My Dog Ate Airborne Tablets! Should I Be Worried?

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When In Doubt, Seek Veterinary Advice

Some dogs will eat just about anything.

When it comes to pharmaceuticals, vitamins, and medicines (like Excedrin), it’s harder to know what’s safe and what isn’t. Though in this article we will do our best to give you some vital information and guidelines, it isn’t a complete substitute for a vet’s advice.

So, what do you do on the day that you find yourself exclaiming, “Help! My dog ate Airborne tablets!”

As a rule, keeping your pets away from the medicine cabinet is a good idea. Proper storage of all your medications can help avoid accidents. Mistakes do happen, though, and if your dog has eaten something that’s not on the menu, the best advice is to call a vet or an emergency clinic.

Luckily, the combination of vitamins and herbal elements in Airborne formulations are relatively harmless when it comes to dogs. The only ingredients of concern are the additives that are present, but even those are in such tiny amounts that they shouldn’t cause any trouble.

Help, My Dog Ate Airborne Tablets!

When you call your vet and say “my dog ate Airborne tablets,” the first thing they’ll want to know is your dog’s weight and how much they ate of the potentially harmful substance.

In general, the bigger the dog, the more toxins it will take to harm your dog.

If you end up seeking medical attention for your dog, take the packaging with you if possible. The ingredients list on the package will help your vet understand any symptoms.

The vet will also want to know what symptoms your dog is having.

Any vomiting, loss of consciousness, convulsions, or bleeding are serious causes for concern. Different substances interact with your dog’s body in different ways.

If you suspect they’ve ingested anything they shouldn’t, it’s essential to call a vet even if there are no apparent symptoms.

Airborne Tablet Ingredients

Airborne tablets ingredients back label

Airborne is a vitamin supplement that’s available over the counter. It comes in dissolvable tablets, gummies, and chewable pills.

Each form has a variation on the primary set of ingredients. So, it’s important to note what kind of Airborne your dog ate. The effervescent tablets will affect your dog differently than the gummies will.

For the most part, the main ingredients in Airborne aren’t much cause for concern. It’s the additives in this supplement that can be dangerous.

Here’s a deep dive into the ingredients in the main three Airborne products. The only difference between Airborne’s various flavors is that they use different “natural and artificial flavors.”

Main Ingredients

Here are the main ingredients listed for Airborne Zesty Orange Effervescent tablets:

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium sulfate
  • Magnesium oxide
  • Retinyl acetate
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Di-alpha tocopheryl acetate
  • Riboflavin.

Other than the fact that most of these ingredients sound like mumbo-jumbo for most of us, it’s enough simply to know that these are all essential vitamins for humans as well as dogs.


Airborne also contains an herbal blend of ingredients.

They are maltodextrin (artificial sweetener), Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle), and Forsythia suspensa (weeping forsythia).

It also has Schizonepeta tenuifolia (Japanese catnip), Ginger root, Vitex trifolia (simple leaf chaste tree), Isatis tinctoria (Asp of Jerusalem), and Echinacea purpurea (Eastern purple cornflower).

None of the herbs listed here are on the ASPCA’s list of poisonous plants for dogs.

Some of them can be beneficial in the right dose. The worst symptom you can generally expect from these is mild stomach upset- unless of course your dog has an allergy to one of the plants.


Round white tablets on white background

Other (additive) ingredients contained in Airborne tablets are citric acid, sorbitol, natural and artificial flavors, silicon dioxide, polyethylene glycol, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose.

Acesulfame Potassium

Acesulfame Potassium is a no-calorie sugar substitute. The FDA approved it in 1998 as a safe food additive for humans.

It’s a common ingredient in pet foods too, but there’s some controversy about whether or not it’s safe for animals.

Citric Acid

Citric acid can cause nervous system depression in large amounts. Moreover, it has a sedative effect. A little isn’t necessarily a problem, but large doses can be fatal.

Signs your dog has overdosed on citric acid are seizures, tremors, and a lack of coordination.

This is probably the most concerning ingredient in Airborne. It can be very harmful to dogs, but it’s not one of the main ingredients. That usually means there isn’t much of it in the actual product.

Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose

Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose is a food additive used to bind other ingredients together. It’s common in human and pet foods.

Food manufacturers have used Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose for decades without any known harmful effects. A small amount shouldn’t harm your animal.

Polyethylene Glycol

There’s not a lot of research on what this substance does to dogs. One scientific study suggested it may have improved neurological conditions in dogs. Other experiments indicated that it made the dogs mildly irritated and lethargic.

Silicon Dioxide

Silicon Dioxide is also known as Silica. Silica is essentially quartz. It’s a common food additive and occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables.

It doesn’t appear to cause any harm to dogs or people unless it’s inhaled. Inhaling silica dust can cause severe lung damage.


Sorbitol is a food sweetener. It has a laxative effect in humans. In dogs, it can have a similar impact if swallowed. Otherwise, while it’s not a good idea for your dog to have sweeteners, sorbitol doesn’t cause any serious illness.


You may already be familiar with this artificial sweetener. It’s one of the two ingredients in Original Splenda. In dogs, it’s not usually something to worry about. It is known to cause diarrhea in animals, but it isn’t typically dangerous.


Airborne drink mix container
SPENCER , WISCONSIN June 10 , 2014: box of Airborne Immune Supplement. Airborne was founded in the 1990’s

The Airborne Zesty Orange Gummies have the same main ingredients as the effervescent tablets.

The additives are a little bit different. They are corn syrup, sugar, water, gelatin, natural and artificial flavors, pectin, colors from fruits and vegetables. None of these should harm your dog.


The Airborne Citrus Chewable Tablets have the same main ingredients as the effervescent tablets and gummies.

The additives are dextrose, magnesium stearate, vegetable juice color, sucralose, natural flavors, microcrystalline cellulose, and silicon dioxide. These additives all appear to be safe for your dog.

Still, they could cause stomach upset– which can be scary for pet owners. When your dog begins throwing up (especially if it’s orange), it can be unsettling. Still, out of the potential dangers in your medicine cabinet, Airborne is not the worst thing your dog could ingest.

What to Do After Your Dog Eats Airborne Tablets

In most cases, your vet will likely recommend staying home and monitoring your dog (and their bowel movements) for a while after they consume Airborne in any form.

Supplying your pup with fresh water should be plenty, though some short-term dietary changes may help if they’re having diarrhea or other tummy problems.

Feeding small meals of a bland diet (lean boiled chicken and rice) for a few days can help the digestive system to recover more quickly.

In Summary

If you have discovered that your dog ate Airborne tablets- don’t fret!

As you have found out after reading this article, none of the ingredients in any formulation of Airborne pose a significant risk to canine health. At most, your pup may experience a temporary session of stomach discomfort– which is normal when dogs eat things they aren’t supposed to!

If your dog managed to get into your Airborne tablets, monitor it over the next day or two for any pain or unusual behavior. While it will most likely be just fine, don’t hesitate to call the vet if something seems abnormal and have your dog checked out!

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