Pictured: Paintballs

Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs

Level of toxicity: Generally moderate to severe

Common signs to watch for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Walking drunk
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Decreased level of consciousness

Paintballs, when ingested, can result in severe poisoning in dogs, and rarely cats and ferrets. While this is an uncommon toxicity, it can be life-threatening. The components inside a paintball are “osmotically active,” which means that they can pull free water into the intestinal tract. This can results in severe salt and electrolyte imbalances; untreated, this can be fatal. Some of the active ingredients within paintballs include: glycerol, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol (PEG), wax, dye, gelatin, etc. Clinical signs of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, walking drunk, tremors, seizures, and decreased level of consciousness.

Paintballs can cause a false positive blood test for the more life-threatening poison, antifreeze (ethylene glycol). Make sure your veterinarian is aware of this.

If you suspect your dog ate paintballs, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately for life-saving advice.

Poison type: household_items

Alternate names: Paint balls, glycerol, glycerin, polyethylene glycol, PEG, sorbitol, salt, hypernatremia