Catching your puppy gnawing on a bar of soap is alarming. If you jump into action right away, chances are he’ll be just fine. But you need to act quickly and have your wits about you. Otherwise, the soap can wreak havoc on your dog’s body, damaging his stomach, mouth, and more.
Here at East Valley Animal Hospital in Gilbert, we’ve seen dogs consume all kinds of toxins. We’re prepared for any kind of emergency, but of course prevention is always the best medicine. Part of preventing such emergencies is educating you. Here is what to do if your dog eats soap.
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.
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 harmful for dogs. Glycerin, a common ingredient in soaps, is known to cause severe gastrointestinal damage in dogs. In addition, soaps with essential oils, especially lavender, pine oil or wintergreen, can 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 products as harmful as soap. Keep them far away from your dog.
Your Local Vet in Gilbert
At East Valley Animal Hospital, we care just as much about your dog’s safety as you do. If you have further questions about what to do if your dog eats soap, don’t hesitate to call us.