An item that doesnt often show up on lists of household products toxic to pets is laundry detergent. But it should, because most detergents and soaps contain ionic and anionic surfactants. When ingested in small amounts, these chemicals can cause GI upset in a pet, such as excessive drooling, vomiting or diarrhea. Fortunately, its unlikely most pets would have the opportunity or desire to ingest a large amount of bottled detergent.
But a new concern these days are those little brightly colored laundry detergent pods that smell good and look like candy or some other type of yummy treat to a small child or a pet. Its conceivable that a pet might eat enough pods to cause an obstruction in the GI tract, but the greater danger of laundry and also dish detergent pods is actually the potential for an animal, typically a dog, to bite into them and inhale the detergent.
According to ASPCA Animal Poison Control, dogs make up over 90 percent of detergent pod poisonings. Cats account for just 6.5 percent.Advertisement
The reason pods are more dangerous for pets than simply licking a bit of spilled detergent off the floor or their fur is the product formulation. The detergent in the pods is both highly concentrated and under pressure. If a pet bites down on the pod, it can cause the liquid to be forcefully expelled and easily aspirated (breathed in) or swallowed, often in large amounts. So even if you are using natural detergents in pods, there are still substantial risks.
Detergent is foamy, and when an animal ingests the stuff and then vomits, the foam can be pulled into the lungs. In a worst-case scenario, the detergent coats the airways and hampers oxygen exchange in the lungs, which causes suffocation.
Of the cases reported to the Pet Poison Helpline during 2013 and 2014, 72 percent of pets exposed to detergent pods developed symptoms of toxicity. Eighty-four percent had vomiting, 21 percent experienced coughing, 17 percent became lethargic, and 13 percent developed shortness of breath, wheezing, or other irritation of the respiratory tract.
Another problem with pods is theyre often more accessible to a curious pet than bottled detergent due to their convenient packaging. A pod can easily wind up on the floor where a pet can find it and gnaw on it.Advertisement
The pods are designed to dissolve in water, so saliva from a dogs mouth can weaken the plastic and cause the contents to leak out even if the pet hasnt actually punctured the package.
There is no antidote for poisoning caused by exposure to laundry or dishwasher detergent. The focus of treatment is to dilute the exposed area, typically the mouth, skin or eyes, as much as possible by rinsing until the slick feel of the soap is gone.
If you think your pet has bitten into a detergent pod, first rinse out his mouth until the soapy feeling is gone. Do the same with any other exposed areas. Call your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic right away. If your pet isnt vomiting, your vet may give him small amounts of water or milk to dilute the detergent. If there is detergent on his coat, it should be thoroughly rinsed away.
Needless to say, if your pet has persistent vomiting or difficulty breathing, its doubly important that you see a veterinarian immediately.
Remember to keep all laundry products out of the reach of your pet and young children.
Dr. Karen Becker is a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian. You can visit her site at: MercolaHealthyPets.comAdvertisement
Her goal is to help you create wellness in order to prevent illness in the lives of your pets. This proactive approach seeks to save you and your pet from unnecessary stress and suffering by identifying and removing health obstacles even before disease occurs. Unfortunately, most veterinarians in the United States are trained to be reactive. They wait for symptoms to occur, and often treat those symptoms without addressing the root cause.
By reading Dr. Beckers information, youll learn how to make impactful, consistent lifestyle choices to improve your pets quality of life.
Dishwasher pods are especially dangerous to dogs because they are a concentrated formula, meaning they are smaller but more potent. The level of toxicity will vary by detergent type and your dog’s reaction will vary by size – but all potential poison situations should be handled extremely quickly. Be sure to call us to set a course of action to make sure your dog is not at risk of an extreme reaction.
Dogs have a funny way of keeping us on our toes. Between getting into the trash, chewing the leg of the couch, or even eating dishwasher detergent, it pays to be vigilant in making sure your home is as pet safe as possible. Dog poisoning can come from many common household cleaning products such as dishwasher detergent pods, which is why they should always be kept out of reach from your four-legged buddy.
Here is what to do if your dog ate dishwasher detergent, whether in pod form, or any other form.
Overview of Detergent Pod Toxicity in Dogs
Laundry and dishwasher detergent pods are single use packages of detergent shaped into balls or rectangles shapes commonly referred to as “pods”. The detergent is packaged with an outer wrapper that is easily dissolved by water. The laundry detergent pods come in round and rectangular shapes and attractive colors that attract dogs and appear as toys. Some dogs will play with, bat, chase, as well as bite in to or ingest these “pods”.
Pets have a long history of exposure to various soaps and detergents but the potential for toxicity has increased with the development of washer-friendly “soap pod” packaging.
This new packaging is convenient and cleaner than traditional liquids or powders. However, the toy-like appearance of the pods can attract a pet’s attention more easily than other detergents. In the course of playing, your dog may ingest some or all of the soap as well as the wrapper.
According to the Pet Product Hotline – signs can be severe because they pods are highly concentrated and pressurized. When the pod is punctured, the pressure can cause product to forcefully enter the pets mouth which can be ingested or aspirated (inhaled) in to the lungs. It is also possible for ingestion of a pod to cause ulcerations in the stomach.
What is Dishwasher Detergent?
Dishwasher detergent is used in a dishwasher to get dishes clean. There are different types of dishwasher detergent, including liquid and tablets. These are the most common forms of dishwasher detergent.
Dishwashers need detergents that work to clean the dishes. The ingredients in these products work to make water wetter by reducing surface tension. This helps remove food particles from dishes. In addition, dishwasher detergents make the water soft so that the detergent can be more effective. Detergent must also remove grease and oil while suppressing foam. Dishwasher detergent also helps water “sheet” off surfaces of dishes to keep water spots to a minimum.
Dishwasher detergents typically include the following ingredients:
Dishwasher detergents are very effective at cleaning dishes but what happens if a dog eats dishwasher detergent?
What do you do if your dog eats a detergent pod?
Is dishwasher soap toxic to dogs?
Is dishwasher pod toxic?
Standard liquid household detergents and soaps rarely cause serious injury if swallowed accidentally. However, single-use laundry or dishwasher detergent packets, or “pods” are more concentrated. Therefore, they are more likely to damage the esophagus.
What happens if a dog eats detergent?