My Dog Drank Soapy Water [How to Respond?]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

You know that feeling of panic when your kid swallows gum and you momentarily envision a seven-year journey through their digestive tract?

Yeah, I’ve been there, only with my dog, and a frothy bowl of soapy water.

Sounds like you’re paddling in the same boat, doesn’t it?

Oh well, the “joys” of pet parenting.

But rest easy as I’ve got you covered.

In this post, let’s find out what happens if your dog drank soapy water and more importantly, what you can do about it.

Trust me, it’s not as ‘bubbly’ a situation as you might think!

Medical Questions? Talk to a Veterinarian 24/7.
Connect one-on-one with a licensed vet who will answer your questions in minutes.

Ask a Vet Now or Schedule a home visit

*Article may contain affiliate links to retailers like Amazon and Chewy. Learn more on our disclosure page.

What Harm Will Soap Water Do to My Dog?

What Harm Will Soap Water Do to My Dog

Soap water can cause trouble for your dogs if they swallow it or if it gets in contact with sensitive areas.

Let’s break it down:

Upset tummy

If your dog swallows soap water, their tummy can get all riled up. They might feel queasy and throw up or have a grumbling tummy ache. 

Dogs have different sensitivities, just like we do. Some can handle it better, but others might feel it worse.

Skin irritation

When soap water touches your pup’s skin, it can cause irritation and itchiness.

Dogs have a different skin balance than us, and using soap meant for us messes up their natural balance. 

Imagine using a shampoo not made for your hair type and ending up with an itchy scalp. Not fun, right?

Eye and ear irritation

When soap water enters your dog’s eyes or ears, it can cause major discomfort, making their eyes red, itchy, and sore ears. 

Those areas are sensitive, you know, and the chemicals in soap are harsh on them.

Troubled breathing

Breathing in soap water or its fumes can make it hard for your dog to catch their breath.

They might cough, or struggle with breathing, especially if they already have breathing issues

What is Detergent Poisoning in Dogs?

What is Detergent Poisoning in Dogs

Detergent poisoning is when your or your dog accidentally swallows or touches certain cleaning products.

These detergents have special chemicals that fight against dirt, grease, and stains. 

While detergents are usually safe if used correctly, be extra cautious to avoid poisoning, especially with concentrated or toxic ones.

Both humans, including children, and your doggie can be affected by detergent poisoning.

The symptoms depend on the detergent type, how strong it is, how much of it is swallowed or touched, and how sensitive we are.

What Toxic Chemicals Are Found in Detergents?

Detergents are powerful agents armed with special compounds to battle dirt and grease. 

Most household detergents are safe if you use them properly. However, some ingredients can be risky if you or your dog swallow or mishandle them. 

Here are some potentially harmful chemicals that can lurk in detergents:


These magical ingredients help detergents kick dirt and grease to the curb. 

Most surfactants in household detergents are safe, but some special or industrial-grade ones can be more toxic if swallowed.


Detergents often come with a pleasant scent, thanks to aromas. 

However, certain fragrance compounds can cause allergies or irritate breathing, especially for those with sensitivities or allergies.


In the past, phosphates were superstar ingredients in detergents for their cleaning powers. But too much phosphate in detergents can lead to water pollution and create algae when they flow into rivers and lakes. 

That’s why many countries have banned or set limits on their use.

Optical brighteners

These sneaky chemicals make your fabrics look brighter and whiter. However, if swallowed, they can be toxic and cause tummy troubles.


Enzymes join the detergent party to battle stubborn stains. 

Most enzymes in household detergents are safe, but they can cause coughs in those with sensitivities or allergies.


Certain detergents, especially for laundry or cleaning, pack a punch with bleach or chlorine-based compounds. 

These can be super dangerous if swallowed and cause serious burns or irritations on skin, eyes, and breathing.

Different brands may have other ingredient lists, so check those labels to spot harmful chemicals.

Doggy says, you might wanna check this out too: Dog ate a silica packet

What Are the Symptoms of Detergent Poisoning in Dogs?

When it comes to detergent poisoning, dogs can experience a whole range of symptoms.

It all depends on the type of detergent, how much they swallowed or came into contact with, and their unique sensitivity. 

If you spot any signs of poisoning in your furry friend, don’t hesitate—rush to the vet immediately. 

Here are the common symptoms of detergent poisoning in dogs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Discomfort in your dog’s mouth, throat, and swallowing tube
  • Coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, or rapid breaths
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Seizures or confusion

Hey there, sorry to interrupt but I wanted to tell you about an online vet service I’ve been using for years.

An in-person visit with one is great, but it’s not always an option.

Now, thanks to technology, you can speak to one without leaving your home.

Remote access
Avoidance of travel
Reduced stress for pets
Immediate access to experts
Quick response time
Schedule appointments easily

Got something to ask a vet?
Talk to one anytime, 24/7.


* Don’t use this service for emergencies.

Alternatively, a vet can come out to you instead (exclusive to our readers: use THEVETS15 for 15% off).


Thank you. The rest of the article continues below.

What Are the Causes of Detergent Poisoning in Dogs?

Detergent poisoning in dogs can happen for several reasons, including ingestion or exposure to detergents and cleaning products. 

Here are the common causes you need to know:

Accidental ingestion

Dogs are naturally curious creatures, sometimes leading them astray. They might sniff, lick, or even munch on intriguing things. 

If detergents or cleaning products are within reach, your doggy pals may accidentally swallow them, especially when they aren’t appropriately stored or left unattended.

Licking contaminated surfaces

Dogs have a habit of exploring their environment with their tongues. They might lick or chew on surfaces treated with detergents or cleaning products. 

Floors, countertops, or even random objects can become targets, exposing them to small amounts of detergent and putting them at risk of poisoning.

This is especially true if you use products such as Lysol as they are dangerous to dogs.

Improper storage or disposal

If detergents or cleaning products are carelessly kept or thrown away incorrectly, your dog can find their way to them. 

For example, if you store detergents in low cabinets or left in open containers, your doggie can easily reach them and accidentally ingest or come into contact with them.

Exposure to sprayed or aerosolized detergents

Dogs can unknowingly inhale sprayed or aerosolized detergents, leading to poisoning.

This can happen when they are near an area where detergents are being sprayed or during cleaning sessions. 

They might inhale those tiny particles, which can harm their well-being.

Chewing on detergent containers

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Most dogs tend to chew on anything that catches their attention, especially if made of chewable materials. 

So, when they encounter containers holding detergents or cleaning products, they might gnaw on them.

It exposes them to the detergent and puts them at risk of ingesting the contents, which can be dangerous.

What Should You Do if Your Dog Ate Soap or Detergent?

What Should You Do if Your Dog Ate Soap or Detergent

Let’s discuss what to do if your dog accidentally eats soap or detergent. 

1. Stay calm

Breathe deeply and keep a clear mind. When you stay calm, you can make better decisions and help your doggy friend.

2. Assess the situation

Find out what kind of soap or detergent your dog ate, how much they ate, and when it happened. This info will help your vet understand the situation better.

3. Flush with water

In the case of soap or detergent ingestion, promptly flushing the mouth with copious amounts of water is crucial to minimize damage.

Time is of the essence as the pet should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible, although the harm may have already occurred.

4. Call your vet

Quickly pick up your phone and call your vet or an emergency clinic for pets.

Let them know what happened and listen carefully to their advice. 

5. Follow instructions

The veterinarian might tell you to do certain things based on the situation. They might ask you to make your dog vomit or take other steps to help them.

6. Keep an eye on your dog

Stay close to your dog and watch how they’re doing. Look for any signs of trouble like throwing up, having diarrhea, difficulty breathing, or acting strangely. 

If you notice anything unusual, let the vet know right away.

When Should I Bring My Dog to the Vet if I Suspect Detergent Poisoning?

We’re discussing whether you should bring your dog to the vet if you suspect they experience detergent poisoning. 

Let’s dive in and find out!

Visible symptoms

Keep a keen eye on your doggie for any signs of distress. 

If they’re throwing up, having stomach troubles, finding it hard to breathe, drooling like a waterfall, or irritated skin after being near or eating detergent, it’s time to call in the vet squad.

Toxic detergent 

If your dog has swallowed a detergent that you know is dangerous or has harmful stuff, don’t wait for symptoms. Have them checked. 

Some sneaky substances can cause delayed problems, and you want to catch them early.

Large amounts 

Did your dog gulp down a big amount of detergent? That’s a red flag. 

Head to the vet ASAP. A big dose can lead to serious symptoms and complications.

Persistent or worsening symptoms 

If your dog’s symptoms started small but are getting worse or sticking around for a long time, call the vet.

How is Detergent Poisoning in Dogs Diagnosed?

We’re diving into the detective work that goes into diagnosing detergent poisoning in dogs. 

Here’s an overview of it.

  • Physical examination

The vet will go over every inch, checking vital signs and for signs of skin irritation or tummy issues.

  • Symptom evaluation

The vet needs to know the inside scoop on your dog’s symptoms. So spill the beans! 

Share all the details about vomiting, diarrhea, breathing problems, or any other strange behaviors your pup is showing. The more info, the better the diagnosis.

  • Exposure history

It’s time for some detective work! Give the vet all the clues about your dog’s interaction with detergents. 

  • What type did they come across? 
  • How much did they swallow or touch? 
  • When did it happen? 

These details help crack the case and figure out the right treatment.

  • Diagnostic tests 

Sometimes, the vet must dig deeper to get the full picture. 

They might order tests like blood work, urine analysis, or imaging studies.

It’s a high-tech tool to investigate your dog’s condition, check organ function, and rule out other possibilities.

  • Consultation with a veterinary toxicologist 

When things get complex, the vet might call in an expert.

A veterinary toxicologist will join the team to help crack the case and create the best treatment plan for your furry friend.

The diagnosis is like putting together puzzle pieces, using a combination of all the information gathered. 

How is Detergent Poisoning in Dogs Treated?

Let’s dive into the treatment plan for your dog with detergent poisoning. 

Here are some steps to help your paw friend recover:

  • Decontamination

Your vet will take action to get rid of the harmful detergent. 

They might make your dog vomit or perform a special stomach wash to remove the poison, or they might use activated charcoal to absorb any leftover toxins.

  • Supportive care

It’s time to bring in the support squad! The vet will provide care to make your dog feel better. 

They might give fluids through an IV to prevent dehydration, offer medications to control vomiting or diarrhea, and treat any breathing or skin problems your pup may be experiencing.

  • Monitoring and observation

Your dog becomes the VIP under the watchful eyes of the vet. 

They’ll closely monitor vital signs  to ensure everything is going smoothly, like:

  • Heart rate
  • Breathing
  • Temperature
  • Specific antidotes or treatments

Detergent is like a villain with known toxic ingredients.

Your vet will use special medications or treatments to counteract the effects or address organ damage or complications.

  • Symptomatic treatment

It’s time for some extra TLC! The vet will provide additional treatments to manage your dog’s specific symptoms. 

For example, If your puppy’s skin is feeling itchy and irritated, they might recommend soothing baths or special creams. 

And if there are any pesky seizures or tremors, the vet will have medications to handle them.

Pro Tip: During your dog’s recovery, create a calm and safe environment, and keep those detergents and cleaning products locked away.

How Long Does a Dog Take to Recover From Detergent Poisoning?

Let’s explore the road to recovery for dogs who have experienced detergent poisoning. Get ready for full information to help your furry friends bounce back!

  • Recovery time can vary

The recovery takes time. 

And it depends on:

  • What type of detergent
  • The amount ingested or exposed to
  • The severity of the symptoms
  • How quickly the vet steps in
  • Mild cases mean a quick recovery

If they’ve only had a small amount of a relatively safe detergent, their recovery can be swift. Think of it like a speedy race to full health!

  • For severe cases, patience is key 

Sometimes, the situation is more intense. 

The road to recovery may be longer. But your dog will triumph over adversity with the right care and support.

  • Symptoms and complications 

The recovery time depends on how your dog responds to treatment and tackles these challenges.

  • Veterinary care, your heroic help

The vet becomes your dog’s trusted ally on the path to recovery. They’ll provide the necessary treatment and supportive care to manage symptoms and boost your dog’s healing powers.

  • The road to recovery 

Recovery can be like a journey filled with twists and turns. 

Most dogs see improvement within a few days of receiving proper veterinary care but take note that factors like their overall health, age, and existing conditions can influence recovery duration.

  • Follow the vet’s orders

To ensure a successful recovery, follow the vet’s instructions closely. It may include giving medications, managing their diet, and scheduling follow-up visits. 

You should change your dog’s environment to avoid detergents and cleaning products like a superhero’s secret hideout.

What Other Common Household Items Are Harmful to Dogs?

Several everyday items in your home can be harmful to dogs. 

Let’s check some of them:


Ah, the sweet temptation! But for dogs, chocolate is a no-no. It contains a substance called theobromine and caffeine, which can be toxic. 

So, no sharing of chocolate bars with your doggy pal. It can lead to stomach troubles, a racing heart, shaking, and seizures.


I know that grapes. re a favorite in many households, and they seem like a nice snack for our dogs.

BUT, NO! Grapes are toxic dog dogs, and must be avoided in all cases.


Watch out for this sneaky sugar substitute hiding in sugar-free products. 

Xylitol can cause big trouble for dogs. It messes with their blood sugar levels, leading to vomiting, decreased coordination, seizures, and liver damage.

Household cleaners

Imagine a household superhero cleaner battling nasty stains and germs. But for dogs, these cleaners can be villains. 

If swallowed or inhaled, bleach, disinfectants, and toilet bowl cleaners that contain toxic chemicals, they can cause breathing difficulties or irritated skin.

Keep those cleaning agents under lock and key!


When it comes to drugs, sharing is not caring. Human medications, like painkillers or antidepressants, can be dangerous for dogs. 

They can cause serious harm, even in small amounts. Remember to store all medicines safely, far from your pup’s curious nose!

Certain plants like lilies and rhododendrons

Some household plants may seem harmless, but they can be deceptive. Lilies, rhododendrons, azaleas, and sago palms can be toxic to dogs if chewed or swallowed. 

They can trigger vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, tummy pain, and in severe cases, organ damage. Keep an eye on your dog’s botanical adventures!

Armed with knowledge, you can create a safe haven for your furry sidekick. Store harmful substances securely, and be mindful of what foods and plants your dog can access.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What if detergent got into my dog’s eyes?

You should quickly flush their eyes with clean water for a few minutes. If irritation persists or your pup seems uncomfortable with redness or swelling, don’t hesitate to seek veterinary attention.

Is dawn dish soap poisonous to dogs?

No, it is not poisonous, but watch out. Dawn dish soap is generally safe for dogs but can still cause stomach discomfort if swallowed.

In Conclusion: My Dog Drank Soapy Water

While it can be dangerous for any pup to chug soapy water, it’s usually more of a hiccup than a catastrophe.

Just keep a keen eye on your furry friend, ensure clean, fresh water is always available, and when in doubt, call your vet.

Stay suds-free, dog lovers!

Check out these dog care tips too:

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

Share this post!
Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

no more bad dog breaths banner