My Dog Ate a Bar of Soap! What Should I Do?
There are dogs that are known for eating different kinds of things other than food. One of them is a bar of soap. This substance is not lethal to our pets. However, they can produce a host of worrisome gastrointestinal problems. Here is what to do if your dog eats soap.
Call Your Veterinarian
If you saw your pet consuming a bar of detergent, then there is only one thing you have to do. It is imperative that you call your veterinarian right away.
It’s true that detergent is not lethal to pets. This is because most of the ingredients used in bar soaps do not have life-threatening properties. Unfortunately, there are still a number of issues that every pet owner has to contend with.
First, if the dog eats a bar of soap whole, there is a chance that the substance can get lodged somewhere along the dog’s gastrointestinal tract. It can get stuck in the esophagus. This can place pressure on the windpipe in front of the esophagus which could restrict the dog’s ability to breathe.
If the detergent bar gets stuck in the small intestines, it can interfere with the digestion and absorption of nutrients. The different chemicals found in soap can also affect the acidity of the intestinal lumen. If the soap bar moves into the colon, there is also the risk of it getting impacted. This will make it difficult for the dog to move its bowels.
What happens if a dog eats soap? In addition to the signs of gastrointestinal obstruction, there can also be other manifestations. These can include vomiting, lack of appetite, disorientation, and excessive salivation. It is also possible that the dog will present with loose bowel movements, abdominal swelling, and muscle weakness.
If the soap contains essential oils, there is a risk of causing lethargy and other manifestations. There can also be skin and eye irritation. This is often related to the soap suds getting into the dog’s eyes and surrounding skin. They can irritate these organs and cause localized inflammation.
Calling your veterinarian will give you an idea of what you should do next. He may advise you to watch your pet for the next 24 hours. This is especially true if you have no idea as to the exact amount of soap that the dog ingested.
If your pet appears fine within the first 24 to 48 hours, then you should not worry about anything else. You may want to wash its mouth and muzzle. Check if there are soap suds. These can get into the dog’s eyes and cause irritation. Washing the dog will help remove extra soap on its skin and coat.
If you notice persistent symptoms within 24 hours, then you should take your canine friend to the vet. Some of the symptoms you need to watch out for include diarrhea, vomiting, pain, bloating, unusual posturing, and increased pacing. The dog may also have issues breathing or there is swelling in its mouth area or face.
Bring Your Canine Friend to the Clinic
There are pet owners who always ask “my dog ate a bar of soap; what should I do next?” If you have not called your veterinarian by this time, it is best to bring your pet to the nearest veterinary clinic. Do not attempt to induce vomiting in your pet using home remedies.
One has to understand that bar soaps contain different chemicals. These substances can react in a very different manner to the so-called “universal” home remedies to induce vomiting. You will never know if you are helping your canine friend or not.
Induced vomiting also tends to create acid-base and electrolyte imbalances. The dog can suffer from metabolic alkalosis because of the loss of hydrochloric acids from its stomach. This can present another concern for the pet owner. As such, trust your veterinarian when he tells you to bring the dog to the clinic.
The veterinarian can make a comprehensive assessment of your dog’s health status. He can focus on determining whether there is intestinal obstruction or not. It is also advisable to bring with you any information about the soap that your dog ate. For example, you can bring an empty box or packaging of the detergent. This will give the veterinarian an idea of the chemical composition of the soap.
In most cases, the veterinarian will perform a gastric lavage. He will introduce a solution into the dog’s stomach in an attempt to neutralize the soap chemicals. The volume of the solution will also help dilute the substances, while facilitating its evacuation through the large intestines and the anus.
There are also veterinarians who may administer activated charcoal. The adsorptive properties of charcoal can help draw soap substances instead of them getting absorbed through the intestinal wall. Veterinarians can also induce vomiting under controlled conditions.
Your dog may also require hospitalization. It may need intravenous fluid therapy to compensate for the fluid and electrolyte losses due to induced vomiting.
Veterinarians will also try to determine any underlying cause of the canine pica. Thyroid disease, diabetes, malnutrition, and inflammatory bowel disease are some of the most common reasons why dogs eat non-food items. It is wise to determine the presence of these health problems to put a stop to the soap bar-eating behavior of the dog.
Secure the Soap and Other Potentially-Harmful Products in the House
If your dog eats bar of soap, let it be a learning experience for you. Make sure to secure all bars of soap, detergents, and other household items that can bring harm to your pet. Keep these items out of your dog’s reach. Bear in mind that there are canines that are very intelligent. They can open drawers and cabinets without their owners knowing.
Pet owners should also consider giving their dogs durable chew toys. One of the reasons why canine pets eat non-food items is because of boredom. Giving them something to chew for countless hours can help.
If you suspect your pet dog ate a bar of soap, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian. You may observe your pet for the first 24 hours of ingesting the soap. However, a more comprehensive management is necessary should the symptoms persist.