Laundry Detergent Pods Cause Harm in Pets Too
Most soaps and detergents contain chemicals called ionic and anionic surfactants. Regular laundry detergent is not as highly concentrated as a pod. When your pet ingests regular detergent it is more dilute and they can quickly get rid of the taste by licking and drooling. Laundry pods are very highly concentrated and cause much more irritation to your pet’s mouth. They cannot rid the taste easily so they may paw at their mouth excessively and drool profusely.We all love laundry pods because of their ease of use. Pets love them too. Dogs think they are brightly colored chew toys and cats like to bat them around like a hockey puck.
However, laundry pods present a new danger. It was first noticed that young children were developing serious respiratory issues after biting into the highly concentrated, pre-packaged laundry detergent pods (some that look like candy and come in brightly colored packages).
Not surprisingly, Pet Poison Helpline has noticed some severe clinical signs in dogs and cats exposed to these pods as well. Of the cases reported to the Pet Poison Helpline over the past 2 years, 72.19% of pets developed clinical signs. In order of prevalence, 84.4% of symptomatic cases experienced vomiting, 21.48% experienced cough, 17% experienced lethargy, and 13.3% experienced dyspnea, wheezing, or other respiratory irritation.
The reason for the increased severity between pets exposed to laundry pods and pets simply licking product off the floor or off their fur is thought to be due to the way the product is formulated in the pod. When a pet bites into a pod, the product is both highly concentrated and under pressure from the bite. Therefore, when the pod is punctured, the detergents are forcefully expelled and may be easily aspirated or swallowed, often in large amounts. Theoretically, ingestion of multiple packets may run a risk for a foreign body obstruction and erosive lesions from prolonged contact in the gut.
When these exposures occur, it is important to dilute the exposed site as much as possible—rinse the mouth, skin, or eyes until the slick, “soapy” feel is gone. If your pet exhibits persistent vomiting or respiratory signs your veterinarian should immediately evaluate them. There is no antidote for laundry pod exposure. Your attending veterinarian should treat clinical signs with symptomatic and supportive care.
Please keep your laundry pods out of reach of children and pets.
If you have questions regarding laundry pod toxicity please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at firstname.lastname@example.org