If a dog ingests Vaseline or any brand of petroleum jelly, petMD recommends taking the petroleum jelly from the dog, calling the pet poison line and monitoring the dog for signs of illness. Inducing vomiting is not the correct approach. Symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, confusion, pawing at the muzzle, instability or difficulty breathing could indicate aspiration pneumonia in the dog.
Ingestion of Vaseline or any petroleum jelly is likely to only cause stomach upset and diarrhea, according to the ASPCA, and the risk of aspiration pneumonia is slight. The risk increases if the dog vomits as vomiting creates the potential for the substance to enter its lungs, says petMD. If aspiration pneumonia is suspected, the dog needs to go to the veterinarian as soon as possible for a stomach wash, blood work and/or oxygen treatment. The vet is likely to administer activated charcoal to neutralize the ingested material.
A small amount of Vaseline ingested, not inhaled, is safe according to Cesar Milan, who recommends using the product to soothe and moisturize dogs' feet during winter walks. Regardless of the use of Vaseline or other petroleum jellies on a dog, the ASPCA recommends keeping it out of the reach of curious pets.