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My Dog Just Ate Chapstick or Lip Balm! Now What Should I Do?

If your dog ate Chapstick, there are some steps you need to take. Most occurrences won't cause your pup harm but it's better safe than sorry. Veterinarian Jo Woodnutt weighs in on what you should do in the coming hours.

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Last Updated: February 17, 2022 | 8 min read

Dog That Ate Chapstick

This article was written by a veterinarian, but it should not substitute as contact with a trained professional. If your dog ate Chapstick or Lip Balm, we recommend contacting your veterinarian immediately.

Did your dog just eat Chapstick? Dogs are very inquisitive. Sometimes this can land them in trouble. It’s not uncommon for dogs to eat things that are off-limits. Often times these are things we wouldn’t expect them to have any interest in. And some items, are slightly more predictable because of their taste, even if they can cause harm.

So, what happens if you find that your dog has eaten a tube of Chapstick? Getting home to find a chewed up Chapstick tube or lip balm is an unwelcome surprise. Depending on what portion they ate, it may warrant a trip to see your veterinarian. Larger dogs usually may not have any issues, but smaller dogs may risk bowel obstructions or other internal damage.

So, if your pup ate Chapstick, you are likely wondering if it’s a problem and how worried should you be? The good news is that most dogs will be fine. But there are some steps you’ll need to take while monitoring your dog’s health. Let’s dig in and find out what you need to do next.

Is Chapstick Dangerous For Dogs?

Sick Dog Looking Out Window
In most cases, Chapstick isn’t dangerous unless your pup ate the container.

They can be! But it depends on exactly what they ate. The first potential danger of Chapstick ingestion is what the balm is made from. There is a wide range of different Chapsticks or lip balms available to buy. Each brand differs in its ingredients, some of which could pose more of a problem than others.

Chapstick usually has a sweet flavor or scent which is probably what attracted your pup to eat it in the first place. Artificial sweeteners such as xylitol are commonly found in candy. They can also sometimes be found in lip balms to sweeten them. Xylitol is very toxic to dogs as it can cause dangerously low blood sugar levels.

Other ingredients that can cause a problem include sunscreen, phenols, essential oils, and camphor. Whether the ingredients cause any adverse effects will depend on the size of the dog and how much of the Chapstick was eaten. Any pre-existing medical problems could also affect how a dog reacts.

The other problem with Chapstick is that the plastic tube or tin could cause a blockage in your dog’s intestines. Hopefully, most dogs will just chew the tube, but if there are large chunks of plastic tube missing you should be on the lookout for signs of blockages.

My Dog Ate Chapstick: What Next?

First of all, don’t panic. In most cases, your dog will be fine. However, it is important to get advice from your vet about the next steps, so seek advice without delay. It is important to check how much of the lip balm has been eaten. This way you can identify if any of the packaging has been chewed or swallowed.

The vet will need to know what kind of lip balm has been eaten so they can check if there are any ingredients which may cause harm. Your vet will also want to know if there is any of the plastic tube or cap missing. This, along with the size and weight of your canine companion, is usually enough for them to give you the correct advice.

Just like if your dog ate a bird or something else they shouldn’t have, your next step will likely be to just monitor your pup’s behavior. You should let your vet make that decision with all the information available to them.

What Will Happen To My Dog?

Different Types of Lip Balms
How your dog reacts to eating lip balms will depend on if they ate the tube, and what ingredients it contains.

The effects of eating a Chapstick will very much depend on what is in it and how much has been eaten. Here are some potentially harmful ingredients you’ll want to look for, and also discuss with your vet.

Xylitol

This is an artificial sweetener commonly used in Chapsticks and lip balms. Xylitol can be very harmful to dogs as it can cause their sugar levels to drop dangerously low. This can lead to vomiting, drowsiness and seizures. If there is xylitol in the lip balm that your dog has eaten, it is important to seek veterinary care straight away. In most cases there will not be not enough xylitol to cause a significant problem, but it is always best to check. Your vet might need to run blood tests to monitor your pet.

Sunscreen

Sunscreens are sometimes included in lip balms to protect lips from the effects of the sun. Sunscreen is usually not dangerous, but it can cause digestive upsets such as sickness or diarrhea. This usually passes on its own, but if severe may need treatment from the vet.

Essential Oils

Although natural in origin- can be harmful if ingested. Oils such as orange and lavender are sometimes added to lip balms. Often the amount of essential oil won’t be enough to cause a problem, but the most likely symptoms which could be seen are digestive upset, drooling and drowsiness. These often pass on their own, but you should monitor your canine companion closely.

Phenol

Phenol is a commonly found addition to lip balms and chapsticks. This substance is often used to give a cooling feel to the balm when applied. When eaten by a dog it can cause irritation to the mouth and drooling as well as digestive upset. Again, symptoms are not likely to need treatment, but you should monitor your pet for lethargy and call your vet if you become concerned. Some dogs have been reported to have poor reactions to Phenol.

Camphor

Camphor is included in some lip balms such as Carmex. Like phenol, camphor is used to give a cooling effect when applied to the lips. Camphor can cause irritation and drooling, as well as digestive disruption such as vomiting and diarrhea. If these symptoms are seen, you should watch for signs of deterioration and call your vet if they become lethargic or cannot stop vomiting.

If My Dog Ate Chapstick, Will He Be Okay?

Dog Licking Lips After Eating
Most dogs that eat lip balm or Chapstick will be just fine.

In most cases eating a Chapstick or lip balm will not cause problems. The most likely scenario is your dog won’t experience any ill effects at all. In some cases, there may be mild side effects ranging from digestive upsets such as vomiting and diarrhea to lethargy. Some products may contain more hazardous ingredients, so it is always best to seek advice from a vet.

A more serious problem could be caused if the dog consumes the packaging from the Chapstick or lip balm. In most cases, this is a hard plastic case and small-cap. If the dog has eaten the packaging it will have what is known as a foreign body (something inside it which should not be there). If the plastic was chewed up it may be sharp, and this can cause damage to the stomach or intestines as it passes through the digestive tract.

Bowel Obstructions

Alternatively, the packaging may become lodged or stuck in its attempt to pass through the digestive system. A blockage of the digestive tract could lead to vomiting and the dog becoming very lethargic and unwell. If you suspect that your pup has ingested the plastic packaging, your vet may need to run further tests such as x-rays or blood tests to determine what should be done next.

In the case of a blockage, surgery might be needed to remove the offending item. If the dog has chewed up the plastic into smaller pieces, it might be that the dog can be closely monitored to check that it is being passed out in the feces, especially if you have a large breed dog or only a small amount is missing. Remember to take any remaining packaging and details of what type of Chapstick the dog has eaten with you to the vet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some other questions we commonly get when it comes to lip balms and dogs. Keep in mind, the answers to these will depend on if your dog also ate the plastic tube itself, or just the Chapstick alone.

My Dog Ate Vaseline Based Chapstick, Will He Be OK?

Generally, Vaseline is considered nontoxic, but like anything consumed in large enough quantity, it can cause problems. Vaseline is a by-product of the petroleum industry and is highly refined to remove anything harmful. If a dog licks a small amount it is very unlikely to cause a problem.

However, if a larger quantity has been consumed, it’s possible that it could lead to digestive upset such as vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog has consumed more than a lick of Vaseline, contact your vet. They will be able to advise if the quantity eaten is likely to cause a problem. The vet will also be able to flag up any warning signs to watch for.

Is Carmex Dangerous For Dogs?

Carmex is another brand of lip balm which is available in a variety of flavors which might prove tempting to your four-legged friend. Carmex often contains SPF sunscreen which can lead to digestive upset. If enough of this sunscreen-containing lip balm is eaten, you might see symptoms such as diarrhea or bloody vomit.

Carmex has a wide range of different products all of which contain a variety of ingredients. It is best to contact your vet with the details of the product and how much has been eaten to determine how likely a problem is. As with any lip balm, the packaging might pose more of a problem if it is consumed. In general, eating some Carmex lip balm should not be dangerous, but always seek advice to stay on the safe side.

Is EOS Chapstick Dangerous to Dogs?

Eos Chapstick comes in range of varieties and flavors, each of which contain different ingredients. Some of these ingredients may pose more of a problem than others. If your dog has eaten some or all of an EOS lip balm contact your vet to ask advice. They will be able to discuss whether the product is likely to cause your pooch a problem.

More often than not the product will not be harmful, but the plastic packaging can be problematic if swallowed. The packaging might cause pain or irritation if eaten, or in the worst-case scenario it could cause a blockage of the digestive tract. The packaging of the EOS lip balm looks similar to a small ball which might be appealing. If your dog has eaten some EOS lip balm or the packaging contact your vet for advice.

If My Dog Has a Dry Nose, is Chapstick a Bad Idea?

Chapstick is a useful moisturizer for human lips, however, it is not the best product to use on your dog’s dry nose. Lip balms are flavored or sweetened which will most likely encourage licking at the nose more frequently, causing further damage.

The ingredients of the Chapstick may not be suitable to be eaten repeatedly. Firstly, it is important to rule out any medical issue which could be causing your pet’s dry nose. Seek advice from your vet who can check over your dog, ensure there is no underlying issue and if necessary, prescribe a suitable safe product to apply to their nose.

Final Thoughts

As we’ve mentioned here, Chapstick isn’t something we’d recommend routinely using with your pup. For a consistent dry nose, there are medications your vet can prescribe. If you came home to some lip balm that’s been ingested, usually you can just monitor your dog. If your pup ate an entire tube, however, this is more serious and definitely requires a call to your veterinarian. We always recommend you contact your vet, even if your dog just ate something fairly benign. Having peace of mind that your four-legged friend is going to be just fine, is priceless.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety or care advice. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, insurance expert, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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