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Dr.Beth, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 631
Experience:  Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota
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My dog drank motor oil. Will he be alright? Help!

Customer Question

My dog ingested motor oil. What do I need to do? Will he be alright or is he in great danger?

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr.Beth replied 8 years ago.

I would like to help you with your question, but first I need a bit more information.

How long ago was the oil eaten?

How much do you think she ate?

What brand?

How much does she weigh?

How is she doing now?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Maybe some time early this morning I'm not sure how much the oil was for an atv she weighs about 56 lbs and she is not herself very withdrawn slow.

Expert:  Dr.Beth replied 8 years ago.

Was this used motor oil or new? Has she had any vomiting?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
It was old in a small bucket my son was using to clean bike parts. She has been vomiting
Expert:  Dr.Beth replied 8 years ago.

Ok that was not the answer I wanted to hear. So if new motor oil is ingested and no vomiting occurs, you will typically only see diarrhea and an upset stomach. With ingestion of used oil, there can can be significant amounts of lead present in the liquid. This can cause a lead toxicity. Vomiting the oil is dangerous because it is often then breathed into the lungs and causes aspiration pneumonia. With ingestion of any motor oil you are going to see loose to liquid (and quite oily) diarrhoea for a few days. Because she is vomiting, I am not going to have you feed her anything at this time.

She should however be taken to an emergency clinic to assess for the possibility of aspiration pneumonia developing. They may also want to check her blood lead levels to make sure that she is not developing a lead toxicity.

Please let me know if I can be of further help.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

What damage will this do to her. Will it have the effect that antifreeze does? Is she in pain? Will her organs shut down?

Expert:  Dr.Beth replied 8 years ago.

If any of the oil was aspirated (breathed into the lungs during vomiting), this can create a very serious and even deadly pneumonia.

Ingestion of the motor oil itself usually just causes significant diarrhea, that will pass with time. However, if she is also fighting an aspiration pneumonia, any dehydration from the diarrhea may lead to organ failures.

If the motor oil had significant amounts of lead in it, a lead toxicity can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, anorexia, seizures, drunken gait, erratic behavior, dementia, muscle spasms, and blindness.