Pens are popular these days, but many of us still use pencils. And who isn’t guilty of chewing on a pencil now and then? But what if your dog finds a pencil and eats it? Can the pencil make your dog sick?
Has your dog eaten a pencil? Are you worried the pencil will make your dog sick? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We understand it can be scary when your dog eats something like this.
We’ve gathered information about pencils and whether they can make a dog sick. Let’s get started!
What is a Pencil?
A pencil is used for writing or drawing. Today’s pencils usually include an outer casing made of wood, with a core that creates marks when pushed across paper.
While pencils are safe when used correctly, what happens if a dog eats one?
Pencils & Dogs
The good news is that pencils don’t contain anything toxic to a dog. The pencil’s inner core is made of graphite rather than lead. In the past, pencils were made with lead. But lead is toxic, so our pencils now are made with graphite, which is entirely safe.
The wood of the pencil is made of soft wood, such as cedar. What’s more, the paint used on the pencil is non-toxic, which is fortunate for us (who chew on pencils) and dogs who may chew or eat them!
Pencils may also include a metal case at the top that holds an eraser. The metal case may be made of aluminum. While that can be toxic, the amount used in the metal case is not enough to poison a dog. And the eraser is made of non-toxic vinyl or rubber.
Having said all that, it is possible that a dog could get sick from eating a pencil. The danger is that chewing the pencil could create wood splinters. These are very sharp and could cause an injury to the mouth, throat, or the dog’s digestive tract. The splinters could also become lodged anywhere along the digestive tract and cause a serious infection.
Symptoms of Pencil Ingestion in Dogs
You may notice these symptoms if your dog has eaten a pencil:
- Coughing or gagging, difficulty breathing
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Lack of appetite
If your dog has any of these or other concerning symptoms, call the vet immediately. This is an emergency.
Do not induce vomiting, as this may cause further damage or other injuries to your dog.
Treatment of Pencil Ingestion in Dogs
Treatment depends on the dog’s symptoms and the vet’s diagnosis. For pencil splinters caught in your dog’s throat, the vet may need to perform an endoscopic procedure to remove the splinters. It may also be necessary to repair any damage the splinters may have caused.
If your dog has an obstruction or other condition, the treatment may involve surgery to remove the splinters or wood and repair the damage to the digestive tract. If the splinters have become lodged in the dog’s intestines (or any other part of the digestive system), the vet may need to perform surgery to remove them.
In some cases, the vet may prescribe antibiotics to treat any possible or existing infections.
The prognosis is best for dogs who have prompt medical treatment after eating a pencil. The good news is that most dogs will make a full recovery. However, prevention is always the best medicine. In the future, it’s best to keep all pencils out of your dog’s reach. You’ll both be happier for it!