Learn More About Silica Gel, A Common Pet Toxin

February 4, 2016

At the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), our poison control experts field calls from pet parents whose furry friends have eaten every type of forbidden substance imaginable. One such substance is silica gel.

Silica gel usually comes in small white packets—typically the size of sugar packets—and can be found in the packaging for many items such as shoes, bags, coats, electronics, medications, vitamins, food and cat litter. APCC experts find that when these packets are packaged with food, pets may be more likely to consume them as they retain the smell of the food item. Silica gel packets are used as a desiccant (drying agent) to prevent moisture damage, and are often labeled with the message “Silica Gel Do Not Eat.” If eaten, silica gel can cause gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting and diarrhea—depending on the quantity consumed. Some silica gel packets may be fairly large, and if ingested, could potentially cause obstruction in the intestinal tract. Fortunately, this is not a common problem.

If your pet has ingested silica gel, please contact your veterinarian or APCC for more information.

APCC is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency—24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think that your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.