet so that he does not re-ingest the substance. If there is concern about toxicity, collect and take a sample of the vomitus to your veterinarian.

  • Syrup of Ipecac

    This medication is frequently used to induce vomiting in children. Unfortunately, it can be dangerous and even toxic to cats so it should not be used unless specifically advised by your veterinarian.

  • Salt Water and Mustard Seed Water

    These are other alternatives that have been used to induce vomiting but have not been proven to be very effective. Therefore, it is not recommended to give salt water or mustard seed water for any reason to cats unless specifically recommended by your veterinarian.

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