Our canine furbabies can cause us untold stress and worry for ingesting items that are inedible. Sometimes, some of the bits and pieces consumed by dogs can be made of dangerous chemicals, but there are also objects that merely portend a physical danger such as obstruction. A good example of items that might cause an obstruction in dogs is a pencil; however, there is no cause for alarm as most of the modern pencils are totally non-toxic and contain no chemicals that may represent a danger to your furry friend. Still, your pup’s digestive tract may suffer from the action as it can give rise to a plethora of problems. This writeup is poised to x-ray the dangers of dogs consuming pencils, including the best action to take in such situations.
My Dog Ate a Pencil: What Should I Do
It goes without mentioning that your first port of call upon discovering that your pup just ate a pencil (or any potentially harmful item) is the vet’s clinic. While it is a general belief that a pencil would normally move down a dog’s digestive tract without many issues, they can also represent grave health conditions. Important to note that your canine friend’s medical history will be a significant determinant of how its body is likely to react. Your veterinarian is in a better position to predict the odds of a problem and will give you a list of the symptoms to expect.
The veterinarian may not recommend any medication but may tell you to observe the pup and be on the lookout for those symptoms and signs that are indicative of severe health issues. In situations like this, it is best to trust the judgment of the vet as well as heed any advice he or she may dish out. We have seen pet parents who neglected the vet’s recommendations and tried to induce vomiting – this may not always work as there have been recorded cases where the wood fiber in pencil resulted in damages to the pup’s esophagus while on the way back up.
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Symptoms to Look Out for
The symptoms to expect from a canine that ingested pencil are:
Vomiting – This is usually as a result of obstruction in the dog’s digestive tract, particularly those of them that are located high up towards the esophagus – these bits and pieces stop the pup’s food from moving down its body, causing your canine friend to throw up any food it tries to ingest after the pencil incident. What’s more, the vomit may or may not contain blood.
Difficulty in ejecting poop; Conversely, an obstruction that occurred further down the digestive tract may impair the normal defecating process in the dog. You may observe that your canine friend is straining to poop, or it may appear anxious or a bit panicky. The dog may be able to pass a tiny amount of feces, or may not eject at all. Sometimes, blood may be present, but that is not always the case.
There are still other signs of obstruction, albeit less common; they may include some signs of lethargy, pain, anxiety, and depression. What’s more, your dog may also reject food completely. With that said, you need to get in touch with your vet upon noticing any of these signs and symptoms. The veterinarian is likely to recommend that the dog be brought in for physical examination.
What do I Expect From the Vet?
Your veterinarian may likely perform a physical exam on the dog, but before that, you will be required to give a detailed history of your pooch by answering a good number of questions like;
- What is the quantity of pencils ingested by your pet?
- Did your dog thoroughly chew it up or swallowed it in large pieces?
- When did your dog ingest the pencil?
- Has your dog tried eating any food since the incident?
- What and what symptoms have you observed?
If the vet’s prognosis points to an obstruction, he or she may recommend an x-ray. It is understandable that wood will not appear on an x-ray, but we have so many other signs of canine obstruction that can be revealed through x-ray. If, eventually, the x-ray reveals an obstruction, the condition may call for surgery.
What’s more, there are cases where the vet may recommend feeding as a form of protection for the dog’s intestines – in explanation; food will aid in surrounding the wood fibers, which reduces the chances of the wood causing punctures and cuts. The food also provides bulks that will help in effectively pushing the wood down through the canine’s intestine.
Sometimes, the vet’s recommendations may entail feeding the affected dog with its normal food; however, there are still situations where you may be required to feed your pooch with absorbent foods like white bread. Furthermore, you should never attempt to feed your dog if it is showing signs of obstruction – you can only do so under the instruction of the vet.
Nevertheless, most of the time, there is no need to raise an alarm when you observe that your furbaby has ingested a pencil. Several dogs would likely eject it without experiencing any difficulties, and any resultant obstruction can be removed by veterinary care.
Is Pencil Lead Toxic to Dogs?
In spite of the fact that we colloquially refer to pencils as “lead pencils,” they are not really made from lead. Pencils are made from a form of carbon called graphite and have remained so for about 200 years. With that said, there is no need to express concern about your pup getting lead poisoning following a pencil consumption.
You should, however, note that there are a few numbers of pencils made with toxic or lead-based paints. What’s more, the yellow paint we see on pencils was formerly toxic, containing lead chromate paint which has since been abolished from the pencil-making process, making most US made pencils are safe. However, if your dog ingests a pencil that you got from another country, which is known to have poor safety standards, it is essential to mention this to the veterinarian.