Cooking outdoors on the grill smells wonderful, doesn’t it? Can’t you just smell that mouth-watering steak cooking, with the juices falling and sizzling on the charcoal below? Many of us love to fire up the grill and eat out in the backyard. It’s fun, plus foods just seem to taste better grilled!
But what happens if your dog eats some of the ashes?
Why Would a Dog Eat Ashes?
That’s a good question and one that doesn’t have a clear answer. In some cases, dogs may suffer from pica, which is a condition that makes them eat non-food items. These may include anything from dirt and ashes to socks and rocks!
Then there are other dogs who are simply attracted to the food smells that come from the charcoal. Remember those sizzling meat juices? That’s what your dog may be after.
But can ashes make your dog sick?
Eating Ashes Can Make Dogs Sick
Ashes aren’t just the leftovers of charcoal and food juices. They also contain toxins that can be dangerous for dogs including potassium, petroleum, borax, sulfur oxides, lighter fluids, and sodium nitrate.
In addition, if the ashes are still hot, they can cause burns in the dog’s mouth, esophagus, and stomach.
There’s also one more problem—if a dog eats enough ash, it’s entirely possible he could develop an intestinal blockage. This is a life-threatening medical emergency.
Symptoms of an Intestinal Blockage in Dogs
You may notice these symptoms if your dog has eaten ashes and has developed an intestinal blockage:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain/swelling
If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, then call the vet immediately. This is a medical emergency.
My Dog Ate Some Ash – What Should I Do?
If your dog has eaten only a very tiny amount of ash, he should be OK. He may have stomach upset that’s accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea, but these shouldn’t last too long. However, if you suspect he has burnt his mouth on hot ashes then call your vet.
Similarly, if your dog has eaten a large amount of ash, then call the vet immediately.
It’s possible the vet may ask to see your dog. At the vet’s, they will do a complete physical exam of your dog. They may also order lab work, as well as imaging tests. The imaging tests are needed so the vet can work out if a gastrointestinal obstruction is occurring.
Treatment will depend on where and how much ash may be in the dog’s stomach and/or intestines. If the vet finds a blockage, then your fur baby may require surgery. However, with prompt treatment, most dogs will go on to make a full recovery.