According to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, dogs that eat petroleum jelly sometimes experience gastrointestinal upset, such as stomach aches, vomiting or diarrhea. In addition, there is a very small possibility of pneumonia if the balm is taken into the lungs while being eaten or vomited up from the stomach, according to the ASPCA. The ASPCA explains that the petroleum in the product causes the distress.
The Veterinary Poisons Information Service considers petroleum jelly to have low toxicity for dogs. The service indicates that no significant steps need to be taken when a dog consumes petroleum jelly. However, if the dog loses fluids through vomiting or experiences loose stools, extra water should be provided to prevent dehydration. In addition, if any further symptoms appear, a veterinarian should be consulted, the service advises.
Petroleum jelly is not always an annoyance for dogs and their owners. Cesar's Way, the website for dog trainer Cesar Millan, recommends using petroleum jelly to protect dogs in winter. The product provides a barrier between ice, snow, salt and a dog's feet. Cesar's Way advises that, before taking a dog outside in cold weather, an owner should smear petroleum jelly or a commercial protective balm on the pads of the dog's feet. Upon return, the dog's feet should be dried off, and another layer of the substance should be applied, according to Cesar's Way.