Vaseline, which is a brand name petroleum jelly, is a common household product with many uses. But, did you know vets also use and recommend petroleum jelly to treat dogs in various ways?
For example, one of the most common ways petroleum jelly is used for dogs is to put a little bit on their paws when they go outside in the winter. The petroleum jelly acts as a water repellent, preventing snow and ice from building up on their pads and in between their toes.
Petroleum jelly may also be applied to dry or cracked pads to moisturize them and prevent them from further drying out. Additionally, vets will sometimes use a little bit of petroleum jelly as a laxative for constipated animals.
If your dog has licked or eaten Vaseline, you have absolutely no reason to be alarmed. Vaseline is non-toxic to dogs. However, if your dog has consumed a fairly large amount, it will likely make them sick, causing upset stomach, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. Continue reading to learn more…
How Much Petroleum Jelly Is Too Much?
You might be thinking, “You don’t understand. My dog didn’t just lick a little bit of Vaseline, they ate the whole jar!” It’s okay. Trust me, you’re not the first person this has happened to.
I actually found a story written by an emergency vet whose dog ate an entire jar of Vaseline. His dog had diarrhea for a few days, and was fine after that.
Furthermore, based on all the research I did for this article, I found no evidence that there is a lethal amount of petroleum jelly a dog can consume.
Since petroleum jelly is a laxative, the most common symptom your dog is likely to experience after ingesting it is diarrhea. If you have ever taken a powerful laxative, then you know exactly what this is like.
After eating petroleum jelly, your dog may need to move their bowels every few hours for a day or two, so be sure to walk them or let them out frequently. Large amounts of petroleum jelly also upset the stomach, so your dog may vomit, as well.
Possible Pneumonia Infection
A more serious, but far less likely symptom, is that your dog may develop pneumonia. This only occurs if some of the petroleum jelly gets into their lungs.
If your dog is coughing, wheezing, breathing rapidly, or having a hard time breathing, then it is likely some of the jelly got into their respiratory system, in which case you should take them to a vet right away.
Typically, there is no treatment required when a dog consumes some petroleum jelly. It’s unlikely you actually have to take your dog to a vet, though you may want to give your vet a call, or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at: (888) 426-4435 to ask for advise. The hotline is available 24/7.
If your dog has contracted pneumonia as a result of the petroleum jelly getting in their lungs, your vet will treat them with antibiotics, as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and bronchodilators and expectorants.
ASPCA. Poisonous Household Products. Retrieved from https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/poisonous-household-products
Dr. Wendy Hauser. Dog Pneumonia: Know the Causes, Signs, and Treatment. Retrieved from https://www.aspcapetinsurance.com/resources/dog-pneumonia/
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine (January 15, 2015). Step It out with Your Dog This Winter. Retrieved from https://news.vet.tufts.edu/2015/01/step-it-out-with-your-dog-this-winter/