My Dog Ate Laxatives! What Should I Do? (Answered)

As dog owners, I think we can all agree that dogs are the most curious creatures ever! They want to discover everything without realizing that some stuff can be harmful to them. They like to taste and chew any object that they encounter, just because this is their own way of exploring their environment. 

Laxatives are generally substances that facilitate the passage of food residues through the digestive tract, and they are usually prescribed in cases of constipation in both animals and humans. These substances allow the easy excretion of feces and are not harmful inadequate doses. They are found in some feeds or can be prescribed to humans as pills for fast, efficient results. 

Your dog may sometimes have access to some substances and materials that are harmful to his health. And in some cases, you might have left your dog unattended for a while and found out that he ate some laxatives that he found around him. So if you ever face a situation where you left some of your laxative pills around your curious dog, and he ingested one or more of them, keep reading to understand the risks and dangers of this behavior. 

Are Laxatives Harmful to Dogs?

Laxatives are generally non-harmful to dogs in adequate amounts; in fact, your veterinarian might prescribe some kinds of laxatives if your dog ever faces constipation. Therefore, if your dog ingested one or two laxative pills, there is no need to panic because it won’t cause adverse effects on them. On the other hand, if your dog ingested a large amount, such as a whole packet, you would want to contact your veterinarian immediately. 

If it happened that your dog ever ate or swallowed a foreign object like a napkin, highlighter pen, or an aluminum can, your veterinarian would most likely prescribe some laxatives. This will ease out the excretion of any plastic or metal object that does not need surgical interference. So, in fact, laxatives can be very beneficial for some pathological issues that your dog might face. Thus they are not really risky.

On the other hand, if your dog ingests huge amounts with a high dose of laxatives, he might actually face some adverse effects. It won’t be anything too dangerous, but it will make your pet uncomfortable for a while. Most likely, you will be able to see excessive diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. The only risk that these symptoms impose is the excessive loss of water and dehydration.

Will Laxatives Kill a Dog?

Laxatives definitely do not have a lethal effect on pets unless consumed in horrendous amounts. They generally just cause some unfavorable symptoms which are uncomfortable for your dog. The only serious effect that laxatives cause is severe dehydration due to excessive diarrhea. In some rare cases of untreated dehydration, your dog might undergo hypovolemic shock and die, but this is very unlikely. 

Mostly, the side effects of laxatives consist of softening the stools and increasing intestinal movement to ease out the passage of feces. It basically allows the reabsorption of water into the bowl in order to make the stool runnier, thus showing some diarrhea in certain cases. Additionally, it promotes intestinal movements that facilitate the excretion of stools.

So if you realize that your dog ate some laxatives, don’t stress out, as it probably won’t cause him any dangerous adverse problems. On the other hand, just make sure that you keep your dog hydrated and contact your veterinarian in case of abnormal reactions. In general, keep monitoring your dog for 48 hours to make sure that everything is in order. 

Are Chocolate Laxatives Harmful to Dogs?

As mentioned before, laxatives by themselves are rarely harmful to your dog, but the chocolate version might actually impose some risks on your dog’s life. Your dog could go through chocolate toxicity if he ingested large amounts of chocolate, so if your dog ate a chocolate laxative, that’s definitely not a good indication. Moreover, the negligible effect of the laxative itself might aggravate the effect of chocolate toxicity, thus making things even worse. 

Chocolate mainly contains substances that are easily metabolized by humans but not by dogs; therefore, such substances can accumulate in your dog’s systems, thus causing some toxic effects. Those of which are also caused by other types of poisonous substances such as lead-containing paint. Symptoms of chocolate toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, panting, and in severe cases, chocolate can cause tremors. 

And since the laxative can cause symptoms such as diarrhea as well, we can visualize an amplified outcome, where your dog will lose huge amounts of water. This will lead to the formation of severe dehydration symptoms, which can kill your dog if left untreated. For this reason, the most dangerous type of laxative your dog can consume is a chocolate laxative, as it is highly toxic for him.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!