How Detergent Pods Can Harm Your Dog

Detergent pods help make doing laundry that much easier, especially if it’s a daunting task for you. These small pods are effective in cleaning clothes but can be hazardous to your pup if they get their paws on them. These colorful pouches may look tasty, but are packed with harmful chemicals that will not sit well with your dog. Read below to learn about the hazards of detergent pods and what to do if your dog eats one.  

What Makes Detergent Pods Hazardous? 

Detergents contain chemical cleaning agents called ionic and anionic surfactants. If a small amount is ingested, dogs may have mild gastrointestinal upset. Unfortunately, with small pods these chemicals are highly concentrated because they’re prepackaged. Dogs may mistake them for a treat due to their bright colors and small casing. If your dog mistakes a pod for a snack and punctures it, the detergent can potentially enter their mouth and digestive system. The liquid can be easily swallowed in large amounts. Ingestion of multiple detergent pods could lead to obstruction and lesions from prolonged contact in the gut. 

Detergent Ingestion Symptoms 

Just a sniff of detergent won’t be harmful, but ingesting detergent pods will be. This could lead to vomiting and since detergent becomes foamy, your dog can inhale foamy vomit. Once in the airways, the detergent can prevent oxygen to enter the lungs which results in suffocation. Other possible side effects of detergent ingestion include:  

  • Drooling 
  • Gagging 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Coughing  
  • Lung inflammation  
  • Diarrhea 
  • Lethargy 


If your dog has ingested one or many laundry detergent pods, you must rinse the mouth and skin until the soap is completely gone to dilute the detergent. Contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 for life-saving advice. Your dog will need to be evaluated by a veterinarian immediately for signs of aspiration. There is no specific antidote, so treatment will include supportive care to alleviate the symptoms. Secure your detergent pods in a safe place so your dog will not be able to reach them and be vigilant, so you don’t accidentally leave any pods unattended while putting a load in. It always pays to play it safe in the laundry room when you’re a pet owner!