Many kids love to use chalk on chalkboards or even on the sidewalk. It’s fun to draw with chalk, and it can create some pretty colorful pictures! But you know how curious a dog is about anything his family may eat or use!
Some dogs may wonder what the chalk is and if it’s some kind of food. So, your canine companion chews or swallows down the chalk! What do you do now? Can chalk make a dog sick?
Has your dog eaten chalk? Are you worried the chalk 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 chalk and whether it can make a dog sick. Let’s get started!
What is Chalk?
Most of us know what chalk is, but not everyone knows what chalk is made of. Chalk is a form of limestone naturally soft, white, and porous. It’s a type of sedimentary carbonate rock. Chalk is made chiefly of calcite. The limestone was created by the sea when it compressed microscopic plankton on the sea floor.
Natural chalk can be used for many purposes, including drawing, as a filler, in ceramics, and more. Pigments are also sometimes added to chalk to give it more color. This type of chalk is usually thinner and shorter than sidewalk chalk.
There’s another kind of chalk called sidewalk chalk. These are larger, thicker pieces of chalk that are made of calcium sulfate and gypsum. It comes in a wide range of colors and is mostly used to draw on sidewalks, pavement, driveways, and more.
While chalk is safe when used as directed, what happens if a dog eats chalk?
Chalk & Dogs
Fortunately, chalk is non-toxic and will not poison a dog! That’s the good news! There’s another problem we must mention, however.
If a dog eats an entire stick (or more) of chalk, it is possible the chalk could form a blockage in the dog’s digestive tract. This is a serious condition that can cause death if it’s left untreated.
A blockage can form, but it depends on the size and amount of chalk eaten, as well as the size and weight of the dog. For instance, if a small dog eats an entire piece of sidewalk chalk, chances are he could end up with a blockage. On the other hand, a very large dog that eats a stick of sidewalk chalk of the same size may only experience vomiting and diarrhea. The chalk may eventually pass through the dog’s system and come out in his poop.
Finally, if a dog eats a small piece of chalk, it could cause digestive upset in the dog. This could mean your dog would vomit and have diarrhea. That’s OK, but it should not last longer than 12 to 24 hours. If it does, it’s time to call the vet.
Symptoms of Chalk Ingestion in Dogs
You may notice these symptoms if your dog has eaten chalk:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain & swelling
If you notice these symptoms in your dog, call the vet immediately. This is an emergency.
And if your dog has eaten a small piece of chalk and you’re worried, it’s best to call the vet right away. Don’t induce vomiting unless directed by the vet to do so.
Treatment of Chalk Ingestion in Dogs
If your dog has swallowed a small piece of chalk and has digestive issues, the vet has medication for this. They will also check to ensure the chalk can safely pass on its own. The vet may ask that you monitor your dog’s condition for a couple of days and will explain the symptoms to watch for. They will also ask that you watch your dog’s poop and make sure the chalk comes out. If it doesn’t, your fur baby needs to see the vet again.
For an intestinal blockage, the vet may have to perform surgery to remove the blockage safely. They will also repair any damage the chalk may have caused to the digestive tract.
The prognosis is best for dogs that receive prompt treatment after eating chalk. In the future, it’s best to keep all chalk out of your dog’s reach. You’ll both be happier for it!