help! what do i do if my dog ate toothpaste?

Help! What Do I Do If My Dog Ate Toothpaste?

Dog’s eating toothpaste is no joke. Whether they got into it while you weren’t paying attention or you were attempting to clean your dog’s teeth, toothpaste can cause a lot of damage to your pet.

In fact, even a little bit of human toothpaste can kill a dog if immediate action isn’t taken. Though you may want to start by inducing vomiting, it may cause your dog more harm than good. Instead, go to an emergency vet immediately or call the pet poison helpline.

Keep reading to learn more about the toxic ingredients in toothpaste and what to do when your dog eats a whole tube of toothpaste.

Will Toothpaste Hurt a Dog?

Will Toothpaste Hurt a Dog?
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Human toothpaste can and will harm a dog. If your dog eats human toothpaste, your dog will likely have some very serious symptoms.

Whether they ingested a little or a lot of toothpaste from a tube, it doesn’t matter.

There are a lot of harmful chemicals in toothpaste that while they don’t negatively affect us, can severely harm a dog.

If you do want to brush your dog’s teeth, which is a great idea, make sure you get a toothpaste that is made for dogs. Not only is it a taste that they will enjoy, but it is much safer if they eat some.

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What Are the Symptoms of a Dog Eating Human Toothpaste?

What Are the Symptoms of a Dog Eating Human Toothpaste?
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If dogs eat toothpaste, there are several symptoms that you should look out for.

Vomiting is usually the most obvious and the most common. Your dog’s body will naturally try to eliminate ingested toxins

Your dog will also be tired as it tries to fight this toxic substance. Your dog may start to show symptoms of lethargy.

When the problems get more serious, your dog may start to show Ataxia, which is a struggle to walk around as the muscle coordination of the body isn’t working well.

Your dog may also have seizures as its blood sugar starts to drop. The body needs sugar, especially the brain, to function properly.

Another symptom that many dog owners overlook is black stool. It will be tar-like in color and texture. This may be a sign of something serious such as liver failure or severe GI distress.

If your dog eats the toothpaste tube as well as the toothpaste itself, your dog may also have a blockage or blood in the stool.

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How Much Toothpaste Is Toxic to a Dog?

What Should You Do if Your Dog Ate Toothpaste?

If you are sure your dog has eaten toothpaste but don’t know how long it’s been, you can call the pet poison helpline.

If you just caught your dog eating the toothpaste, taking them to an emergency vet immediately is the best option.

However, if you aren’t sure that your dog has eaten toothpaste, but they are displaying symptoms, that doesn’t mean that you should wait around either. Your vet should be able to run tests to check for common poisonings from toothpaste.

Why Is Human Toothpaste Bad For Dogs?

Why Is Human Toothpaste Bad For Dogs?
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There are a couple of reasons why human toothpaste is bad for dogs.

To start, it isn’t something that is good for people either and shouldn’t be swallowed in large qualities by people either.

However, since dogs, even the big ones, are a lot smaller than us, most of the things we can handle, they are unable to process quickly enough.

Also, certain products are harmful to them where they aren’t nearly as dangerous for us.

Below are the three most common dangers that toothpaste presents to dogs.


As you may have learned during your last trip to the doctor, high levels of sodium aren’t good for people either.

This is true with dogs too, however, they are in much smaller bodies, which means that the amount of sodium we could safely ingest may lead to sodium poisoning in dogs.

While not every toothpaste has a lot of sodium, quite a few of them use baking soda as an ingredient to help whiten teeth. As the name suggests, baking soda contains light levels of sodium.


Usually, sugars release an insulin response from the body, which can cause liver problems if done in too large a dose or too often.

In people, xylitol doesn’t stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas. However, in dogs, it does.

In smaller doses, this can result in a drop in blood sugar known as hypoglycemia. This is usually a relatively quick response and can take anywhere between ten minutes to an hour to kick in. This low blood sugar affects all parts of your pet’s body.

If there is a higher dosage, or the insulin response is untreated, then liver disease can also occur.


Flouride, while not found in every toothpaste, is found in quite a few of them.

Fluoride is great for the teeth in small doses, but if ingested too much, especially for dogs, it can affect the calcium levels in the body.

Usually, fluoride poisoning starts with gastrointestinal upset. However, over time, the calcium levels in the body will start to decrease, and lead to heart and bone problems.


The plastic tube and the toothpaste cap aren’t something your dog can easily break down in their body. This means that however they ate t, it has to come out that way. So if they ate a sharp piece of plastic or the whole cap, it is going to come out that same way.

This can cause damage to the throat, stomach, or intestines and may even cause a blockage. Sometimes, if not noticed soon enough, this can lead to death.

Some dogs are lucky enough to pass out the plastic again in one piece, but many aren’t.

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Can A Dog Survive Eating Sodium?

Can A Dog Survive Eating Sodium?
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Yes, a dog can survive eating sodium. However, it will need a lot of water to dilute the amount of sodium in the body.

While you can try to get your dog to drink some water, this might not work, especially if they are vomiting. In fact, if they are vomiting, it is even more important to make sure they are getting water as vomiting can cause further dehydration and exacerbate the symptoms of sodium poisoning.

This is why going to a vet is the best option for you. They can put IVs in dogs, allowing them to get the liquids they need, and dilute the sodium in the body.

What is Sodium?

Sodium is a common mineral found in many foods. While it is necessary for the body, it can also cause a lot of harm when people eat too much.

Sodium is also found in baking soda, which is often found in baked goods and toothpaste.

While it is abrasive and can damage the enamel, it also is great for getting rid of plaque.

What Are the Symptoms of a Dog Eating Sodium?

What Are the Symptoms of a Dog Eating Sodium?
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A dog eating too much sodium can lead to many different health issues.

  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Tongue swelling
  • Headache
  • Respiratory distress
  • Fever
  • Extreme thirst
  • Weakness

And many more. Since salt can suck the water out of your dog’s body and into their intestine, you may see a lot of health problems rather quickly if your dog doesn’t get enough water afterward.

Can A Dog Survive Eating Xylitol?

Can A Dog Survive Eating Xylitol?
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Yes, a dog can survive eating xylitol. However, it depends heavily on the amount of xylitol in the product they ate, and how quickly you can react after they eat it.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a substance that is naturally occurring and often used as a substitute for sugar. Another name for it is sugar alcohol and it is commonly found in berries, corn, trees, lettuce, mushrooms, plums, and more.

Unfortunately, a lot of countries approve of using this substance as a food additive. Its most commonly known use, though, is in toothpaste, which is why it can be so dangerous for dogs.

Because it is just as sweet as sucrose but it is far fewer calories, and it has been shown to reduce plaque, and cavities, and increase saliva production, it doesn’t look to be going away anytime soon.

In people, the only harmful effect is that it can be a mild laxative, as xylitol pulls water into the intestines

What Are the Symptoms of a Dog Eating Xylitol?

What Are the Symptoms of a Dog Eating Xylitol?
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There are several severe symptoms of xylitol poisoning. These include issues like vomiting, decreased activity and lethargy, weakness, staggering, tremors, low blood pressure, blood in the stool, incoordination, collapse, seizures, and even comas in more severe cases.

Xylitol poisoning acts quickly, so if you think your dog has ingested toothpaste, or anything else containing xylitol, it is best to get your dog to the vet immediately instead of waiting around for signs of symptoms.

Can a Dog Survive Eating Flouride?

Can a Dog Survive Eating Flouride?
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Yes, a dog can survive when they ingest fluoride, however, it depends heavily on a quick response.

One 3-ounce tube of toothpaste contains more than enough fluoride for any dog under 35 pounds.

Thankfully, it absorbs a little slower than xylitol, so you have a chance to get to the emergency vet in a good amount of time.

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is found naturally in everything. Plants, water, air, and even rocks all contain some trace amounts of the mineral.

It is also commonly put into our water systems and our toothpaste as it helps to strengthen enamel and fight cavities.

However, in both young puppies and children, too much fluoride at an early age can cause health issues.

Even in adults, too much fluoride can cause problems with your bones and ligaments as it pulls calcium from your body to your bones. You may also experience kidney disease and arthritis, so even for people, it is important to not ingest too much toothpaste at once.

What Are the Symptoms of a Dog Eating Flouride

What Are the Symptoms of a Dog Eating Flouride
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There are quite a few symptoms when a dog eats too much fluoride.

Some examples are:

  • depression
  • Stiffness
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle wasting
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lameness
  • Rapid breathing
  • Labored breathing
  • Excessive gas
  • Gastroenteritis

However, those symptoms are just scratching the surface. You may also see things like sudden death, seizures, or anything else. So if you aren’t sure if your dog has eaten toothpaste or gotten into fluoride some other way, then it might be a good idea to go to the vet just in case.

How Do We Treat Dogs That Have Eaten Toothpaste?

How Do We Treat Dogs That Have Eaten Toothpaste?
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If you know the kind of toothpaste or have evidence of what they ate, it is best to bring that with you on your trip to the emergency veterinarian.

This will allow them to fully understand the situation and give you their best veterinarian’s advice.

This also helps them to make a good diagnosis. They can determine if it is likely if your dog ate any plastic, see how much toothpaste your dog ate, and what ingredients were in the toothpaste your dog ate.

If there is a lot of uncertainty, they may have to scan your dog’s stomach and intestines to make sure nothing is in there and that there is no bowel obstruction.

They may also run tests just to make sure it is poisoning from sodium lauryl sulfate, fluoride, or xylitol that is causing the issue.

Once they determine the issue, they will begin their next steps.

Knowing which one is causing the issue is very important. However, a lot of the symptoms can be similar initially, such as vomiting, lethargy, and watery stool, which can make it hard to diagnose from a glance and why tests might need to be performed first.

For example, xylitol gets absorbed so fast, that there is often no point in trying to induce vomiting.

When it comes to fluoride, though, induced vomiting is often attempted, as it absorbs at a much slower pace.

Sodium poisoning may also require vomiting and intravenous fluids to help dilute the amount of sodium in the body.

Tests for organ damage, IV fluids support, and constant blood sugar monitoring may be necessary as well.

Wrapping Up

If you notice your dog with severe complications and you think that it might be because your dog ate toothpaste, it is important to head to the vet immediately before other symptoms occur or there are any further complications.

While all dogs risk harm and severe injuries from eating toothpaste, a small dog might be most t risk, and you will need to call an ER vet on your way over to get proper veterinary guidance.

While there is no guarantee that intravenous therapy and veterinary care will save your dog, most dogs should be able to respond positively to treatment and come out okay if sent to the vet immediately.

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