Dogs tend to eat the wackiest things.
This time, your prized pooch has decided to go for your humble jar of Aquaphor.
Thankfully, whether it eats just a little smear or devours the whole jar, your dog will likely experience nothing more serious than a bit of stomach irritation, vomiting and watery poop.
Good luck with the cleanup though- fingers crossed that your dog isn’t inside!
Usually this will clear up by itself as your dog, err, clears up its insides, and you can give it remedies like Pepto Bismol to speed up the process and help it feel better.
However if you do notice any unlikely additional symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, excessive panting or bloated stomach, it would be a good idea to take your dog to the vet for a professional checkup.
While Aquaphor can be safely used on dogs as a topical ointment for scratches and rashes, it definitely isn’t designed to be eaten by canines (or anyone else, for that matter).
According to Wikipedia, Aquaphor contains the following ingredients:
- Petrolatum- Composes 41% of Aquaphor and is the main active ingredient
- Mineral oil- Colorless, odorless oil that is derived from crude oil
- Ceresin- A type of natural earth wax
- Lanolin alcohol- Sourced from the wool of sheep
- Glycerin- Common moisturizing agent that is derived from animals
- Panthenol- Commonly known as pro-Vitamin B5
- Bisabolol- Chemical derived from the chamomile plant.
Compared to Vaseline, which is a 100% petrolatum product, Aquaphor contains a lot of other components which are meant to increase its healing effect when applied on the skin.
Thankfully, these additional ingredients do not make the ointment any more dangerous to dogs when eaten. That’s not to say that they won’t have an effect at all, however.
Due to the inclusion of petrolatum and mineral oil, your dog’s digestive processes will be affected. Though these substances have minimal toxicity and won’t be a danger to the dog, they will make a significant temporary impact in its body.
If your dog ate only a small amount of Aquaphor, it will likely just experience softer poop as it passes the ointment out of its system.
Here comes the fun part: You can expect your dog to have very bad diarrhea over the next one or two days, even during nighttime, if it ate a significant amount of the ointment.
Extra emphasis on VERY BAD– this really can’t be overstated. You need to be prepared for this.
Along with the watery stool that’s about to be unleashed like the world’s worst broken pipe, your dog will likely have a bit of stomach pain and gassiness as well.
If the Aquaphor really doesn’t agree with its stomach, the dog may also vomit some of the product right back up. Nausea (signified by heavy panting), lots of drooling and loss of appetite are also normal reactions.
The first, most practical thing that you should do as soon as you have discovered that your dog has slurped Aquaphor is to doggy diarrhea-proof your home. Seriously.
Unless you want your living room to be covered in what will essentially be waterproof diarrhea for days on end, it’s probably best to keep your best friend in an easy-to-clean room of your home such as the garage or bathroom.
Letting it live outside for a few days until its stomach calms down is a solid option too.
Next, you will want to give your dog some medication for the troubles it is about to encounter. Over-the-counter medicines like Immodium or Pepto-Bismol which you already have at home are safe and helpful for your dog to use.
For Immodium, the proper dosage is 2mg every 8 hours for a medium to large-sized dog. It comes in 2mg tablets, so for small dogs half a tablet should be sufficient.
For Pepto-Bismol, the proper dosage for an entire day is 1ml per pound of bodyweight. This dosage can be split between every 8 hours. As an example, if your dog weighs 60 pounds, give it 20mls of liquid every 8 hours in a day.
If the dog looks like it is experiencing stomach pain and bloating, you can also give it acid reflux medicines such as Pepcid AC or Omeprazole. With both of these, give your dog 0.5mg for each pound of body weight over a period of 24 hours.
Finally, it is important to keep the burden on your dog’s stomach as light as possible while it is experiencing digestive difficulties. Therefore, a bland diet of boiled lean meat such as chicken and rice is recommended.
If your dog cannot stop vomiting, or if its diarrhea worsens, fast your dog for 24 hours and let its body rest. Once the symptoms subside, slowly begin feeding again by giving easy-to-digest foods like plain pumpkin paste.
While diarrhea and vomiting are largely harmless- albeit uncomfortable- afflictions, you do need to keep a close eye on your dog to make sure it’s not becoming dehydrated. Dehydration is a serious issue, as it can cause heart and kidney damage.
Symptoms of dehydration can include:
- Dry mouth
- Pale gums and tongue
- Sticky saliva
A simple test that you can do with your dog to check if it dehydrated is to pull back gently on the scruff of its neck. When you let it go, notice the speed with which it returns to its original state.
If your dog is well hydrated, the skin should snap back into place. If it slowly molds back around your dog’s neck however, that is a clear sign that it is dehydrated and needs to drink more fluids.
Leave plenty of fresh, clean water out for your dog and make sure that it is drinking regularly.
However, it is pretty typical for your dog to be feeling pretty uncomfortable while it waits for the Aquaphor to run its course, and as a result may not want to drink or eat anything. If that is the case, you will need to proactively encourage it to rehydrate.
You can do this by feeding it ice cubes, adding some chicken bone broth to its water, or mixing water into its meals so that it automatically gets more water without even realizing.
A good tip for those who have a dog that is experiencing diarrhea is to give it rice boiled with twice the amount of water that it usually needs. This will result in extra soggy, watery rice (congee!) that will also absorb the flavor of whatever lean protein it is cooked with.
To read more about the 5 Easy Ways To Get Your Dog To Drink Water After Illness- Click here!
If after 2 or 3 days your dog is still experiencing diarrhea or vomiting with no end in sight, it will be time to take it to a professional for an examination and veterinary medicine.
Similarly, if it exhibits persistent signs of stomach pain, bloating, bloody stools or lack of appetite, you would be well advised to consult professional help. There could be something more serious going on, such as internal blockage.
You’re in for a challenge.
Normal doggy diarrhea is already enough of a nightmare to clean, yet the petrolatum and mineral oil content inside Aquaphor adds frustrating layers to the difficulty.
Think you can just wipe it, pick it up and throw it in the bin? Think again.
The Aquaphor in the droppings make its consistency especially slippery and viscous; almost impossible to pick up. Sure, you can get bits of it at a time, but you’ll also be getting a lot on your hands. Yuck!
If you left your dog outside as recommended above, you will have a slightly easier task at hand. Grab the hose, turn it on to as strong of a flow as you can, and spray away!
It may take a while to wash the grass or concrete completely of the diarrhea gel, but eventually it will give way.
“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” – Jim Watkins
If instead your dog pooped inside the house all over the carpet, these are the steps that you will have to follow:
- Scrape up as much of the diarrhea jelly as you can.
- Blot the remaining poop with a cloth or paper towel and try not to spread it. Wear gloves!
- Generously sprinkle cornstarch over all the affected areas.
- Let it sit, absorb and dry for at least an hour.
- Use your poor vacuum cleaner and suck up the cornstarch pieces.
- Empty and wipe down the vacuum cleaner immediately.
- If there are still stains in the carpet, you may have to bring in professional carpet steaming and shampoo-cleaning services.
It’s a big job and sure hassle, but once the deed is done, the only thing left to do is to clean up the aftermath.
It’s never a pretty scene if your dog gets into your jar of Aquaphor or Vaseline. The end result usually teaches your dog never to eat the ointment again, as well as teaching you to never leave it out in places that your dog can reach.
Aquaphor is non-toxic to dogs, but the mineral oil content inside will cause stomach issues like severe diarrhea and vomiting if eaten in significant amounts. Once your dog has done so, there’s not much to do but to wait it out- and out it will surely come.
Medications such as Pepto-Bismol and Omeprazole can be used to ease your dog’s discomfort over the few days that it is affected, and make sure that it still drinks plenty of fluids since dehydration is the biggest risk that could occur.
If symptoms still persist after 2 or 3 days, then it is time to take your dog to the animal hospital for an assessment and veterinary medicine.