My Dog Ate Shampoo What Should I Do?

Reviewed By Julie •  Updated: 12/29/23 •  4 min read
Dog Moderate Toxicity Level
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Most of us pet parents use shampoo on a regular basis. And it can happen that our dogs come into the bathroom when we’re washing our hair. If they find some shampoo or suds on the floor, some dogs may even eat the shampoo! Well, that’s not the worst thing they could eat!

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But is human shampoo toxic to dogs? Can human shampoo make dogs sick?

Shampoo Ingredients Can Make a Dog Sick

There’s something called detergent poisoning that can happen to dogs who eat shampoo. Most of the ingredients are not poisonous; however, there are some that can make dogs sick. These include anionic or nonionic surfactants, which are ingredients that make shampoo foam up. Shampoos generally contain non-ionic detergents.

If a dog eats only a little bit of shampoo, these ingredients may cause some digestive issues. In most cases, the dog will be OK. However, he can develop detergent poisoning after eating a large amount of shampoo.

It is strongly recommended to contact a Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian.

Symptoms of detergent poisoning can include:

If you know or suspect your dog has eaten a large amount of shampoo, then it’s a good idea to call the vet right away.

What Causes Detergent Poisoning in Dogs?

Detergent poisoning is caused by dogs ingesting detergent. Your fur baby’s symptoms can vary, depending on the amount of shampoo he’s eaten. Ingesting shampoo can also cause skin and eye exposure, causing damage to your fur baby’s eyes, mucus membranes, and skin.

If your dog also walks through spilled shampoo and licks his paws or fur, he may develop the symptoms of detergent poisoning.

Diagnosis of Detergent Poisoning in Dogs

Diagnosis of detergent poisoning is usually based on whether your dog has ingested detergent or not. If so, the vet will then check your dog for changes to his tongue, oral burns, etc. There are no specific blood tests for this condition; however, bloodwork can rule out other medical conditions. In some cases, the vet may need to do an endoscopy to determine the damage caused by the shampoo ingestion.

Chemical burns on your dog’s tongue may cause the surface skin tissue to become white. The edges of his tongue may also appear red and raw.

In an endoscopic exam, the vet is looking at your dog’s digestive system to check for chemical burns.

Note: do not induce vomiting unless this is recommended by your vet.

When you get to the vet’s office, they will perform a physical exam of your dog, as well as running lab work. Treatment will depend on the type of symptoms your dog is having, as well as on the severity of the symptoms.

Treatment of Detergent Poisoning in Dogs

Treatment may involve giving your dog an IV in order to rehydrate him if he’s had a lot of vomiting and diarrhea. The vet may also give medications to your dog through the IV, which may include gastroprotectants and antibiotics, which work to protect your dog’s digestive system. IVs also work to flush the poison from your dog’s system.

Your fur baby may need to stay in the hospital one or more days if his symptoms were very severe. In that case, the vet will monitor your dog for any other symptoms and treat any that may develop.

In most cases, dogs that have ingested a large amount of shampoo have a very good chance of a full recovery. That’s especially the case if they’ve received prompt medical treatment.

Recovery from Detergent Poisoning in Dogs

Detergent poisoning can be fair or good, depending on the type of detergent in the shampoo and the amount your dog ingested. Most dogs who receive prompt treatment usually make a complete recovery.

Prevent Detergent Poisoning

For this reason, it’s always a good idea to keep all detergents including shampoos out of your dog’s reach. Consider storing shampoo on a high shelf or high cabinet, out of your fur baby’s reach. And if you happen to spill some shampoo, then clean it up quickly before your dog has a chance to snarf it up.

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Julie

Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she studied Animal science. Though contrary to the opinion of her parents she was meant to study pharmacy, but she was in love with animals especially cats. Julie currently works in an animal research institute (NGO) in California and loves spending quality time with her little cat. She has the passion for making research about animals, how they survive, their way of life among others and publishes it. Julie is also happily married with two kids.

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