When you think your dog just ate the weirdest thing you could imagine, they surprise you by eating something even more absurd. Did you know, for example, that some dogs have a real passion for soap?
That’s right, if your dog ate a bar of soap, be assured they’re not alone. Soap eating is more common in dogs than you think and luckily enough, it shouldn’t cause much trouble beyond an upset stomach because in most cases, soap isn’t toxic to dogs.
What should you do if your dog ate a bar of soap?
The first thing you want to do if your dog just ate a bar of soap is to take the remaining soap away from them. Although soap isn’t usually dangerous, ingestions related to foreign objects are among the primary causes of accidental death in dogs and you don’t want to risk it.
The first 24 hours after the ingestion are usually the most critical, as most dogs show a wide range of symptoms and discomfort after eating soap, but it usually passes within a day.
In case your dog is still feeling sick after more than 24 hours, a medical check-up will probably become necessary to understand what’s going on.
In that case, it will be important to bring along a sample of the soap or even better the original package to check the components and quickly identify what could be harming your dog.
What should you do if your puppy ate soap?
If your puppy is chewing soap, it may be related to their teething process. This is actually lucky because it means you can simply keep the soap away from them and they’ll find something else to try their teeth on (puppy teething chew toys are recommended).
Puppies during teething are not trying to eat the soap, but if your puppy eats some soap by mistake, remember to keep an eye on them for a few hours or even a whole day.
There aren’t any major risks related to puppies eating soap and they’re usually not more at risk than adult dogs, but you may want to call your veterinarian just in case.
What you should not do when your dog ate soap.
Don’t leave your dog unsupervised after they ingested soap. This way, you can be ready to intervene if something goes wrong. Also, the soap is most probably going to come out in the following hours and there will be a lot of cleaning to do.
Do not try to induce vomiting in your dog. This is common practice when a dog ingests a foreign object, but it’s useless with soap and it could turn into a dangerous maneuver.
Do not attempt any homemade remedy or intervention. Play safe and contact your veterinarian if you feel like your dog is in danger or if the symptoms go beyond simple vomiting and diarrhea.
What happens if a dog eats a bar of soap?
Although soap doesn’t put your dog into an immediate life-threatening situation, when your pooch eats soap there will be unpleasant consequences.
The most common symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea, and you can expect a lot of both as your dog tries to push out the soap. Let’s just say that during the first 24 hours after the ingestion it will be particularly hard to keep your house clean.
A smaller percentage of dogs experience other symptoms or issues related to the ingestion of bar soap, ranging from allergic reactions to intestinal blockage.
But at least, if your dog ate Dove soap or if your dog ate Ivory soap, they should be safe from unwanted complications, in fact, these soaps are made with non-toxic ingredients that shouldn’t be particularly harmful to your dog.
Although rare, some dogs might experience uncommon symptoms such as mouth swelling or breathing difficulty after swallowing a bar of soap.
These symptoms are usually related to allergies, which could be provoked by some additives contained in the soap, for example, those that provide different dyes or scents to the soap.
Allergic reactions are severely dangerous because they can quickly escalate and become fatal for your dog, especially if they can’t breathe anymore.
In this case, you should immediately bring your dog to the veterinarian for an emergency visit. Since there is no time to waste in these situations, it would also be wise to make a preventive call to warn about your arrival, so they can set up the emergency room for your pooch.
As your dog plays, chews, and bites the soap, they might get some of it into their eyes.
If you notice an uncommon redness in your dog’s eyes, they can’t keep them open properly or they’re a little teary, simply wash their face with water carefully.
This kind of irritation shouldn’t be worrying and it shouldn’t last long after you properly cleaned the eyes. However, if the symptom doesn’t go away or is recurring and getting worse, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian.
Soap melts easily, so it’s not usually listed among the things that can cause gastrointestinal blockage in dogs. However, if your dog has swallowed a big piece of soap whole or is a very small dog, there is still this risk and it shouldn’t be underestimated.
A dog that is experiencing a blockage in the stomach or intestines, on top of vomiting and diarrhea usually shows one or more of these symptoms:
– Abdominal pain: your dog shows explicit pain when touched on the belly or is unable to lie properly/in the usual positions. This is a clear sign of obstruction in the intestines.
– Lack of appetite: your dog shows less interest in his food or even none at all. They might be too sick to eat or they feel unable to keep the food down because of the obstruction. This symptom is usually followed by extreme weakness and lethargy.
– Visible discomfort or pain: your dog shows abnormal behavior, obsessive pacing, or whining. This symptom can be different for every dog and only you will be able to tell if your dog is acting out of the ordinary.
Gastrointestinal blockage requires immediate medical assistance because if untreated it can escalate in inflammation of the organs, internal bleeding, necrosis, and even death.
Upon medical examination, your veterinarian will be able to decide the proper course of action to take. In some cases, surgery may be required.
The term ‘soap’ is sometimes used to indicate other home products such as detergents for your dishes or laundry, or bathroom products like shampoo. However, they are absolutely not the same thing.
Some famous brands produce a large variety of different soaps, but not all of them are harmless for your dog. If your dog ate Dial soap, for example, it will make a great difference if they ate a simple, unscented, non-toxic soap bar or an antibacterial liquid soap.
There are hundreds of different detergents on the market and each of them can be harmful in a different way. Some may cause damage to the organs (especially the liver and kidneys), others may cause bad chemical burns.
Ingestion of detergents or soaps with additives will require a medical examination as soon as possible. When in doubt, or if you’re momentarily unable to bring your pet to the veterinarian, you can call the Pet Poison Hotline.
Why do dogs like soap?
Dogs don’t like soap, but they’re attracted to it. There is no specific reason behind this behavior, but we need to remember that dogs explore the world through their nose and mouth and are also quite reckless when it comes to something that sparks their curiosity.
Some soap may have a particular scent that is attractive to them or they might be going through some kind of tooth discomfort (this usually happens with puppies as they grow their first teeth).
However, most dogs will learn their lesson after eating soap once or twice. If your dog has recurring episodes of eating soap or other non-edible things, you might be facing a different issue.
There may be several causes behind this condition, from eating disorders, wrong or poor diets, boredom, abandonment issues, or other psychological problems.
If you suspect that your dog may be affected by pica, you should discuss your options with your veterinary. There are many ways to deal with this condition, depending on what the cause is.
For some dogs, it will be enough to fix their diet, others may need more stimulation during their daily activities, and some may require behavioral training.
Is soap safe for dogs?
There is no straight answer. Although soap is not toxic to dogs, it will still cause discomfort for your pet and there might be cases where it can get unexpectedly dangerous.
Soap is not an edible item and as such, your dog shouldn’t have free access to soap and shouldn’t be allowed to play with it or eat it.
Don’t confuse soap with detergent, as the latter can be extremely dangerous and even toxic for your pet.
Make sure to store soap away from your dog and if they’re big chewers, provide your dog with safe dog chew toys that are designed for them.