What is Laundry or Dishwasher Detergent Pod Toxicity?
Pods that contain detergent, either for the dishwasher or for laundry, have gained popularity over the last few years. They are easily used, as the consumer only needs to take one pod and add it to the wash. For many, this is an easier solution than pouring or measuring the detergent needed to either wash dishes or do a load of laundry. Laundry or dishwasher detergent pods can be dangerous to dogs. This is because one pod contains a much higher concentration of detergent. They are also often easily accessible to dogs because they may be left in open containers in which the dog can easily grab one. Pods can also be dropped on the floor without the owner’s knowledge, and the dog can be curious and investigate the object by putting it into his mouth.
Like any laundry or dishwashing detergent, a single pod quickly dissolves in water. When a dog grasps a pod in his mouth, his saliva activates the plastic that contains the detergent and it quickly dissolves in his mouth. The oozing contents make contact with his mouth and may be swallowed. Toxicity can occur with just one dosage, as these pods contain concentrated amounts of detergents with anionic surfactants, which yield electrically negative colloidal molecules or atoms (ions) in solution.
Laundry or dishwasher detergent pod toxicity in dogs result from dogs ingesting one or more than one pod, causing gastrointestinal upset and other harmful symptoms.
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Symptoms of Laundry or Dishwasher Detergent Pod Toxicity in Dogs
Your dog may experience symptoms immediately when the mouth and saliva come into contact with the pod. If swallowed, gastrointestinal upset will occur. Symptoms include:
- Shaking of the head
- Rubbing the mouth with his paws
- Excessive tongue licking
- Respiratory distress
There are many types of detergent pods available today that contain anionic mixtures. Types include:
- Dishwashing detergent pods
- Laundry detergent pods
Other detergents that are toxic to dogs are cationic mixtures. They are not usually found in pods. They include:
- Fabric softeners
Causes of Laundry or Dishwasher Detergent Pod Toxicity in Dogs
Causes of dishwashing or laundry detergent poisoning begin with the dog ingesting the pod. Pods are easy for the dog to pick up in his mouth. Specific causes include:
- Anionic surfactants making contact with saliva
- Dissolving anionic surfactants in the mouth
- Swallowing of the detergent, causing gastrointestinal upset
Diagnosis of Laundry or Dishwasher Detergent Pod Toxicity in Dogs
If you realize your dog has gotten into a pod, immediately try to remove the pod and plastic that may still be in his mouth. If it has dissolved or burst open, immediately flush out his mouth, eyes, or skin with water and call your veterinarian.
Take your dog to a veterinary hospital as soon as possible. Once you arrive, your veterinarian will assess your dog and begin to immediately treat his symptoms.
If you are unsure that your dog ingested a pod, and he is experiencing the above symptoms, it is important to also take him to the veterinarian as soon as you notice the symptoms. Your veterinarian will assess the clinical signs, do a complete physical examination, take blood work, perform a urinalysis, and perform any other necessary testing.
If your dog is already vomiting, the veterinarian may be able to test the expelled contents to know specifically what is causing his gastrointestinal upset. More than likely, you will be able to know your dog has eaten a pod because he will have the smell of the strong, concentrated detergent on his breath and may also have a slick, soapy mouth or face area.
Treatment of Laundry or Dishwasher Detergent Pod Toxicity in Dogs
If your pet has ingested a laundry or dishwashing detergent pod, your veterinarian will treat your dog according to the severity of his symptoms. Treatment methods will include:
If you have not already done so, your veterinarian will wash out your dog’s mouth, eyes, and any facial areas that came into contact with the detergent.
The veterinarian may give your dog milk, egg whites, or water if the detergent has been ingested. Milk and egg whites help coat the stomach and help relieve the upset gastrointestinal area. These substances also dilute the concentrated substance found in the pod.
Through your dog’s IV fluids, medication may be given to help with any pain your dog may be experiencing in his abdomen. If your dog has been vomiting, IV fluids will help restore any lost electrolytes and prevent dehydration.
Recovery of Laundry or Dishwasher Detergent Pod Toxicity in Dogs
Once your dog is able to come home from the veterinary visit or the hospitalization, it will be important to monitor him and watch for any new symptoms.
Your veterinarian may suggest a bland diet to help with his stomach upset and to allow his stomach to heal. Your veterinarian may prescribe a prescription dog food or will give you a list of foods you can make for him at home; boiled chicken and rice are usually the foods of choice for a few days.
Your veterinarian will want to see your dog again to be sure he is recovering in a timely manner. In terms of prognosis of detergent pod toxicity, chances of recovery are good. This does, however, depend on how much he consumed and the severity of the toxicity your dog suffered.
In order to prevent this from happening again, be sure to store laundry detergent or dish detergent pods up high and out of your dog’s reach. Be sure to always watch your dog, especially if he is the curious type, for signs of ingestion of poisonous substances.
Laundry or Dishwasher Detergent Pod Toxicity Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My dog had eaten a Casacade Dishpod and I haven’t seen any symptoms yet. I washed his mouth out with a rag and water, and fed his 2 slices of bread. (I followed another users steps). Still waiting for anything to happen.
Will do! Thank you so much!
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When morning My dog was playing he took the scrub and ate vessel dishwasher scrub morning and he has vomited thrice not drinking water also ..he is keeping quiet and feeling uneasiness and if some one goes near he might bite... please suggest
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I washed mouth and tongue out with a wet rag. Then fed him a piece of bread. He vomited all his dinner and the bread about 30 minutes after he bit into the pod. There was no foam or bubbles in the vomit. He has been playing and is now sleeping.
It seems like you reacted with some good first aid; if he vomited up the bread and you didn’t notice any bubbles or just any detergent, it is a positive sign. Some detergents may cause irritation to the gastrointestinal tract and may also cause scar tissue to form in severe cases. If Chevy has trouble eating or seems to be in discomfort, visit your Veterinarian immediately. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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