Play Dough (Homemade)

salt dough

Pictured: Homemade play dough

Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs

Level of toxicity: Generally moderate to severe, life-threatening

Common signs to watch for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Incoordination
  • Excessive thirst or urination
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Homemade play dough often contains flour, food coloring, oil, and a large amount of salt. Pets may find this dough enticing, eat it, and then develop salt toxicity. Similarly, homemade salt dough is used to make salt dough ornaments during the holiday season. Ingestion of these ornaments can also cause severe salt toxicity and has resulted in fatalities.

Other sources of salt poisoning in dogs and cats include rock salt (for de-icers), paint balls, table salt, sea water, and enemas (containing sodium phosphate).

Salt poisoning in dogs and cats results in signs of vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, lethargy, incoordination, excessive thirst or urination. In severe cases, tremors, seizures, coma, and even death are possible.

If you think your dog or cat ingested homemade play dough or salt dough, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately for life-saving treatment advice.

Poison type: foods

Alternate names: salt poisoning, salt toxicity, salt dough, salt dough ornaments, hypernatremia