Pods poison pooches

Those cute new “pods” of laundry detergent in the news lately for poisoning children are also a danger to dogs. Be sure to lock them away from curious mouths.

Last February, a Hillcrest Animal Hospital patient ate one of the compact new detergent pods and experienced severe vomiting, followed by extreme respiratory distress. At the time, the laundry products were relatively new and experience with their dangers was limited. The severity of the dog’s symptoms was surprising.

The mechanism of toxicity for laundry and dishwasher pods is varied. The detergent itself can cause caustic damage to the mouth and throat, along with vomiting. When absorbed, it also appears to severely affect mental alertness. It can create spasm of the bronchial tubes, leading to severe respiratory distress. In our patient, vomiting and respiratory difficulty were the most pronounced signs and the dog continued to cough for weeks after the incident, likely due to aspiration of the foam created in her mouth. Her lungs may never fully recover.

In one month of 2012 alone, 481 incidents of “pod” poisonings in children were reported in the United States. We do not have statistics for dogs and I could not find any references on the Pet Poison Helpline about the issue. However, having seen the distress caused to our own patient and knowing how appealing the little packets may seem to a dog, it seems best to urge caution.

Several manufacturers have made their pod packaging “childproof” and consumers are advised to be sure they are kept safely away from children and – we must add — from pets.

Dr. Fiona Gilchrist
Hillcrest Animal Hospital – Trenton/Quinte West, Ontario
November 2014