My Dog Drank Motor Oil What Should I Do? (Reviewed by Vet)

Reviewed By Rebecca MacMillan, BVetMed BSAVA PGCertSAM MRCVS •  Updated: 03/25/24 •  4 min read
Dog Severe Toxicity Level
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Many of us have cars with combustion engines. So, what do they all have in common? They require motor oil to run and keep the engine in good shape. But what happens when a dog drinks motor oil? Will the motor oil make the dog sick?

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Has your dog drunk motor oil? Are you worried the motor oil will make the dog sick? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. We understand it can be scary when your dog drinks something like this.

In this article, we’ve put together information about motor oil and whether it can make a dog sick. Let’s get started!

Dog Drank Motor Oil

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

What is Motor Oil?

Motor oil is an engine lubricant, which contains additives to help keep the engine in good shape. The additives and the oil keep the engine from becoming damaged from high friction rates and wear on moving parts. It also keeps the engine free of sludge and other debris.

But what happens if a dog drinks motor oil? Will the motor oil make the dog sick?

Motor Oil & Dogs

Unfortunately, motor oil is highly   to dogs. If your dog has had a small lick of motor oil, chances are he will be OK. However, if your dog has had a larger drink of motor oil, then he could become very sick.

Symptoms of Motor Oil Toxicity in Dogs

Your dog may show the following symptoms if he’s drunk motor oil:

Motor oil is extremely poisonous. If you notice these symptoms in your dog, then call the vet immediately. This is an emergency.

Don’t wait to see if your dog’s symptoms worsen or improve. He needs medical treatment ASAP, or the poisoning could lead to death.

How Does the Vet Diagnose a Dog for Motor Oil Poisoning?

The vet will take samples from your dog’s GI tract, lungs, liver, and kidneys. They may also run blood tests on your fur baby. The tests will show whether your dog’s system shows it contains hydrocarbons or toxic additives that may be in the motor oil.

Treatment of Motor Oil Ingestion in Dogs

The vet may treat your dog through the use of activated charcoal and/or by performing gastric lavage, to flush their stomach out. Some dogs may also require IV fluids, supplemental oxygen, and other medications to treat symptoms that may arise.

In this case, the vet usually will not induce vomiting, as there is a risk of aspiration.

A dog who has petroleum related aspiration pneumonia can be a little more challenging to treat. The vet may give the dog antibiotics if the dog has a bacterial infection. However, steroids are usually not given in a case like this. That’s because they can make this condition worse. And there’s not much a vet can do if the dog has permanent lung damage from inhaling motor oil.

If your fur baby has had skin contact with the motor oil, the vet will wash the area with mild soap and water. They may also prescribe creams that can limit the amount of irritation your dog experiences.

Dogs who have a mild case of motor oil poisoning usually make a full recovery, especially if they receive medical treatment as soon as possible.

Prevent Motor Oil Toxicity in Dogs

There are some steps you can take to keep your dog out of motor oil and other petroleum products, including:

Clean up leaks & spills: as soon as they happen. This is the most common way that dogs are exposed to motor oil and other household chemicals.

Keep fluids stored properly: be sure to keep motor oil and other chemicals stored where your dog can’t gain access to them. You may want to consider installing a cabinet high off the ground where your dog can’t get to it. Keep all chemicals in the cabinet and keep the cabinet locked.

Proper disposal: avoid keeping oil motor oil where your dog can get it. Instead, find a facility that accepts used motor oil. This is the proper way to dispose of motor oil and other chemicals.

So, be sure to keep your dog away from motor oil and other petroleum products!

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Rebecca MacMillan, BVetMed BSAVA PGCertSAM MRCVS

This article has been reviewed and approved by an independent Veterinarian: Rebecca is a companion animal vet who has always had a passion for writing and client communication. Since her graduation from the Royal Veterinary college in 2009 she has gained a wealth of experience in first opinion small animal practice, in both clinical and managerial roles. She currently works in the South West and deals with a variety of routine and emergency appointments, but particularly enjoys medicine cases. Outside of work and writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, including her bouncy flat coated retriever George!

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