Albuterol is the active component of inhalers used to treat asthma and respiratory diseases such as bronchitis. Albuterol is a bronchodilator that eases harsh symptoms by relaxing and opening the airways to allow easy breathing. Dogs can experience albuterol poisoning by biting or chewing on an inhaler, as they are exposed to massive amounts of the drug immediately. Albuterol can induce adverse reactions in dogs. There could be life-threating consequences if you leave your pup unsupervised and they puncture an inhaler. 

Why is Albuterol Dangerous for Dogs? 

Typically, inhalers contain up to 200 doses of albuterol in just one vial, and prescribed amounts for ill patients can vary between 2 to 8 puffs per day or as needed. Dogs can easily puncture an inhaler because it is so pressurized, and all the contents will release at once. There is also a risk of a dog accidentally ingesting plastic or metal from the inhaler. Potassium levels are significantly reduced in affected pets, causing severe electrolyte abnormalities and a rapid heart rate. Albuterol toxicity can be fatal if not promptly treated. 

Clinical Signs of Albuterol Poisoning 

There is a wide variety of clinical signs when it comes to albuterol poisoning. It is important to get your dog prompt medical attention if they are behaving abnormally or exhibiting any of the following symptoms: 

  • Lethargy 
  • Vomiting 
  • Agitation 
  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • Heart arrhythmia 
  • Slow heartbeat 
  • Fast breathing 
  • Low or high blood pressure 
  • Drooling 
  • Dilated pupils 

Treatment for Albuterol Poisoning 

You should visit your nearest veterinary clinic immediately or contact Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 for first aid advice in case of albuterol poisoning. Your veterinarian may prescribe medications to slow down your dog’s heart rate and to address any other concerns. In addition, your vet may administer IV fluids to balance electrolytes and beta-blockers to control blood pressure. Bringing the inhaler with you to the vet clinic may help determine treatment. Contact Pet Poison Helpline® for any further questions or concerns.