What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Chapstick?

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It's difficult to watch your puppy every minute. Dogs chew and sometimes they chew things they shouldn't, including your Chapstick or lip balm. Is Chapstick bad for dogs? It can be. If a dog ingests anything other than food, there's cause for concern. If your dog ate Chapstick or lip balm, be prepared to call your veterinarian immediately if you notice any symptoms such as repeated vomiting, lose of appetite, and change in behavior.

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Is Chapstick bad for dogs?

Yes, ingestion of lip balm can be serious. First, you'll need to investigate to determine if your dog simply ate the Chapstick or lip balm specifically, or if he also ingested the plastic packaging and/or the tube it came in. If your dog ate small quantities of plastic from the lip balm tube, then that might not be serious and should come out when he goes to the bathroom. He might also throw it up.

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However, if your dog is a toy or small breed, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as you suspect your dog ingested any packing or part of the tube. Small dogs are more vulnerable to obstruction.

Dog, Chapstick, and plastic

If any sized dog ate more than one lip balm with the plastic, then he can become ill and you'll need to take him into the vet for treatment. Signs of illness include vomiting repeatedly, loses of appetite, or not acting normally. Note that if your dog can't even hold down water, that's an immediate cause for concern.

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If your dog swallows the entire plastic tube, airway blockage — known as choking — is an immediate risk. Choking requires first aid, and quick medical intervention by a vet if possible. If they swallow the plastic tube and it passes through the throat, it could get lodged in your dog's intestines, which can lead to intestinal blockage. This is dangerous too because it prevents other things from moving through his body.

If your pet seems in distress and will allow you to look in his mouth, you might see the tube at the back of his throat. You can attempt to remove the tube immediately using tweezers or your hand. But exercise caution: attempting to remove the blockage can potentially move it further in your dog's throat which may cause more problems. The lip balm's plastic tube also has the potential to get lodged in your dog's intestines, which can prevent other things from moving through his body.

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If your dog ate Chapstick, it could be serious

Unfortunately, lip balms might 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, which could lead to liver failure or even death. Xylitol is extremely toxic and can kill a dog in small doses. If your dog ingests lip balm containing xylitol (or any product containing xylitol), you've got an emergency that needs to be addressed immediately.

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Even products labeled "natural" or "organic" lip balms could be bad for your dog, especially if they contain ingredients he's allergic to. For instance, if a lip balm brand contains peanut oil, and 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, if your dog ate Chapstick, it's best to call your veterinarian.

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Dog, Chapstick, and toxic ingredients

Lip balms, whether medicated or not, natural or synthetic, all contain ingredients that could potentially harm your dog. Chapstick, for example, is made of many ingredients that could harm your dog, including isopropyl myristate, lanolin, propylparaben, D&C Red #6, 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.

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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 hardy digestive system and didn't eat much of the lip balm and packaging, mild symptoms should subside within 24 hours. As always, it's a good idea to get your vet's opinion immediately, so you can ensure your dog heals swiftly.

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Different brands of lip balm contain different ingredients, and many of them, including those labelled "natural" or "organic," 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 in significant quantities, it's best to call your vet to get the thorough diagnosis.

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