Catching your dog eating something they’re not supposed to can be a scary experience. One common household item naughty dogs love to chew on is bars of soap. Some soaps can be toxic to dogs and cause gastrointestinal issues, such as vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, the effects may be even more serious and damage your dog’s stomach or mouth. If your dog ate a bar of soap, it’s crucial to act fast. Here’s what you should do if your dog eats soap, and how to prevent an emergency vet visit. 

Step One: Take it Away

When you see your dog doing something that could potentially cause him harm, a firm “no” is necessary. Make sure he hears and acknowledges the “no,” and remove the soap from his mouth right away

If your dog is lapping up spilled liquid soap, lead him away from the puddle. Cover the puddle with a towel so he can’t get any more. If your dog has gotten a bar of soap, remove it from his mouth. 

Once you’re confident your dog can no longer access the soap, gently pry open his mouth. Check for any remnants and remove them immediately. NEVER INDUCE VOMITING. 

Step Two: Call Your Veterinarian 

As soon as the soap is gone, don’t waste any more time: call your vet. They know your dog, and they are the best judge of what to do when her health is jeopardized. If the vet is not readily available, contact the ASPCA’s emergency hotline

Step Three: Determine What Kind of Soap It Was

This will be the first question your vet, or the poison control hotline operator, will ask. Be mindful that your dog’s reaction to the soap depends on the type of soap. 

Most soap contains chemicals that are poisonous for dogs. For example, glycerin, a common ingredient in soaps, is known to cause severe gastrointestinal damage in dogs. Essential oils can also be extremely toxic. Lavender, pine oil, and wintergreen can even be deadly. While there are all-natural soaps that may not cause your dog harm, you can’t take any chances. No soap is designed for dogs to eat, so it presents an automatic cause for concern.

Step Four: Figure Out Why He Ate It

In general, dogs don’t want to eat soap. Most soap has a strong odor that smells nothing like the food dogs enjoy. Some soap contains fats and oils that might attract your dog on a visceral level. But the average dog will not find the taste of soap appealing. 

Puppies are most likely to eat soap or other harmful items. Like human babies, their gums are sensitive, and they yearn to explore the world via their mouths. They also lack the awareness that older dogs have when it comes to what is safe to eat.

If your dog is older, there is no healthy reason that he’d want to eat soap. Be on the lookout for symptoms of pica, a condition which causes dogs to crave non-edible objects.


Dogs eating soap is a dangerous scenario, but it’s also a very preventable one. Follow these rules to keep soap away from your dog:

  • Only buy pet-safe brands. As we said earlier, all-natural soaps do exist and don’t pose as much of a threat when dogs eat them. If you have a puppy or a dog with pica, buying safe products is your best option.
  • Keep soap on a shelf. Dogs should never have immediate access to toxic products like soap. Keep all bars of soap and liquid detergents far away from your dog. 

Emergency Vet Clinic in Gilbert

At East Valley Animal Hospital, we care just as much about your dog’s safety as you do. Even if your dog eats soap that appears non-toxic, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you have any questions after your dog ate soap, or would like to make an emergency appointment, please don’t hesitate to call 480-892-1577.

Image by on Didier on Pixabay.