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Why Does My Dog Eat Charcoal – Is It Normal?

You may have seen your beloved dog eat charcoal once or twice in the past. It may also be a regular thing for your beloved pup. And you may seem to struggle with the thought of why your dog would pick charcoal over other quality available foods. You aren’t alone; many dog owners find it hard to answer this question: why does my dog eat charcoal?

Dogs eat charcoal because they may be suffering from a medical condition known as Pica. Dogs with this condition find inedible stuff like charcoal satisfying. Other reasons dogs eat charcoal are due to enjoying the smell as well as tasting juices of foods that may have dripped onto the charcoal during cooking.

In this article, we will discuss the intriguing relationship between dogs and charcoal. We will also answer frequently asked questions about charcoal and our furry friends. To cap it all, we’ll also be explaining what pica means and what causes it. Let’s begin this journey together!

Is Charcoal Safe For Dogs

No, charcoal is not safe for dogs. But you may be glad to know that it’s not also poisonous. Does that sound confusing? I guess not. Charcoal is known not to be directly poisonous to dogs.

In other words, charcoal won’t directly kill your dog. But charcoal can sometimes contain fire accelerants or lighter fluids that may be poisonous to your pup.

Additionally, charcoal is made from partly burned woods; your pup may find it very difficult, if not impossible, to digest. If the charcoal ingested by your dog is big, it might result in blockage of the digestive system.

To guard against this from happening, you can decide to block the dog’s access to charcoal. Additionally, try as much as possible to keep grilling tools out of reach of your dog.

Do not just keep bags of charcoal anywhere around the house. It is a safe practice to keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the grilling spot.

Is It Ok For Dogs To Eat Charcoal

Under normal circumstances, It is not okay for dogs to eat or lick charcoal. Charcoal is not directly harmful to dogs, but the toxins found in it can cause many stomach problems for your dear pup.

The toxins found in the charcoal would not necessarily kill your dog, but the toxins can make him quite uncomfortable. On the other hand, activated charcoal is suitable for dogs. It is used in treating every sort of stomach upset and intoxication.

Activated charcoal is perfectly safe for dogs to consume. If your dog eats charcoal, some signs might reveal intestinal blockage; signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and loss of appetite, and swollen abdomen.

If your dog shows most or all of these signs, then it’s a medical emergency. You should not delay taking your dog to the nearest veterinary hospital as soon as possible.

It is also often helpful to give all the necessary information to the vet; this would assist him in giving your dog optimal care.

What Does Charcoal Do To Dogs

Ordinarily, charcoal is not harmful to dogs. But when dogs ingest charcoal, the toxins found in some modern charcoal can cause life-threatening sickness for dogs.

It is worthy to note that not all dogs develop symptoms after ingesting charcoal. We noticed that most times, it is the size of charcoal ingested that matters. When dogs ingest a sizable amount of charcoal, it causes some problems for them.

Although charcoal isn’t likely to cause severe symptoms. Still, when you notice your pup has eaten some charcoal, it is not something to take lightly. As a dog owner, you should understand that dogs are quite different; some may develop little to no symptoms while others may come down with severe symptoms.

It is pertinent for dog owners to always watch out for the health and well-being of their canine friends.

When you notice any abnormalities in your dog after swallowing charcoal, please don’t wait until his condition gets so bad. Call your vet immediately.

Does Charcoal Make Dogs Sick

Yes, the ingestion of charcoal can make dogs sick. Some dangerous toxins can be found in grill ashes.

Toxins like sulfur oxides, petroleum, lighter fluids, borax, and sodium nitrate can be found in some charcoal residues. These substances can cause severe illnesses in dogs.

Many dogs are drawn to charcoal mainly because it smells good. A curious pup would likely want to take a lick. The deceitful residues like fat and flavor drip that fall on charcoal after grilling trap many dogs into eating charcoal.

Apart from the fact that charcoal can make dogs very ill, the danger posed by hot charcoal could even render the same level of harm to your pup. Prevention is better than cure; instead of taking a dog to the vet for treatment, it is quite easier and cheaper to prevent a dog from becoming sick in the first place.

One of the best ways to do this is to be keenly aware of your dog’s behavior and movement.

Does Activated Charcoal Make Dogs Vomit

Yes, activated charcoal can make dogs vomit. Activated charcoal is usually administered in excess by a vet to trigger vomiting in dogs with ingested toxins. This is done to get rid of the ingested toxins.

However, activated charcoal is used in treating various medical conditions in dogs, especially conditions related to poisoning. But when activated charcoal is administered without the supervision of a veterinarian, an excess dose of it would most likely trigger uncontrolled vomiting in dogs.

Other side effects of activated charcoal include aspiration, diarrhea, eye irritation, black feces, and constipation. Activated charcoal works by binding to other substances to reduce their efficacy.

There may be some other complications if it’s given in excess. If your pup is on any recommended medications, taking activated charcoal with it will reduce its potency.

When you notice your dog is showing some poisoning symptoms, taking him to the nearest vet clinic should be the topmost priority. Assist your vet by giving him a detailed history of your dog.

Tell him about the amount of charcoal ingested, the time of ingestion, and reveal to your vet whether your pup is on any medication.

Can You Give A Dog Too Much Activated Charcoal

Without proper supervision, a dog can be given excess activated charcoal. We strongly advise dog owners not to administer activated charcoal by themselves. Even if you are going to administer it by yourself, make sure to stick to the recommended dose for your dog.

When an excess dose of activated charcoal is given to a dog, it can cause life-threatening complications. The dosage to give depends on the weight of the dog. For each kilogram of your pup’s weight, you should give one to five grams of activated charcoal.

For instance, a 10lb dog would need 5 to 15 grams of activated charcoal. Anything above this dosage might cause severe complications. Activated charcoal can be purchased over the counter.

It comes in pills, liquid, and also in the form of tablets and capsules. It costs between $5 to $30 on average. To be on the safe side, you should consult with your vet before administering activated charcoal to your dog.

Can Dogs Digest Charcoal

The digestion of charcoal by dogs depends on the size of the charcoal. When a dog swallows a small quantity of charcoal, it rarely causes any problems. But when big charcoal is swallowed, it causes intestinal blockage for dogs.

Dogs are likely to swallow several items used for grilling, such as Aluminum foils and plastic wraps alongside charcoal. When these substances are swallowed, it presents more harm to dogs than actual charcoal.

One of the most severe complications of these substances for dogs is intestinal blockage. When there is an intestinal blockage, a dog’s abdomen will become swollen and distended. Vomiting is one of the most acute symptoms of intestinal blockage.

One of the best ways to protect a dog is never to allow him access to a grilling environment or where there are ashes or charcoal. It is also pertinent to keep grilling tools like aluminum foils and plastic wraps after grilling. If you have a dog around the house, it is often advised not to leave ashes behind.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Charcoal

When you find out that your dog has ingested charcoal, do not panic; try as much as possible to take your dog to the nearest veterinary clinic. If you happen to put a call across to your vet, your vet will likely ask about the quantity of charcoal eaten by your pup.

Even if you don’t know the exact amount, try to make a calculated guess. You can gaze at the charcoal bag, try to estimate what you currently have and the amount of charcoal you had before your dog ate out of it.

This information would help the vet to know how to treat your dog better. You should also know whether your dog ate the charcoal or licked it. There may be no cause for concern if a dog licks charcoal.

On the other hand, if your dog ingests big-sized charcoal, urgent medical care would be required. If the charcoal ingested by your pup is little, first aid care you might offer is to give him enough water to flush out the toxin. You can begin to give him a bland diet too.

Other Considerations

Pica is another condition we have to consider; this medical condition in dogs can make them start eating charcoal for no apparent reasons. We will explain this condition a bit more.

What Is Pica

Pica is a health condition defined as the compulsive ingestion of non-food materials like wood, charcoal, plastic, cloth, and even stone. This condition is relatively common in dogs.

Dogs with this condition might be addicted to only one non-food item or anything they could find. Pica doesn’t just happen in dogs; there is always an underlying factor for such behaviors. It is also commonly seen in adolescents and adult dogs.

It’s not a cause for concern when puppies eat non-food items. It is part of normal puppy behavior. Many dog owners are frustrated by the reprehensible behavior of their dogs. If left unchecked, this behavior may hamper the health of your beloved pup.

Symptoms Of Pica In Dogs

Symptoms of pica are quite easy to spot if you’re observant. However, some dogs are known to eat non-food items in secret. You may not quickly realize your dog has been eating objects. One of the main symptoms you might notice is that your dog is acting sick. Apart from this, there may be episodes of diarrhea and vomiting.

What Causes Pica

The cause of pica can either be behavioral or medical. If the root cause of pica is behavioral, the reason your dog eats non-food items is not health-related. It might be due to separation anxiety or boredom.

If the root cause is medical related, dogs might start eating objects because of hormonal imbalances. It is quite easier to treat pica caused by medical issues.

Giving Your Dog Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is used to treat poisoning in dogs. Vets administer activated charcoal via a syringe. Some dogs are so restless that they may not allow the vet to administer it.

A stomach tube is another good option that can be used. Poisonous items to dogs may warrant activated charcoal: a large amount of charcoal, lighter fluid, and over-the-counter prescriptions.