Laundry Detergent Pods Can Be Dangerous to Your Dogs and Cats

You’ve probably seen them on the grocery store shelves—individual pods filled with concentrated liquid laundry detergent. They might make doing a load of laundry more convenient, but you might not realize is that these convenient little detergent packets can pose a serious health hazard to your pets.

In this article, we talk about the dangers and what can happen if your pet has punctured or eaten a pod.

What Makes Laundry Detergent Pods Dangerous for Dogs and Cats?

Laundry detergent pods have a thin, dissolvable membrane that contains concentrated liquid detergent that is under pressure. If your pet punctures one of the pods by biting into it, the pressure in the pack would result in the soap bursting out. In this case, your pet could:

  • Be splashed with the detergent (in the eyes or on the fur). If this happens, flush your pet’s eyes and rinse the fur with water until no residue remains.
  • Inhale or swallow a large amount of the detergent. If your pet eats even a small amount of the soap, excessive drooling, vomiting or diarrhea is most likely to occur. Also, detergent is foamy, so if your pet eats it and then vomits, the foam can be inhaled into the lungs. In the worst case, the detergent can coat the airways and cause suffocation.
  • Ingest the whole pod. Laundry pods are brightly colored and can look like candy or a treat to your pet. In this case, the ingestion of the pod could cause an obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract, which means a trip to the veterinarian for immediate care.

Again, if your pet swallows any of the detergent or if it gets into your pet’s eyes, you should take your pet to your local veterinarian immediately.

The best advice for avoiding these unfortunate scenarios: be sure to store these and other household toxins well out of your pet’s reach.

Need More Information?

For more information on keeping your dog and cat healthy, search through our Pet Health and Preventive Care libraries, check out our Ask a Vet page to find out whether it’s safe or not for your pet to ingest things like acorns and oranges, discuss nutritional needs and recommendations specific to your unique pet with your local veterinarian, or click through some of the related links below: