Uh-oh! You know your dog likes to do wacky things, but this is taking it to a whole new level: your precious pup has eaten Chapstick or lip balm. Why, oh, why did he have to go and do that? Not only are you worried that it's bad for him, but now your lips are chapped, too, and there's no relief in sight.
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First of all, stay calm, and use some Vaseline for those dry lips instead. Second, read on to learn about what can happen if your dog eats Chapstick or lip balm, and be prepared to call your veterinarian ASAP if you notice any symptoms.
What could happen if my dog eats Chapstick?
Your dog might get a stomachache or throw up
You'll need to do a little research and determine if your dog simply ate the Chapstick or lip balm itself, or if he also ingested the plastic packaging and/or the tube it came in. If your dog ate small quantities of plastic, like you'd find on a lip balm tube, then there shouldn't be a problem, and it should come out when he goes to the bathroom. He may also throw it up.
If he ate more than one lip balm with the plastic, then he may become ill and you'll need to take him into the vet for treatment. You'll know he's ill if he's vomiting a lot and not acting as he normally does.
More seriously, your lip balm's plastic tube has the potential to get lodged in your dog's intestines or esophagus, which would then block his airway or other things from moving through his body. He could also choke on the plastic tube, which you could take out with tweezers or your hand. If you notice any of these symptoms, call your veterinarian right away.
Your dog might get sick from the ingredients
Unfortunately, lip balms may contain ingredients that are fine for humans, but that can make your dog sick. For example, one active ingredient could be xylitol, a sugar alcohol that can poison your dog and cause him to have hypoglycemia. This could lead to organ failure or even death. Xylitol is extremely toxic and may kill a puppy or a very small dog.
Even "natural" or organic lip balms could be bad for your dog if they contain ingredients he's allergic to. For instance, a lip balm brand may use peanut oil, so if your pup has a hard time digesting peanuts, he could get sick. Other things that could be harmful to your dog are sunscreen agents, essential oils, and phenol, which is found in medicated lip balms and comes from coal.
Again, your best bet is to call your veterinarian once you think your dog may be sick from lip balm or Chapstick.
Comparing different brands of lip balm
Lip balms, whether they are medicated or not medicated or natural or synthetic, all contain ingredients that could potentially harm your dog. Chapstick, for example, is made of a whole bunch of ingredients that could harm your dog. They include things like isopropyl myristate, lanolin, Propylparaben, red 6 lake, and Arachidyl propionate. Another popular brand, Burt's Bees Lip Balm, is made with peppermint oil, which can cause your dog to have gastrointestinal distress. If it's eaten in large quantities, it could become toxic to your dog.
Along with vomiting and distress, look for symptoms like itchy skin, a loss of appetite, excessive thirst, and diarrhea. Fortunately, if your dog has a tough system and didn't eat too much of the lip balm and packaging, the symptoms should subside within 24 hours. As always, it's a good idea to get your vet's opinion right away, so you can ensure your dog heals swiftly.
Different brands of lip balm contain different ingredients, and many of them, even in "natural" or organic lip balms, can be toxic to your dog. In addition, the plastic tube has the potential to cause intestinal blockage. If you think your dog has eaten Chapstick or lip balm, especially a large amount of it, it's best to call your vet to get their opinion.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.