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What is Detergent Poisoning?

There are many household items that are toxic to animals, including to our dogs. Many of the laundry detergents used within the home are toxic to dogs; however, they do not always show up on lists of cleaners that are poisonous. Ionic surfactants and anionic surfactants are in these products, and even when they are ingested in small quantities the dog can become sick. The dog will have several different symptoms depending on the detergent ingested, as well as the amount ingested. The first signs are usually upset stomach and drooling from the mouth. An item that doesn't 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.

Detergent poisoning in dogs is the result of a dog ingesting detergent, or other household cleaners, at a quantity where it becomes toxic. Detergent poisoning in dogs must be treated at the very first sign of ingestion of the product or when symptoms begin to occur.

Detergent Poisoning Average Cost

From 49 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Detergent Poisoning in Dogs

Symptoms of detergent poisoning may slightly vary, but they are very obvious and a veterinarian must be seen as soon as possible. Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal lesions
  • Lack of appetite
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Burns or lesions in the mouth
  • Excessive watering of the mouth
  • Disorientation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Seizures
  • Collapse
  • Eye irritations
  • Skin irritation
  • Hair loss

Types

They are many detergents on the market today and they are divided into categories. Types of detergents include:

  • Soaps, such as for laundry and bathing
  • Anionic detergents, such as dish soap, dishwashing detergents, and shampoos
  • Cationic detergents, including disinfectants, fabric softeners, and sanitizing agents
  • Nonionic detergents, such as shampoos, dishwashing detergents, and laundry detergents
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Causes of Detergent Poisoning in Dogs

The cause of detergent poisoning in dogs is from the ingestion of anywhere from a small quantity to large amounts of household detergent. The ingestion of this product as well as the dermal exposure to it can cause extensive damage to the eyes, mucus membranes and skin. A pet can walk through a detergent spill and then lick the substance from the paws or fur, extending the damage from one type to all three (oral, ocular and dermal).

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Diagnosis of Detergent Poisoning in Dogs

It is very important to not induce any vomiting if you suspect or are definite that your dog has ingested detergent. You may flush out the mouth or skin thirty minutes with running water, or if it has gotten into the eyes flush the eyes with water for twenty minutes. It is a good idea to be doing this after you have called the veterinarian to communicate with the physician that you are bringing your dog in for an appointment. Once the veterinarian learns more about with the dog may have ingested, or definitely swallowed, he will begin acting immediately. The physician may choose to do blood work for urinalysis if he is unsure of what is causing the symptoms, and he may do other tests to come up with a definitive diagnosis. More than likely, he will know the diagnosis is detergent poisoning by his symptoms and by hearing from you the type of detergent in which the dog ingested.

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Treatment of Detergent Poisoning in Dogs

Specific treatment is unavailable and it will depends on the type of detergent and the amount that the dog swallowed. There is no antidote; supportive care may be needed in the form of intravenous for medications such as gastroprotectants and antibiotics due to the corrosive nature of the product. A small amount of laundry detergent that was ingested will have a completely different mode of treatment than a large amount ingested. Treatment also depends on the type of toxic agent that the dog swallowed, such as cationic, nonionic, or anionic. The veterinarian will determine the method of treatment as he finds more information and the specifics of the poisoning. How long your pet will remain in the hospital will depend on the severity of the effects of the toxin and whether measures like respiratory assistance or tube insertion (for the stomach in the event of burns and ulceration) are necessary.

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Recovery of Detergent Poisoning in Dogs

Detergent poisoning has a prognosis of fair to good, and this prognosis depends on the detergent. Most dogs that receive treatment as soon as possible will recover. To prevent future poisoning events, it is important to keep all detergents and cleaning products out of the dog’s reach when he is at home alone. It is also important to always know where your dog is within the home and to keep an eye on him.

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Detergent Poisoning Average Cost

From 49 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

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Detergent Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Chiweenie

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Five Months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Licked Tiny Bit Of Tide Pod

I was wondering if my puppy licked a small amount of tide pod from a previously made puncture (none got on her) and wanted to see what I should watch for or do!

Aug. 21, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I'm sorry that your puppy has this problem. Detergent can be very toxic to the lungs and the stomach, and she may need to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. If you are not able to take her in to see your veterinarian right away, you can monitor her for signs of vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, or diarrhea. Also, any signs of breathing problems or coughing. If any of those things occur, she does need to be seen by a veterinarian right away. I hope that all goes well for her and she is okay.

Aug. 21, 2020

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Hound

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Nine Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

Dog ate large clump of hair from the drain

July 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. The only problem that I could see you with that would be some GI upset. It would be best to monitor your dog closely over the next 48 hours for any signs of vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or less of appetite. If he does have any of those problems, it would be best to have him seen by your veterinarian, but I suspect that you will see none of them. I hope that all goes well for him.

July 28, 2020

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Mini poodle

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

She drank water that our washer drains outside with laundry detergent and fabric softener in it and has now puked three times

July 15, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello So sorry to see that your pet is vomiting. It sounds like she may have a case of an irritated stomach (gastritis) from ingesting water contaminated with chemicals. It is recommended that you take her to a veterinarian for an exam. They will be able to give her a medication to stop the vomiting. Hope she feels better soon.

July 15, 2020

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mixed

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Five Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

I think my dog found an old cap for laundry softener. It hadn't been used in forever, but apparently was in a pile of laundry on the floor. He and our even younger puppy were playing with it. I grabbed it as soon as I realized. Both of their breathes smelled of the softener. I gave them both water, wiped their paws and their mouth, but I am concerned because I do not know how much was ingested by either pup.

July 9, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It is unlikely with that very small amount of softener, having chewed on a cap, that they will have any toxic side effects. If you notice any vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or loss of appetite, then it would be best to see a veterinarian, but I suspect they will be okay.

July 9, 2020

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Mollie

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Beagle

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5 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

This is disgusting, but our toilet was clogged and we were told dishwasher detergent would help get it going again. Then we caught our dog drinking the vile mixture out of the toilet bowl. There was probably a couple of tablespoons mixed with the entire bowl full of water (and other stuff) So far, she is not showing symptoms and seems normal. If she doesn't show symptoms, do you think she'll be alright? Of course it's a Sunday and a vet visit would cost about $500.

Aug. 26, 2018

Mollie's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

I'm sorry that happened with Mollie - dogs eat the strangest things. With the small amount of detergent, it is unlikely that she will have any ill effects, but the mix of the water she ate may cause some GI upset. If she is vomiting, having diarrhea, or seems lethargic, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian, but if she is acting normally otherwise, you may be fine to monitor her for any signs.

Aug. 26, 2018

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Trishia, Pinchi, and Crusoe

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Dachshund

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Crying ,Loss Appetite , Rough Hair

I have three dogs that are bathed with laundry dettergent by my dad. He says that the tick and fleas will die. I was asleep when he bathed my dogs. I could have stop him. I couldnt bring them to a vet due to corona virus quarantine. What first aid remedy can I do?

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Binks

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Gordon Setter

dog-age-icon

14 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy

Gave my dog a bath with Dawn Dish soap, the blue stuff as was recommended for really bad fleas. I may have missed some and now hes not acting right, I'm worried that he ingested a small anmount that may have been on his body still.

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Diamond

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Bully Kutta

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4 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None Yet

My 4 month old puppy may have (I emphasize may have) ingested some heavy duty household powdered cleaner. He got the box out from under the sink and the box corner is wet and chewed on and powder was all over the floor but I dont know if he actually consumed any at all. it's been about 30 mins hes not showing any signs what should I watch for- I cant afford a vet if I dont have to.

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Tennessee

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Catahoula mix

dog-age-icon

9 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

My dog Tennessee tore apart a brand new SOS pad. It doesn’t appear that she has eaten any of it. But the blue powder is everywhere. Is it harmful, have had no luck finding out.

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enzo

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Shih Tzu

dog-age-icon

9 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting And Diarria

my dog enzo is making a weird sound and he had shampoo and i wanna make sure he alright and he vomiting soap and i dont know what to do i need help right away and we cant go to the vet so what should i do for know

Detergent Poisoning Average Cost

From 49 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

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