If your dog eats ChapStick, you shouldn’t panic. We’ll cover everything you need to know.
There are so many delicious, delightful lip balms on the market. Whether you love marshmallow-flavored, cola-scented, or just a classic cherry, there’s a plethora of options on your local pharmacy’s shelves.
Unfortunately, the appealing scents of these lip balms are appealing to your dog, too. It’s not unheard of for a dog lover to come home and find his ChapStick devoured by his dog.
So what do you do if that happens? Let’s take a look at the steps to take if your dog eats your ChapStick.
Before reading an answer to this question, “What to Do If Your Dog Eats ChapStick,” check out: Why Do Dogs Have Serrated Lips? (2023) and Why Does My Dog Keep Burping and Licking Lips? Possible Causes and What to Do! (2023).
Is ChapStick Harmful to Dogs?
The toxicity of lip balm to dogs depends on the brand you buy. You’ll have to take a look at the ingredients on the label, as even “natural” ingredients can be harmful.
Rather than call out brands for their toxicity, let’s look at a list of ingredients that are commonly found in various lip-balm brands. Use this information to determine whether your pup is in medical trouble.
Essential oils. Just because a product is “natural” doesn’t mean it’s safe for dogs! Many manufacturers include essential oils like peppermint, cinnamon, tea tree, certain citruses, vanilla extract, and cloves.
Phenol and camphor. These ingredients are typically found in ChapStick products marked “medicated.” They are toxic to dogs.
Xylitol. This is a sugar substitute often found in baked goods, drinks, and cosmetics. It gives your lip balm a sweeter taste, but it’s toxic to your fur baby. We’ll talk about xylitol poisoning more in depth.
Sunscreen. A final ingredient you may not consider is sunscreen! Some ChapStick products contain sunblock, which is fantastic for your lips but bad news for your pet.
The tube. The most dangerous possibility is that your pup may ingest the tube that contained the lip balm! This is not only a choking hazard but can cause intestinal blockage as well, requiring surgery.
My Dog Ate ChapStick — What Should I Do Now?
When your dog eats ChapStick, you’ll want to know what actions to take. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through ensuring your dog is okay.
Determine How Much ChapStick Your Dog Ate
When speaking with the vet, you’ll want to know how much ChapStick your dog ingested so she can help you determine whether your dog is at risk. The size of the lip balm and the size of the dog matter.
If your dog has only eaten a small part of the lip balm in the tube, he or she will probably be fine.
Call Your Vet
Most veterinarians’ offices have a helpline or an after-hours number you can call if your dog is in trouble. If you’re concerned about your pup’s safety, call the number and let the team know what happened. Have the ChapStick ingredients handy, if possible.
If you haven’t established a “home” veterinarian, call the American Humane Society’s Pet Helpline. The number is 952-HELP-PET. Note that they are not a 24-hour service. For round-the-clock help, call the Pet Poison Hotline at 800-213-6680.
Check for Signs of Distress
If your dog has been affected by ChapStick, there are signs you’ll want to look out for:
- Itching or signs of allergy
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Excessive drooling
- Lethargy or clingy behavior
- Unwillingness to eat or drink
If you’ve determined your ChapStick contained xylitol, there are additional signs to look out for:
- Increased heart rate
- Weakness and convulsions
- Liver failure
- Loss of mobility
Symptoms may not show up right away, so it’s best to monitor your dog for signs of distress over the course of 24 hours or so. Should you notice changes in your dog’s behavior, call the vet or bring your dog in to emergency care.
Prevent Future Incidents
You’ve had quite a scare! Now that you know your dog is okay, let’s take steps to prevent this from happening again.
- Put your ChapStick away! Tuck it in a purse, a medicine cabinet, or another out-of-reach area that your dog can’t access. If your pup can’t reach your ChapStick, he can’t eat it.
- Keep your dog entertained and stimulated. Dogs that are mentally stimulated are less likely to get into trouble, so take your dog for a walk and invest in some new toys.
- Consider crating your dog when you’re not home. When you’re home, you’re likely to “catch” your pup in the act of getting into things he shouldn’t. You can’t do that while you’re away, but a crate can keep your dog out of trouble.
- Purchase the most pup-friendly lip balms you can find. Burt’s Bees is generally a good bet, though you’ll want to look up the ingredients of the lip balm you choose. Even Burt’s Bees products sometimes contain ingredients like peppermint and vanilla that can harm your dog.
Remember that accidents happen, but you can take measures now to prevent your dog from finding trouble in the future.
My Dog Ate ChapStick — Will She Be Okay?
ChapStick tubes are small, and there’s very little chance that your dog will be severely affected by such a small amount. However, you’ll want to keep a close watch on your dog. Monitor her for signs of poisoning, or any of the symptoms we’ve listed above.
If you’ve discovered that your dog has ingested the lip balm tube or a portion of it, it’s best to call your vet. Bowel obstructions and even intestinal damage can occur, and your dog may require surgery.
Obviously, your dog won’t be able to digest the plastic tube that contained your ChapStick. In rare instances, she may be able to pass it safely. But, to be safe, make that call to your veterinarian.
Xylitol Poisoning in Dogs
Now, while most lip balm won’t cause too much of an issue for your dog, lip balms with xylitol may be particularly harmful. This sweetener is highly toxic to dogs, so further monitoring will be necessary.
Signs of xylitol poisoning include:
- Weakness and lethargy
- A loss of mobility or coordination
- Seizures or tremors
In small doses, xylitol can cause low blood sugar in dogs. In higher doses, the ingredient can lead to coma, liver failure, and death.
If your pup consumed xylitol, your veterinarian may recommend that you induce vomiting. Bloodwork will likely be necessary, as your vet will want to check your pup’s blood glucose and potassium levels.
In severe cases of xylitol poisoning, your pup will need to be hospitalized. An IV will likely be administered, and your dog will be closely monitored.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know what to do if your dog ate ChapStick, we thought you may be interested in some of the most frequently asked questions by our readers.
As with most cosmetics, the toxicity of lipstick will depend on its ingredients. Most aren’t inherently poisonous, but most contain fragrances, preservatives, and other additives that may upset your dog.
If your dog’s gotten into your makeup bag, follow the steps above. Generally speaking, your dog should be fine. But you’ll want to monitor him for signs of distress.
In most cases, nothing. Burt’s Bees is one of the pet-friendliest brands on store shelves, and you typically don’t have anything to worry about. Check the ingredients list for flavorings like vanilla or peppermint, and ensure that your dog hasn’t consumed the lip-balm packaging.
Under veterinary care, your dog can most likely recover from xylitol poisoning. However, ingestion of this chemical will require immediate attention. Monitor your dog and call the vet. Your vet will likely recommend bloodwork and possibly intravenous fluids.
ChapStick tubes are small, but even a small amount of xylitol can cause serious harm to your dog. When possible, avoid purchasing products that contain this ingredient. Accidents happen, but xylitol ingestion can be a fatal mistake.
Conclusion For “What to Do If Your Dog Eats ChapStick”
Your dog ate ChapStick, but there’s no need to panic yet. Watch your pup for signs of distress, and ascertain how much of the product he ingested. Then, follow the steps above to ensure your dog remains healthy and happy.
When in doubt, please call one of the following animal poison control phone numbers:
- American Humane Society: 952-HELP-PET
- Pet Poison Hotline: 800-213-6680
In the future, as you shop for cosmetics please do your best to avoid the ingredients listed in this guide. They’re highly toxic to dogs, and while ChapStick tubes are small, you can still harm your pet by leaving these products within reach.
If you find this guide, “What to Do If Your Dog Eats ChapStick,” helpful, check out:
- My Dog Ate Melatonin: What Should I Do? (2023)
- My Dog Ate Fish Bones: What Should I Do? (2023)
- My Dog Ate Deodorant. What Should I Do? (2023)
Learn more by watching “What Do You Do When Your Dog Eats Something it Shouldn’t?” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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