Whether it’s ash from the fireplace or the remains of charcoal from the barbecue you may sometimes find that your dog takes a liking to these remains and you may wonder just what he is doing by eating coal.
Dogs will eat coal for a few reasons, the main one being that it probably has some food residue on it that he can smell and it smells good. Dogs will try anything that has a good food smell. Another reason for coal munching is that it can help to clean teeth and also help to relieve an upset stomach if he has eaten something that has disagreed with him.
It’s not a great idea to let your dog eat coal or charcoal but neither will do him a great deal of harm unless he eats large amounts.
The most likely result is that he will be sick and you’ll need to be ready for this as it will be a big, black mess.
If your dog has swallowed lumps of coal or briquettes then you’ll need to contact your vet for advice as these will not digest and could cause an internal blockage if not treated properly.
Is it okay for a dog to eat coal?
What should I do if my dog eats coal?
If your dog does eat coal then you should consider the following:
- Remove any remaining coal from the area and make sure that it is well out of the reach of your dog and other animals.
- Give your dog some water and call the vet to get their advice. Don’t give your dog anything to eat.
- Try to work out how much coal your dog has eaten. Was it a small piece? Ashes? or several lumps that could cause problems?
- If your dog has swallowed lumps of coal then you need to call your vet. You’ll need to have an idea of the amount eaten, the type of coal – was it charcoal or household coal for example? Your vet will be able to advise you as to the best course of action and may ask that you take your dog to the surgery for an examination.
- Monitor your dog’s behaviour. You will need to keep a close eye on your dog for a couple of days looking out for any signs of vomiting, constipation, poor appetite and stomach pain. When you take him out check for any signs of coal in his poo – if you see it then you know that it is ‘passing through’.
What are the symptoms of a dog eating coal?
Black vomit and black stools (or what appears to be blood in the stool)
Loss of appetite Pain and discomfort
Depending on how much your dog has eaten or how many different types of coal he is eating then other problems may also arise such as diarrhea, constipation and dehydration.
What are the treatments for a dog eating coal?
If your dog appears to be well apart from eating coal then you may not need any treatment. You can simply continue to monitor him and offer him plenty of water.
Your vet may ask that you bring your dog in for an examination but depending on what is found they may advise no treatment is necessary.
If your dog is sick then you’ll need to clean this up and offer him a drink of water. If he isn’t sick then you should take this opportunity to get some fresh water into him.
Your vet may prescribe medication for any vomiting, diarrhea or pain and discomfort caused by eating coal.
They may suggest special food in the form of an easily digestible diet or something bland.
If there is any blockage in the bowel or stomach then your vet will need to remove this via surgery. They may also give you medication to help get things moving again.
If your dog has eaten coal then you’ll need to monitor him carefully for the next few days.
You’ll also need to contact your vet if there are any problems – they will be able to help and give you advice on how to treat any diarrhea, vomiting or pain.
If the problem is not treated properly it could cause further issues such as dehydration, poisoning or even a bowel obstruction.
Remember – your vet is the best person to speak to for advice and you should always contact them if you have any health concerns about any of your dogs or other pets.