Help! My Dog Ate a Pencil

Jack Russell Terrier with large yellow pencil in mouth

While it is true that dogs sniff before eating, they are not the most careful eaters in the world. Don’t be surprised if your dog ends up eating a pencil. However, it is necessary to discourage your dog from eating such things as they can cause problems in his/her body, which may turn out to be fatal.

My Dog Ate a Wood Pencil

If your dog ate the wooden part of a pencil, it can be a tricky thing to handle. In such scenarios, it is usually a good idea to induce vomiting. However, it can be a little complicated in this case. If the pencil is chewed up, jagged wooden edges can cause damage to the inside of your dog’s throat.

Consequently, it is generally a good idea to let the pencil pass through towards– the intestine. This is because the problems in the intestinal tract can be resolved easily. Besides, if the pencil is chewed up good, its splinters should not cause any issues.

The pencil can cause vomiting and diarrhea as your dog’s body tries to eject the foreign object. Sometimes, the pencil can pass through without any issue. But instead of taking the risk, contact your vet immediately if the symptoms appear.

If you must wait for the pencil to get out through the dog’s anus, feed it small amounts of white bread. This helps to cover the jagged edges of the pencil to reduce the damage they can do to the intestine. You must be careful though as feeding too much white bread can cause your dog to vomit.

My Dog Ate the Metal Part of the Pencil

Black and white dog on blue background covering its nose with its paws looking ashamed.

The metal part of the pencil that holds the eraser can also cause some issues. It cannot be digested because it is made from aluminum. Although aluminum is not digested into the bloodstream, it can cause problems, like intestinal blockage and internal bleeding. Similarly, the edges of Aluminum can be sharp that can cut into the body.

You can read more about the dangers of aluminum to dogs by clicking here.

This is not the only metal part of the pencil that is a threat to your pooch. Nowadays, pencils are made from graphite as the metal used for writing. In contrast to that, older pencils have lead in them.

Lead poisoning is one of the biggest problems that may arise after your dog ingests a pencil. It makes the dog anemic, which is just the beginning of a series of health implications. The lack of healthy red blood cells makes your pet vulnerable to many diseases.

If your dog eats a lead pencil you should always call your vet or the pet poison control line at: (888) 426-4435

Symptoms of Anemic Dogs

The following signs suggest that your dog is suffering from anemia.

  • Pale gums
  • Acting tired and weak
  • Faster than normal pulse
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Eating dirt

My Dog Ate a Pencil Eraser

Close up of the eraser end of a pencil with bits of eraser on the paper

Many dogs can mistake erasers for chewing toys. A pencil eraser is usually a small one, but it’s not something that should reside inside your dog’s body. An eraser chewed to bits will most likely cause mild diarrhea or vomiting.

Most erasers are made from synthetic rubber and some expensive ones are made of plastic, vinyl, or other gum-like materials. None of these materials are digestible and they are usually removed without any issues.

Undigested materials pass through the intestine in about 24 hours. Therefore, you must be on poop watch duty for your dog. If you see the eraser in the excrement, everything’s good. However, if it doesn’t appear for 3 or more days, contact your vet and get your dog checked immediately.

Small erasers usually do not cause intestinal blockage. For bigger erasers, you might want to call your vet quickly.

Did your dog eat a piece of gum? Check out our post Help!My Dog Ate Bubble Gum to learn what you should do.

My Dog Ate a Colored Pencil

Close up of sharpened end of colored pencils

Colored pencils have a core of colored pigment which is protected by a casing of wood. While the core of standard pencils is made from graphite and clay, most of the colored pencils are made of wax, pigments, additives, and binding agents.

Colored pencils cause the same issues as normal pencils. Wax is soft and passes through the digestive system without hiccups. However, it is always a good idea to contact your vet if your dog ate some color pencils.

My Dog Ate a Plastic Mechanical Pencil

3 plastic mechanical pencils on a white background

The metal in these pencils is again graphite so lead poisoning is not a problem at all. However, the plastic may cause internal damage because it has sharp, jagged edges. Small pieces of plastic are often able to pass through the digestive tracts of dogs without causing much harm. On the other hand, large pieces of plastic can cause bad problems.

If your dog has eaten plastic, the vet may get your dog to regurgitate it, if small enough. You may be able to induce vomiting to regurgitate a small/soft plastic object. However, it should only be done after consulting your vet. It can be very dangerous to make your dog throw up if you don’t do it properly.

In extreme cases, surgery could be required to remove the plastic of the mechanical pencil. Considering the disastrous effects of plastic, it is unfortunate that we are surrounded by plastic items.

Summary

portrait of dog on white background with wooden novelty stick pencil in mouth

Experts use the term “pica” to describe a condition in which animals eat odd things other than food. If your canine has eaten something it shouldn’t have, look out for symptoms and call your vet immediately. This is because playing the waiting game can put your dog’s life on the line. Proper training and a little precaution here and there can go a long way.

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Hi! My name is Heather Hallman. I’m the mother of two beautiful girls and a MAJOR passionate pet parent. I can hardly wait to bring you the BEST resources and information that I've found for our fur-babies.