Laundry and dishwashing detergent can be toxic to your pets and children! Detergent pods are colorful and squishy – just the kind of thing pets and children like to dig their teeth into. But ingestion of even small amounts can cause toxicity. Even if the pod is not punctured, its contents may leak out of the pod, which is designed to dissolve in water.
Detergent in pods is highly concentrated and packaged under pressure – when the pod is punctured, large amounts can be sprayed into the eyes, mouth, nose, and lungs. The contents cause irritation to the skin, eyes, mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, and intestines – and the lungs in those who inhale it. Additionally, the contents foam when vomited, increasing the risk of even more product entering the lungs through aspiration. Symptoms of toxicity include vomiting, coughing, lethargy (lack of energy and enthusiasm), shortness of breath, wheezing, and even coma. Some children have had to be intubated (placement of a tube in the throat to allow breathing). There is no specific antidote and treatment is aimed at reducing symptoms and treating complications. If your pet or child plays with, chews, or bites into a detergent pod, remove the pod immediately and clean all of the detergent out of his mouth and off of his coat/skin. Contact your veterinarian (or physician in the case of a child) for advice, especially if he vomits or exhibits other signs of toxicity.