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Homemade Slime Toxicity in Pets

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Many parents are looking for fun ways to keep the kids entertained at home. Whether you need a boredom buster or a homeschooling art project, homemade slime (or “goop”) is easy to make and fun for the kids to play with. There are a lot of recipe variations for homemade slime to make glitter slime, glow in the dark slime, fluffy slime, and countless other types of slime! Be cautious though – the downside is that many common ingredients used in homemade slime are toxic to pets.

Here is a list of the more common toxic ingredients, as well as the effects they have on our pets:

 

1. Laundry Detergent

  • Causes stomach upset, nausea, and vomiting.
  • If a pet vomits up laundry detergent, they may accidentally breathe in both the vomit and the detergent. The detergent can then cause aspiration pneumonitis which leads to difficulty breathing.

2. Borax

  • Commonly found in slime, ant traps, and cleaning products.
  • In small quantities, causes stomach upset and vomiting.
  • In large quantities, causes kidney injury.

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3. Table Salt

  • In craft products, table salt is commonly found in homemade slime, homemade playdough, and salt dough decorations.
  • Pets are very sensitive to high levels of salt.
  • Causes elevated sodium in the blood. Depending on the amount eaten, the high sodium in the blood can cause a range of symptoms such as stomach upset, lethargy, seizures, tremors, coma, or death.
  • Note: Some slime recipes call for Epsom salt instead of table salt. This still causes elevated blood sodium levels.

4. Saline Contact Lens Solutions

  • Contains saline which contains salt.
  • Like salt, causes elevated sodium in the blood.
  • Depending on other ingredients in the solution, stomach upset is also possible.

Other common ingredients that may be found in homemade slime recipes include shaving cream, lotion, soap, shampoo, and school glue. Most of these will cause stomach upset and vomiting. Variations of these ingredients may increase the toxicity, however. For example, lotions or shampoos with cocoa bean extract contain the same substance that makes chocolate toxic to pets.

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Always double-check the ingredients for items that are toxic to your pets whenever you make this fun craft. To ensure your pet’s safety, we recommend keeping pets out of the room while making or playing with homemade slime. If you think your pet did get into some homemade slime, contact your family veterinarian, local animal emergency hospital, or ASPCA Poison Control.

Latasha Sikes, DVM, emergency veterinarian, Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota, Oakdale emergency vet, Saint Paul emergency vet

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