My Dog Licked Some Motor Oil

correct answerThe Short Answer is:

Dogs are extremely sensitive to motor oil. Mineral synthetic and semi-synthetic motor oils are the three types of motor oil produced by Total. The different oils contain different additives that are added to improve the performance of the oil when it is used in cars. All of these additives are just different chemicals- none of which are healthy for your dog.

The purpose of this research is to explain “My Dog Licked Some Motor Oil“.

You’re having a bad day are not you?

Is there a suspicious dark puddle under your car and just when you think things can not get worse your dog comes over and starts drinking from the puddle.

Additionally you can see dollar bills from a vets emergency bill floating before your eyes on top of that car repair bill.

If your dog has just liked some motor oil how serious is it and what should you do?

My dog licked motor oil what should I do?

As motor oil is always toxic and can be fatal you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian or call the pet poison helpline. 

Is motor oil toxic to dogs?

Dogs are extremely sensitive to motor oil.

Mineral synthetic and semi-synthetic motor oils are the three types of motor oil produced by Total.

The different oils contain different additives that are added to improve the performance of the oil when it is used in cars. 

All of these additives are just different chemicals- none of which are healthy for your dog. 

Among these additives are corrosion inhibitors detergent additives and most concerningly antifreeze additives.

A lethal form of antifreeze for dogs is ethylene glycol poisoning and is known as antifreeze poisoning.

Ingesting enough of it can cause a dog to die from kidney failure within 12 hours without treatment. 

The lethal dose for a dog is estimated to be about a tablespoon or two but this is a rough estimate that does not take into account the size of your dog or any pre-existing conditions. 

Is there anything worse that could happen?

The news isnot all gloom and doom however.

Motor oil contains antifreeze but as a percentage it is quite small because it contains so many other ingredients.

This is especially true if your dog has only licked a tiny bit of motor oil.

Because of its complete ethylene glycol composition radiator coolant is the most dangerous.  

Symptoms of ethylene glycol poisoning

Ethylene glycol poisoning can be classified into three stages

Stage Onset Symptoms 
1 30 minutes ingestion Lethargy | Vomiting | Incoordination
2 12- 24 hours later Do dogs seem to improve? Increased heart rate
3 3 days later Lethargy | Vomiting | Seizures

What I havenot mentioned is that stage three includes death as the kidneys cease to function completely. 

After exploring the worst-case scenario of ethylene glycol poisoning I will move on to examine whether there are any differences between unused and used motor oil.

Unused motor oil vs used motor oil

To this point everything I have said has been in reference to unused or clean motor oil.

What are the differences between unused and used motor oil and how might this affect your dog?

Even more poisonous is used motor oil that your dog has licked.

Isnot that incredible?

Motor oil contains most of the additives and poisons described as well as heavy metals like lead zinc and barium. 

In addition some of these heavy metals might be present in used oil as tiny slivers of metal. 

As they travel through your dogs body they could potentially cut the lining of various organs along with poisoning it. 

Your dog may lick or ingest other types of oil besides motor oil.

In the next section I will discuss some others and see if they are just as dangerous. 

Motor oil vs lighter fluid vs WD40 vs cooking oil

Lets first examine lighter fluid.

Lighter fluid

Benzene naphtha and propane are among the gases and liquids used in lighter fluids.

They are all made from crude oil just like motor oil. 

All of these gases and liquids are hydrocarbons which are poisonous to dogs.

Lighter fluid kind of hints at its poisonous nature with its strong smell. 

However the strong odor can actually be one of the attractions for a dog. 

There are some people who intentionally inhale lighter fluid fumes in order to get high. 

If dogs are in very confined spaces they can accidentally inhale too many fumes from the lighter fluid. They would not deliberately inhale lighter fluid fumes. 

However eating a “cigarette lighter” may result in them accidentally ingesting lighter fluid. 

Symptoms may include severe pain in the throat and dizziness or comas.

If your dog consumes lighter fluid you should contact your veterinarian immediately. 

WD40- liquid lubricants

Next we’ll talk about WD40.

WD40 the famous liquid lubricant is predominantly composed of hydrocarbons classified as aliphatic or oil-like hydrocarbons. 

Like naphtha it contains liquids that are very similar to lighter fluids. 

As with lighter fluid it is hard for a dog to get “easy access” to WD40 since it is stored within a spray can and only comes out in tiny amounts as it is sprayed onto machinery. 

Although it remains poisonous if you think your dog ingested a significant amount you should seek medical attention immediately 

Cooking oil

The differences and similarities between cooking oil and lighter fluid and WD-40 are as great as their differences.

Unlike crude oil which is derived from animals that died millions of years ago cooking oil is derived from plants such as sunflowers which were harvested recently.

It is safer for a dog to ingest cooking oil than lighter fluid or WD40 since it does not contain harsh chemicals (hydrocarbons). 

There are dangers however.

Because cooking oil comes in much larger bottles than lighter fluid or WD-40 dogs are able to consume much larger quantities of it than those products.

However a dog can still be poisoned by cooking oil. 

In large amounts the pancreas of a dog which plays a key role in digestion is likely to become overwhelmed. 

How can I stop my dog from licking motor oil?

As with other harmful substances the best way to prevent anyone or a dog from licking or ingesting motor oil is to ensure that it is kept securely.

Dogs whose owners work on cars or spend a lot of time tinkering with them are at a higher risk than the rest of us.

You can do this by making sure your dog does not get in the way of a car when you are working around it.

Donot forget to clean up after yourself.

As simple as that sounds it isnot. 

Although you have the best intentions sometimes you will get distracted or not have enough time to do a thorough job. 

Alternatives to motor oil

Motor oil is a necessary part of owning a car because there is no other way to effectively maintain its engine.

That is if you want to keep driving a petrol or diesel car.

Electric vehicles on the other hand do not require motor oil to function so you have no other choice than to switch. 

Because electric cars are still very expensive for most people it might be best to keep any motor oil out of harms way for now.

If you want to read more about dog health tips read here: Dog Health Tips and Tricks.

My Dog Licked Some Motor Oil (Watch Video)

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