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My Dog Ate Vaseline: Here’s What to Do (Vet Approved Advice)

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By Kerry-Ann Kerr

hand scooping some vaseline from the jar

Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Some dogs will find mischief in places you’d never expect, and eat things that you wouldn’t think of as being edible. Fortunately, of all the things your curious canine might find in your medicine cabinet, vaseline is one of the least harmful.

Vaseline is petroleum jelly, which sounds toxic, but actually isn’t. If your dog has a lick or two from your jar of vaseline, it would be very unusual to see any adverse reactions. However, if they eat a lot of it, they are likely to end up with some gastrointestinal upset.

If you are worried that your dog has eaten a large amount, or if they are showing any signs of distress or illness, you must contact your vet right away.

Let’s take a closer look at the effects vaseline may have on your dog.

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What Should You Do After Your Dog Eats Vaseline?

If you’ve witnessed your dog eating Vaseline or noticed a large chunk missing from the tub and suspect it’s happened, what should you do next?

  • Remove the vaseline, or remove the dog from the vaseline; whichever is more practical. See if you can work out how much they ate, or if they ate anything else.
  • Contact your vet – if your dog has eaten or licked a very small amount, monitoring them will be advised, but if they have eaten a large amount, or if you suspect they may have eaten anything else, your vet may recommend they be seen.
  • Do not make them vomit. It is not necessary, and the only real risk to your dog is if they were to breathe in (aspirate) any vaseline, which may occur if you make them vomit at home. Vaseline in the airways can be dangerous, so do not be tempted to try to induce vomiting.
  • Monitor your dog for 24 hours. Feed them as normal, but keep a close eye on them. If they start to vomit, withhold food and contact the vet.

Can Vaseline Kill Your Dog?

It would be highly unusual for a dog to die from ingesting Vaseline, and if any severe clinical signs emerge, the suspicion would be that Vaseline was not the only thing they ate. In most cases, it’s doubtful that any harm will occur after a dog eats Vaseline because they don’t actually digest it. It will simply pass through your dog’s digestive system. Because of its soft consistency, it doesn’t pose a choking hazard or cause a blockage like other items can.

Often your dog will experience mild gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, a stomach ache, and vomiting. A risk you shouldn’t overlook is that your dog can become dehydrated, so make sure they drink plenty of water.

Chances are your dog won’t need any veterinarian intervention, but it is better to get this information from your vet. Also, check the ingredients before speaking to your vet; they must have all the information. If there are other ingredients besides petroleum jelly (or petrolatum), it could be harmful. The added flavoring found in the lip balms are also largely benign (including cocoa butter), but it is always worth checking with your vet, or Poisons Hotline.

The main concerning outcome for your dog is if they become dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea, and this is why it is important to see your vet if they develop those signs.

vaseline for dog paws
Image Credit: allian, Shutterstock

Is Dehydration an Emergency?

Dehydration is incredibly serious, so if you notice any sign of dehydration, offer your dog a small amount of water and call your vet immediately. Severe dehydration can cause organs like the kidneys, heart, and liver to shut down, making it a life-threatening condition.

Puppies are more susceptible to dehydration since they are smaller and more energetic compared to adults. So, it’s essential to ensure they stay hydrated throughout the day.

Signs of dehydration include:
  • Dry nose
  • Excessive panting
  • Lethargy
  • Stringy and thick saliva
  • Sunken eyes
  • Tacky and dull gums

Can You Use Vaseline on Your Dog?

Now that you know it’s relatively safe, you might wonder if you can use Vaseline on your dog if they have cracked, dry paws or nose. We recommend taking your dog to the vet since an underlying problem might cause the condition and will therefore require treatment. Sticking to canine-specific products is generally best; your vet can recommend something suitable.

Why Do Dogs Eat Things They Shouldn’t?

Dogs have a reputation for licking and eating things they shouldn’t, and generally, it’s because they’re bored, the object of their attention smells, tastes, or looks interesting, or it’s on you, and they want to lick it off just because they love you so much.

a tub of vaseline
Image Credit: JenJ_Payless, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Dogs can get into tricky, sometimes harmful situations by eating things they shouldn’t. Thankfully, dogs are generally fine after ingesting Vaseline, at most, they might have an upset stomach. It’s always a good idea to contact your vet and follow their instructions since severe reactions can result in further problems, such as dehydration.

Featured Image Credit: Towfiqu ahamed barbhuiya, Shutterstock

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