Our canine companions eat some pretty bizarre things. If Fido has been snacking on your soap, he could incur poisoning symptoms. After bringing Fido to the vet, discourage his appetite for soap by using positive obedience training and by giving him some tasty alternatives to snack on.
Get to the Vet
If Fido's been chowing down on soap, whether a soap bar or liquid soap, he will likely experience an upset tummy, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Some soap products contain essential oils, which can cause lethargy. Worse, swallowed chunks of bar soap can become stuck in your pup's intestinal tract, leading to a dangerous blockage. For these reasons, you'll need to get your pooch to the vet after he's eaten any soap. Your vet can check for blockages and provide supportive care for his upset stomach. He can check for conditions like diabetes, thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease or malnutrition, all of which can prompt your pup to eat nonfood items like soap, according to petMD.
Hide the Soap
It's possible that your pooch has developed a taste for soap, so you want to keep any soap products out of his little paws, the Humane Society of the United States recommends. Place all soaps and detergents, including hand soaps, inside cabinets when not in use. Secure cabinets with child-proof locks. Close doors to bathrooms and your laundry room, where soap products are typically found, to prevent his reaching them when you not around to supervise. You might want to restrict his access to your kitchen. With no soap in sight, give your pooch plenty of chew toys to gnaw on to keep him busy. Some pups eat strange things out of boredom, according to the ASPCA.
Teach Avoidance & Fill Fido's Tummy
Teach your pup basic obedience, including the "Leave it" and "Drop it" commands. With these commands, you can prevent your pup from picking up any soap he finds or, if he does pick it up, get him to immediately drop it before he eats it. If your pup is simply hungry and filling his tummy with soap, which is made with animal and vegetable fats, give him some puzzle toys filled with tasty kibble. A high-fiber, low-calorie kibble will not only fill your dog's tummy but will keep him feeling fuller longer, the Humane Society of the United States website says. Puzzle toys make your pup work for the food inside, so he won't gorge himself all at once.
Soap poisoning in canines is typically minor; most dogs recover within a few days, according to the Canadian Veterinary Journal. Most soap products already taste bitter, so spraying them with pet taste deterrents may not discourage your pup from snacking on them. Instead, it's best to keep them away from your dog altogether. Don't scold your pooch for eating soap, because this can negatively reinforce the behavior. Instead, clap your hands to interrupt him when he tries to eat any soap, and immediately take it away from him. Whenever your pup eats something acceptable, like kibble or fresh vegetables, reward him with praise.
- petMD: Ingestion of Feces and Foreign Objects in Dogs
- The Canandian Veterinary Journal: Soap Poisoning in a Dog
- petMD: Poisons (Swallowed)
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Pica (Eating Things That Aren't Food)
- The Humane Society of the United States: Pica: Why Pets Sometimes Eat Strange Objects
- DoctorPup.com: My Dog Ate a Bottle of Dish Soap
- The Anti-Cruelty Society: What to Do When ...
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Poison Control: Okay or No Way?
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.