Have you had the scare of your life recently noticing that your dog has chewed up and eaten part of a pencil? You may be wondering what you should do now, finding out your dog ate a pencil.
Thankfully I am here to help give you some guidance on the steps you need to take after your dog has eaten a pencil. Keep reading on to learn what to do, what symptoms to look for, and when you need to see an emergency vet.
My Dog Ate a Pencil What Do I Do?
Thankfully pencils are non-toxic if ingested but still pose major health risks from the wood and large pieces being ingested.
The wood the pencil is made out of can pose as a choking hazard, and it can break off into splinters that can poke your dog’s insides, causing lacerations.
Below you will find steps to take if you have just discovered that your dog has eaten a pencil.
1. Call your Veterinarian
Even though a pencil is non-toxic is can pose as a serious health issue to other parts of your dog’s body. It is imperative that you talk to your vet right away and let them know what happened.
Your veterinarian may have you bring your dog in to be checked out or tell you of some symptoms to watch out for that would indicate a more serious issue.
It is very important that you follow your veterinarian’s advice because they are a professional.
2. Check on your dog
It is very important to monitor your dog closely if your veterinarian doesn’t make you bring in your dog right away. If you notice signs of your dog being very lethargic or unresponsive, then you should take your dog to the emergency room right away.
If you notice that your dog is vomiting after a few hours, this could mean that your dog has an obstruction in the passageways, not allowing your dog to pass water or food into the intestines.
If you see throw-up, I highly suggest you call your vet back and give an update on your dog.
3. Clean Up Pencil Mess
Obviously, if there is still a shredded pencil mess from your dog on the floor, you will want to clean it up immediately before your dog tries to eat the rest of it.
Try to determine how much of the pencil your dog has consumed. This is very important information that your veterinarian may ask you.
Is Pencil Lead Toxic to Dogs?
No, pencil lead is not toxic for dogs because pencil lead is comprised of non-toxic graphite. Obviously, even though this part of the pencil is non-toxic, you shouldn’t let your dog eat pencils for fun because the wood of the pencil can pose as another risk all in itself.
Pencil Poisoning Symptoms to Watch For
If your veterinarian tells you to monitor your dog, you will want to watch out for some key things. Some of these symptoms are more serious and may require immediate medical attention.
Dog Is Vomiting
Vomiting is one of the major signs that your dog may have an obstruction in the intestates. This is very serious because it means that the food inside your dogs’ stomach cannot be passed into the digestive tract.
You may see a few pieces of pencil in your dog’s vomit, but I’m sure some of it actually got digested, and a piece is causing an obstruction. You may also see blood in your dog’s vomit too.
It can be extremely difficult to diagnose your dog because your dog cannot talk to you and simply tell you what is wrong with it.
If your dog seems to be experiencing stomach pain, it can be another sign of an obstruction in the intestates.
As I said, it can be extremely difficult to diagnose pain in a dog. Just remember you know your dog better than anyone, and if your dog seems to act weird, makes noises like it’s in pain, or gets scared when you try to touch your dog’s stomach.
If your dog seems very fatigued, lethargic, or just not all the way there, it can be a sign of an internal wound or something more serious.
You should be able to tell immediately if your dog just isn’t acting the way it usually does. Laying around the house or not responding to you like usual could indicate some lethargy in your dog.
Hard Time Pooping
If a piece of pencil wood gets lodged into the intestine, causing an obstruction, it can make your dog stop pooping. The food that is inside the stomach cannot make it past the obstruction, which makes your dog throw up and have abdominal pain.
If your dog is obstructed, it can make your dog not want to eat and cause lethargy symptoms. I suggest calling your vet and seeing if you can bring your do in to be seen.
Visible Blood in Stool
Bloody stool is extremely serious, and you should notify your veterinarian as soon as you notice blood in your dog’s stool. The wood or even the aluminum piece on top of the pencil can cause lacerations inside of your dog’s intestates.
These cuts or wounds can cause your dog to pass bloody stool. If the blood is bright red, it means the cut is closer to the rectum area. Blood that is black or tar looking, then this means the blood is coming from higher up the digestive tract.
If you notice blood in your dogs’ stool, please do not wait around, hoping your dog will get better. Take action, call your vet, and let them know your dog ate a pencil and now has bloody stool.
My Dog Ate the Metal Part of a Pencil
The metal part on a wood pencil is what holds the rubber or vinyl eraser. This metal is made out of aluminum, which can be toxic to dogs if consumed in large amounts.
Aluminum is also something that your dog cannot digest easily at all. The metal clip can cause an intestinal blockage which is extremely dangerous.
Also, the edges on the aluminum are not smoothed out, so it can puncture or cause cuts internally inside of your dog.
My Dog Ate a Pencil Eraser
Erasers are made of either rubber, or a vinyl, and the ones connected to a pencil are very small, so they won’t do much damage if your dog ingests it. This material is non-toxic to dogs and humans. You still will want to monitor your dog closely to see if your dog has any of those harmful symptoms.
Since this material cannot be broken down in the body, it will come out hopefully in your dog’s stool. It can take up to twenty-four hours for your dog to pass it.
If your dog does have a bowel movement, you will want to look through the stool to see if you see the eraser in it. That is one indicator of knowing that your dog has successfully passed the eraser.
My Dog Ate a Colored Pencil
Colored pencils are slightly different as they do not contain any graphite; they have pigmented dyes that produce those vibrant colors to color with. Dyes are not very good for dogs, but the amount used inside of color pencils is very minimal.
If your dog does eat a colored pencil, chances are the dye will not affect the dog very much unless your dog eats an entire package of colored pencils.
You still need to worry about the side effects of ingesting a regular pencil as the colored pencil is still made out of wood and can cause a lot of issues.
My Dog Ate a Mechanical Pencil
Many people have the misconception that mechanical pencils use lead when they, in fact, use graphite just like the standard wood pencils. Like we have said before, the graphite is non-toxic, so that is a big relief.
The plastic that the mechanical pencil is made out of can pose as a big danger to your dog. Broken pieces of plastic can create sharp edges that can hurt going down your throat and potentially hurt cause lacerations in the intestines.
Sometimes your vet may induce vomiting when your dog consumes plastic but not every time. Make sure you consult your veterinarian first before trying to induce vomiting in your dog.
Try not to panic if your dog has consumed a wooden pencil or even a colored pencil. Thankfully veterinarians nowadays can handle an obstruction and get your dog to pass it or remove it successfully. Don’t blow off the fact that your dog has eaten a pencil because it is a very serious situation.
Has your dog ever eaten a pencil before? Was your dog able to pass it successfully, or did you have to take your dog to the vet? Let us know your experience in the comments below.