Dogs love to chew things they shouldn’t. Take the example of a pencil. Whenever they find a pencil lying in their vicinity, they would bite a few pieces off of it before abandoning it for another inedible item.
So should you worry that your dog ate a pencil? Should you worry about the lead in the pencil?
In this article, learn what you need to do when your dog accidentally consumes few pieces of a pencil.
Can Dog Eat Pencil – Are Pencils Toxic to Dogs?
To understand if the pencil can be toxic to dogs, you need to look into its composition. In other words, the things that make up a pencil as a whole.
The pencils of today have three components in their structure. The first is the outer plastic layer, the second is the wood layer, and the third is the inner metal layer.
The plastic layer is there to protect the wood layer from moisture damage. The wood layer provides strength to the pencil and the metal inside.
Finally, you have the metal layer that allows you to write and draw on paper. As opposed to many people believing that it’s made up of lead, it’s made of graphite, a carbon type.
So the first sigh of relief is that there is no use of pencil lead. Exposure to a high amount of lead can be extremely detrimental to health and the brain. Therefore, pencils are replaced by graphite, which is much safer.
But what about the other components? Wood isn’t something your dog will be able to break down inside his stomach. So this is non-digestible. That’s also true for human-made substances like plastic.
The only risk associated with wood is that it can break off into smaller pieces. If the details are sharp enough, they can cause internal bleeding. The larger parts can cause blockages.
These two factors may affect the digestion of food.
Types of Pencils
In the market, you’re going to find different types of pencils. So you need to know which pencil your dog just got consumed.
The first type is a charcoal pencil. These pencils have charred vines and other woody materials in their body. Both of these are safe and shouldn’t pose any significant threat other than internal bleeding risk.
The second type is graphite pencil. They aren’t likely to pose any threat either.
The final type of pencils is colored pencils, and they contain dyes that provide them their color. These can be toxic if ingested in a higher amount. The same is true for crayons too.
Symptoms to Watch Out For
So what are the symptoms you need to look out for when your dog accidentally consumed pencil pieces?
As mentioned above, it isn’t going to be fatal. And the dog might not even swallow it. After chewing, the canine will spit it out.
But in other cases, you’ll see complexities like vomiting and difficulty in ejecting feces.
When the pencil pieces obstruct the digestive tract, the food will not move down into the body. Thus, it will result in vomiting. The parts may get stuck high up towards the esophagus region.
So whenever your dog tries to ingest food, it will throw the food out. It may or may not contain blood in the vomit.
Likewise, if the pieces obstruct the digestive tract towards the lower side, it will affect the defecation process. Your dog will find it harder to poop. In severe cases, this can cause internal bleeding in the rectum area.
Other than that, abdominal discomfort and lingering pain will also be visible.
What do Do if Dog Ate Pencil?
In most cases, the pieces will pass through the digestive tract and come out in the feces. So you should have no problems. Just feed enough water to your dog to make the process easier for it.
But if you see any of the symptoms after your dog has consumed the pencil pieces, you need to contact your vet at the earliest.
Since there’s a chance of internal bleeding, he may use endoscopy to better look into the inner parts. The vet will also ask you specific questions to determine the level of metal and wood consumed.
The vet would recommend against inducing vomiting. Because doing so may affect the dog’s esophagus as they come up.
The vet may also order X-ray scans to spot any damage that the pencil pieces may have caused. While you may not stain the wood directly, it’s the obstruction that the vet is after.
Once spotted, he may perform surgery to take out the blockage.
If the blockage isn’t severe enough, the vet may recommend food items to clear the passage. It reduces the risk of punctures and cuts inside his abdomen. For the next few days, you have to be very careful and watch out for symptoms.
What About Pencil Eraser?
Erasers often accompany pencils. So is there something to worry about if your dog accidentally consumed the eraser?
Not likely since erasers aren’t big enough to cause significant issues. Just like pencils, your dog may not swallow the eraser pieces and spit them out.
Most of the modern erasers use synthetic rubber and plastic. Your dog will not be able to digest these as well. So the chances are that the doggo will vomit them out, or they’ll come out in the pool.
In some severe cases, the vet may recommend induced vomiting to relieve the dog. But it isn’t going to be complicated, and there’s nothing problematic.
To Sum up
We use pencils every day in our daily lives. As a pet parent, you should take the responsibility to safeguard your dog from consuming such objects.
The best way for this is to store the pencils at places where the dog will not be able to reach. Inside cupboards, pencil boxes, and drawers are some of the best candidates for this.
The pencil substances aren’t likely to affect your dog very much. But when you spot the symptoms mentioned above, you should take the necessary measures.