The Science of Hydrogen Peroxide for Pets

Hydrogen peroxide is a common household chemical with a variety of uses. Is induction of emesis via administration of peroxide the gold standard treatment for pets? Is induced vomiting in an emergency situation always necessary?

What about when it comes for wounds? What factors need to be considered?

The Science of Hydrogen Peroxide for Pets

Any pet owner or professional has come across it more than a time or two on an online group; someone’s pet may have ingested something they should not have and asks what to do, someone recommends induced vomiting via hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is also widely known for skin and wound care. Should we be using it, though?

What is Hydrogen Peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide was first isolated in the year 1818 by Louis Jacques Thénard by reacting barium peroxide with nitric acid. Hydrogen Peroxide (H202) is a compound that contains an oxygen–oxygen single bond. It is a colourless liquid at room temperature which is slightly viscous than water. It has a bitter taste. Hydrogen peroxide is non–linear, non–planar molecule that has an open book-like structure. It is an unstable compound; readily decomposes into oxygen and water. Therefore, it acts as a good oxidizing agent and is generally stored in weakly acidic solution.

Preparation of H202:

  • The reaction of Barium peroxide with acids gives hydrogen peroxide
  • The reaction of Sodium Peroxide with acid also gives us hydrogen peroxide
  • Oxidation of isopropyl alcohol also results in the formation of hydrogen peroxide
  • By electrolysis of an aqueous solution of sulfuric acid or acidic ammonium bisulfate followed by hydrolysis of the per-oxy-disulfate which is formed at the anode
  • From 2-alkyl anthraquinone
    • This is the most important manufacturing process to get a high yield of hydrogen peroxide
    • This reaction involves the oxidation of 2–alkyl anthraquinone in presence of oxygen to produce hydrogen peroxide and the original anthraquinone compound

H202 Skin & Wound Care:

Hydrogen Peroxide kills the healthy cells that are trying to heal the wound and can delay healing. It can also be painful to the animal. Seek your veterinarian for care or use Vetster from the comfort of your home.

H202 & Toxin Ingestion

It’s best to bring the animal to the veterinary office to have vomiting induced and have a conversation with your veterinarian first. Use Vetster, or contact the Pet Poison Helpline, or the Animal Poison Control in emergencies.

There are many factors to consider:

There are guidelines to assist the animal in order to aid in a timely evaluation in the case of accidental poisoning.

Felines should immediately go to the veterinarian as there are no safe emetic agents that pet owners can use at home for cats.

For canines, it can be time sensitive and a complex situation, and this is why “home remedies” (inducing vomiting at home) should be avoided and allow for your veterinarian to assess the situation.

If your dog ingests something toxic, you should get yourself to your nearest veterinary clinic while using the assistance of the Poison Hotlines en route.

Pet Poison Helpline

Using Hydrogen Peroxide at home is Unsafe because:

  • Toxins vomiting back up are unsafe –

    • corrosive agents cause corrosive damage going down – and coming back up – the esophagus, and pets who ingested these shouldn’t have emesis induced.

  • Chemical burns

  • High risks of aspiration pneumonia

  • Unable to adequately protect the airway (i.e., megaesophagus, laryngeal paralysis, sedation, etc.)

  • Time lapsed since ingestion is time sensitive

  • Severe brachycephalic syndrome or disease in dogs matter

  • Animals do not always vomit

  • Animals that do vomit do not bring all contents up

  • Dosing efficacy is an issue

For a complete in-depth guide on H202 with pets, join Dr. Em

Hydrogen peroxide is less effective than what veterinarians use today, like apomorphine; and is not without side effects studies show. The risk of aspiration and severe gastritis or esophagitis poses a risk. It can also be dangerous to the dog when done incorrectly.

The use of hydrogen peroxide as an emetic agent in dogs is complex and its use is not as benign as it once understood to be. As science advances and studies reveal how hydrogen peroxide causes the mucosal damage, it should not be recommended for at-home use in pet owners unless the benefits outweigh the risks. Please always seek the advice of your veterinarian.

Should we be using 3% hydrogen peroxide (H202) as an emetic agent in dogs

Click to listen: Should we be using 3% H202 as an emetic agent in dogs – VETgirl Veterinary Continuing Education

Synergistically Yours

Danielle & Sheepdog Riggs

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