Care

My Dog Just Ate Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly! What Should I Do?

Did your pup eat or lick some Vaseline? Find out what you can expect, as well as what steps you should take if your dog accidentally got into the Vaseline jar.

Jo Woodnut Veterinarian Profile Image

Last Updated: December 9, 2020 | 7 min read

Puppy Dog That Just Ate Vaseline

This article was written by a veterinarian, but it should not substitute as contact with a trained professional. If your dog ate Vaseline, we recommend you contact your veterinarian immediately.

Dogs often eat the strangest of things! As a pet parent, you’ve probably learned that no item is off-limits to creative canines. Believe it or not, Vaseline is a common item ingested by dogs. It’s often consumed accidentally when it’s been eaten directly from a container or licked off their human owners unintentionally.

A dog’s heightened sense of smell often attracts them to off-limits items that we store within our homes. Things may also be inadvertently ingested by puppies and adolescent dogs. At young ages, canines like to explore their surroundings through chewing, sometimes confuse inedible items for toys or food. Some dogs make eating inedible items a regular habit and this may indicate a behavioral or underlying medical condition.

It can be very worrying when your canine companion eats something that they shouldn’t. Many items that are contained within our homes, such as foods like grapes, macadamia nuts, and chocolate in large quantities are toxic to dogs if ingested. These cases require veterinary attention immediately.

Is Vaseline Toxic To Dogs?

However, dogs have been known to ingest products that are of low toxicity, especially if eaten in small quantities. Vaseline is a product of low toxicity to dogs. Although ingesting Vaseline isn’t usually dangerous, it is advisable to contact your vet for advice. Your veterinarian will be able to assess your pet’s condition and determine what course of action is necessary.

Vaseline is petroleum jelly and has been a household staple for many years. Petroleum jelly is a mixture of natural waxes and mineral oils. It’s used as a moisturizer and to treat dry skin in humans. Vaseline is also available as a lip balm to treat cracked and sore lips. These products may be flavored or colored, making them more attractive to dogs. Vaseline may also be mixed with other products such as cocoa butter that may be more dangerous to your pup.

Why Do Dogs Eat or Lick Vaseline?

Jar of Petroleum Jelly
Generally Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly is not harmful to dogs.

A dog may lick Vaseline because it smells or tastes nice. This is especially true if it’s a lip balm or product with flavoring. Licking you after you have applied Vaseline may lead to the ingestion of this product. Your pup may simply be licking you because they love you!

Vaseline is usually supplied in small plastic pots or metal tins. These can be tempting to puppies or dogs looking for something to chew. In other words, eating Vaseline is usually an accident. However, dogs that have made a regular habit of eating inedible items should have a check-up with the veterinarian. This repeated behavior may indicate an underlying psychological or medical condition.

Can Vaseline Kill My Dog?

Ingestion of normal Vaseline is unlikely to cause death in your canine companion. In fact, in the majority of cases, ingestion of Vaseline is unlikely to cause any harm to furry friend at all. Vaseline isn’t digested by dogs. It simply passes through the stomach and gut unchanged. And, because it’s soft, it shouldn’t cause a blockage as other food items can.

Often, only a mild gastrointestinal upset such as tummy ache, vomiting, and diarrhea are evident in dogs that have eaten Vaseline. Although in cases where your dog eats too much, they can get dehydrated. If they ate Vaseline, especially a small amount, such as your pup licking Vaseline from your skin, then it is unlikely that any veterinary intervention will be required at all.

Don’t forget to check the ingredients in your Vaseline. Some types contain other ingredients such as cocoa butter or aloe, which may cause issues. If your Vaseline contains ingredients other than petroleum jelly (sometimes called petrolatum) you should call your veterinary clinic for advice.

What Should I Do if my Dog Ate Vaseline?

Flavored Petroleum Jelly
If your dog ate Flavored Petroleum Jelly, contact your vet right away.

If your pet has ingested Vaseline, it’s usually not a big deal. But if they’ve ingested larger quantities, that may be cause for concern and can be a scary experience. You’ll want to follow these steps when treating your dog:

Don’t Let Them Eat Any More

Remove the item and store it in a secure place away from your pet. Sometimes it’s easier to remove your pup from the area. This will allow you to clear up the mess and prevent them from eating more.

Don’t  Induce Vomiting – Leave This For Your Vet

It may be tempting to try and make your dog sick after they’ve eaten something they shouldn’t have. If you are worried about what your pup has eaten, then it is best to contact your vet for advice. If they ate Vaseline, then it is usually not necessary to make them sick.

In fact, making your pup sick may actually cause more harm than good. Administering substances to try and make your pet sick may cause damage and if they do vomit, it may risk them inhaling their vomit. Aspiration of vomit may lead to aspiration pneumonia (a lung infection) which is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.

Monitor For Behavioral Changes

In most cases of Vaseline ingestion, there is little or no effect at all. Mild gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea may develop after ingesting Vaseline, especially in large amounts. In most cases, dogs are still bright and eating and symptoms are mild and short-lasting.

Contact Your Veterinarian

In some cases, it will be necessary to obtain advice from your veterinarian, and there could be other health issues that need to be investigated. If your dog is lethargic or has severe vomiting and diarrhea, then they may require treatment from your veterinarian. If your pup is simply not eating, this can also be cause for concern.

You should also contact your vet if your pet has eaten Vaseline with additives such as cocoa or aloe. The same goes if they’ve eaten any other cosmetic product, such as lipstick or mascara. Each individual item will need to be assessed for potential toxicity.

Your veterinarian will be able to provide you with the most up to date advice on this. If your dog has eaten the tin or plastic container the Vaseline came in, you should also call your vet for advice. Large items can cause problems such as a blockage!

Can I Put Vaseline on My Dog?

Treating Dog Paw
Petroleum jelly can be used to treat cracked paws, but there are other specific treatments that can be more effective.

If you are thinking about applying Vaseline to your dog it is important to consider the reason that you wish to do so. Vaseline is an industrial product and not formulated for ingestion. Yes, it’s unlikely to cause harm if ingested in small quantities. But it’s still not recommended to allow your dog to eat it.

If you use it to treat a small wound, you can almost guarantee they’ll eat it. It’s always best to stick to pet-specific products. Most of those have undergone rigorous testing to ensure their safety for use on pets.

Do not be tempted to use human products, such as creams, lotions or shampoos on your pet’s skin. These products are formulated for human skin, which has a different pH to dog’s skin, and therefore human products can be very damaging to dogs.

It is best to contact your vet if your pet has a skin condition. There are many causes of skin disease in dogs. Your veterinarian will be in the best position to diagnose and treat that condition. Skin diseases can be a sign of a serious condition, so it is advisable to get your pup looked over for peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions about Vaseline and dogs? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions that we may not have answered yet. As always, you should contact your vet immediately if you have any questions about something your dog consumed.

Can I give Vaseline to my dog for constipation?

Like other petroleum-based products, Vaseline isn’t digested when eaten. It passes through your dog’s gastrointestinal tract unchanged. Veterinarians sometimes prescribe petroleum-based products, such as liquid paraffin, as a laxative to relieve constipation in pets. Never purposefully feed your dog Vaseline if you think they are constipated. There are many tried-and-tested, safer options for pets!

Can Vaseline help a dog pass a foreign object?

Liquid paraffin is also used by veterinarians as a lubricant to aid the passage of smooth foreign objects that have been eaten by a pet. Neither Vaseline nor liquid paraffin should be used to relieve a gut blockage unless recommended by a vet.

This method of treating ingestion of foreign objects is not suitable for all dogs and can actually be harmful. In most cases of foreign object ingestion, it is necessary to assess your pet’s condition fully with x-rays and surgery. This will allow your vet to determine how to remove the offending item.

liquid paraffin is used in inappropriate cases, it may result in life-threatening conditions. This is primarily true with items that are unlikely to be passed or sharp, which may cause internal injuries to your dog’s digestive tract.

Can I use Vaseline on my dog’s paws?

Many pet owners use Vaseline to treat dry and cracked paws. It can work as a barrier ointment for their pet’s feet during cold and snowy weather. If your pet has dry and cracked paws, contact your veterinarian for advice. Your canine comapanion may require veterinary treatment to soothe dry and cracked paws.

may also be an underlying condition causing this problem that needs to be investigated. It is best to use pet-specific products when trying to protect feet from the harmful effects of cold weather. Ask your veterinarian for advice on suitable products to use on your dog.

My dog licked me after I applied Vaseline, should I worry?

Although ingestion of Vaseline is unlikely to be harmful, it is important to be mindful of what other products you may have applied to yourself. Certain human topical products and medications are not safe for your dog to lick and ingest. You should call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline if you’re worried about other things on your face or arms that your dog may have ingested.

Final Thoughts

Pets can often land themselves into a bit of bother by eating things that they shouldn’t. Thankfully, in most cases, if Vaseline was consumed, only mild signs of an upset tummy are seen. Vaseline itself is just petroleum jelly and is not toxic to dogs. However, if your pup has eaten a large quantity of Vaseline, this may cause more severe signs of vomiting and diarrhea.

Severe vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration. Dehydration will typically require treatment by your veterinarian. It is advisable to contact your veterinarian whenever your pet has eaten something potentially toxic, as early treatment is key in preventing and limiting the harmful effects of many toxins on our pets.

Leave a Comment