My Dog Ate A Penny What Should I Do?

Reviewed By Julie •  Updated: 03/16/23 •  3 min read
Dog Severe Toxicity Level
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Dog Ate A Penny

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Many things in our homes are toxic to dogs. But what about coins? Whether you’re counting pennies, rolling them, or throwing them in a jar, these coins may roll off without you even noticing. And if your dog is nearby, he may become curious about what this thing is. Is it edible? Is it chewable? The next thing you know, your canine companion has eaten the penny! But can pennies make a dog sick?

Has your dog eaten a penny? Are you worried the penny will make your dog sick? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We understand it’s scary when your dog does something like this.

We’ve gathered information about pennies and whether they can make a dog sick. Let’s get started!

It is strongly recommended to contact a Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian.

What are Pennies?

In the US, a penny is a small, copper-colored coin that’s $0.01! That’s one one-hundredth of a US dollar. This is the lowest value for a coin in this country. Pennies always have a picture of President Abraham Lincoln on one side, and the reverse side has a laurel wreath and the words “one cent” with other text.

While pennies are not worth much, many of us have them in abundance. This is a coin that’s difficult to get rid of because it has such a low value. However, they can also come in handy if you only need a few cents.

What happens if a dog eats a penny? Can a penny make a dog sick?

Pennies & Dogs

Unfortunately, pennies are toxic to dogs. Coins are one of the primary sources of poisoning for dogs. Pennies made after 1982 contain some copper and high levels of zinc. Zinc is highly toxic to dogs and can even be fatal.

The level of toxicity depends on how many pennies a dog has eaten, along with this size and weight. The problem is that zinc causes hemolytic anemia, which can be fatal.

Symptoms of Penny Toxicity in Dogs

You may notice these symptoms if your dog has eaten a penny:

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, call the vet immediately. This is an emergency.

It may be difficult or impossible to tell how many coins your dog may have eaten. But see if you can figure out approximately how many pennies your dog ate. Try to determine about what time this happened. When you call the vet, provide this and any other information. This can help the vet determine the next steps in helping your fur baby.

Treatment of Penny Toxicity in Dogs

The pennies must be removed from your dog’s system. The vet may try to induce vomiting if your dog recently ate the pennies. However, surgery may sometimes be needed to remove the coins safely.

Before surgery, the vet will work to stabilize your dog’s condition. This may be done with IV fluids, medications, and a blood transfusion (if your dog is seriously anemic). Once your canine companion’s stable, the vet will perform the surgery and remove the pennies.

After surgery, your dog may need to remain hospitalized for a few days. It depends on the severity of the poisoning and his condition after the operation.

The prognosis is best for dogs that receive prompt medical treatment after they eat pennies. So, if your dog has eaten pennies, be sure to call the vet right away. Your dog’s life may depend on it!

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Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she studied Animal science. Though contrary to the opinion of her parents she was meant to study pharmacy, but she was in love with animals especially cats. Julie currently works in an animal research institute (NGO) in California and loves spending quality time with her little cat. She has the passion for making research about animals, how they survive, their way of life among others and publishes it. Julie is also happily married with two kids.

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