My Dog Just Ate A Laundry Detergent Pod, Is It Poisonous? Your Carmel Vet Explains Detergent Poisoning In Dogs

Help!  My Dog Just Ate A Laundry Detergent Pod, Is It Poisonous?  Your Carmel Vet Explains Detergent Poisoning In Dogs



Dogs and cats are very curious and inquisitive animals.  It’s one of the many reasons they make the best pets, but it can also get them into trouble and end up sick at your Carmel vet.  Recently we are seeing a type of poisoning from a new and unexpected source–detergent pods.

Laundry and dishwasher detergent pods are often brightly colored and smell nice.  It’s no wonder that dogs and even small children often eat them thinking they may be candy.  In fact my own son did this at 1 year of age causing a call to poison control.

What are the clinical signs of laundry and dishwasher pod ingestion in dogs?  Laundry and dish detergent pods contain chemicals called surfactants.  As a Carmel vet, the dogs I see who have eaten detergents often exhibit GI symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, or decreased appetite.  Although these GI symptoms are unpleasant, they are usually not serious unless the dog ate so many that they plastic caused an obstruction in the intestinal tract.  The more common, serious concern with laundry and dish detergent pods with dogs biting into them is actually inhaling the detergent.  The contents are packaged in a sealed plastic and when the pressure of the dog’s teeth bite down, the concentrated liquid detergent can be forcefully expelled and aspirated into the lungs.  According to the Pet Poison Helpline, roughly 20% of the dogs reported to have bitten into a detergent pod experienced respiratory symptoms such as cough, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and lethargy.

What is the treatment for dogs who have eaten or aspirated a laundry or dishwasher detergent pod?  Although there is no antidote for this sort of chemical toxicity, treatment is aimed at reducing exposure along with symptomatic and supportive care.  If you think your dog has bitten into a detergent pod, first rinse the mouth out with water until the slimy feeling is gone.  If any of the detergent got into the eyes or on the skin, these areas should also be rinsed with water (contact solution or eye irrigating solution is best for the eyes).  If your dog is having any GI or respiratory symptoms, call your Carmel vet right away.

The best treatment for any pet poisoning is prevention.  Save a trip to your Carmel vet by keeping your laundry and dishwater detergent pods up high or away in locked cabinets where dogs and children cannot have access to them.  For more information on our Caring Hands Compassionate Hearts, click on this link to your Carmel Vet.


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