Treating Poisoning in Dogs: Apomorphine and Hydrogen Peroxide Safe?


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Apomorphine is Used by Veterinarians to Induce Emesis in Dogs. Photo Credit: Jynto

Safety and Efficacy of Hydrogen Peroxide and Apomorphine in Canine Poisoning Cases

The ASPCA study, which reviewed 147 cases phoned in to the APCC hotline, showed that apomorphine, given intravenously, had a nearly 100% success rate.

The same drug dosed via the conjunctival sac was successful in inducing vomiting 94% of the time with oral hydrogen peroxide 90% successful.

Apomorphine is, therefore, the drug of choice in the veterinary clinic.

But for dog owners who might not be able to reach a veterinary hospital quickly, hydrogen peroxide, used under the direction of a veterinarian, offers another option.

Dr. Kahn told Decoded Science that when pet owners gave hydrogen peroxide without consulting a veterinarian, the success rate dropped significantly.

This was most often due to inappropriate dosing – too much/too little or too often (more than twice), so working with a veterinary professional is still important.

Accidental Poisoning: Being Prepared Increases the Chance for a Positive Outcome

Preventing a dog from getting into a poisonous substance is obviously better than the safest, most effective treatment for accidental poisoning. Keeping medications, including veterinary medications, and tempting human foods out of reach will go a long way to reducing risk. You should also store cleaning agents and car care products safely away from inquisitive pets.

Hydrogen Peroxide Can be Safe and Effective When Used Under Veterinary Direction. Photo Credit: Twinkle Enyong

Preparedness is also important for when that accident does happen. Having a pet first aid kit, which includes a bottle of in-date hydrogen peroxide and a list of emergency numbers (regular veterinarian, emergency clinic and poison control) will reduce the time you spend looking for things when that emergency does happen. Including those emergency phone numbers on your cell phone and on speed dial on your land line is a good idea as well.

Poison Control for Dogs

In addition to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center in the US, the Pet Poison Helpline also provides help for dog owners with pets affected by poisonous substances. Both charge for consultations, so keep your credit card handy.


Khan, S. A., et al. Effectiveness and adverse effects of the use of apomorphine and 3% hydrogen peroxide solution to induce emesis in dogs. (2012). Journal of the  American Veterinary  Medical  Association. 241: 1179-1184. Accessed November 7, 2012.

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