Scared! My Dog Ate Charcoal!

Strange things happen, and dogs could eat charcoal. Yet, unknown to many, it is pretty natural for dogs to eat charcoal. Perhaps it is because the charcoal is used to prepare delicious meals that the dog enjoys.

This article explores different insights into why dogs eat charcoal and whether it is beneficial.

Should Dogs Eat Charcoal?

Charcoal is neither poisonous nor toxic for dogs. Yet, this does not make them safe for your dog, mainly if they are hot. Dogs will also eat these pieces of charcoal out of curiosity. For this reason, it would be best to take preventive measures to cushion it from any injuries.

Pica is yet another factor that causes dogs to eat charcoal. It is a psychological condition that highlights the need to eat inedible objects. Sometimes, it stems from stress, frustration, and boredom. You might need to check for any psychological health issues in such instances. A vet will help.

Effects of Dogs Eating Charcoal

Various adverse effects are associated with eating charcoal. Understanding these dangers will compel you to take critical preventive measures to protect your pet. The following risks suffice.


Eating hot charcoal exposes your dog to severe burns in the mouth, esophagus, and tongue. The mouth and paws could also suffer the same fate. These burns are significantly painful, causing discomfort and death in extreme cases.

Burns in the digestive system makes it pretty hard for the dog to eat its food. This dog will likely suffer malnutrition, appetite loss, and starvation. The best solution would be to indulge a vet in assessing how adverse the condition is.

In addition, burns will readily compromise the dog’s respiratory system. These burns will contribute to difficulty in breathing, causing suffocation and death in extreme cases.

Exposure to Chemicals

Suppose the charcoal had any additives, including lighter fluid. Lighter fluid is toxic, causing severe injuries to the dog. Ensure that you call a vet as soon as your pet consumes charcoal with lighter fluid. This chemical can prove fatal if not taken care of immediately.

Further, lighter fluid compromises how the kidney functions and can cause kidney failure in dogs. Additionally, it has petroleum products that cause stomach upsets as well.

Gastrointestinal Blockage

Pieces of charcoal and ash will likely block the gastrointestinal tract. This blockage will often happen when the dog is small or the ingested piece of charcoal is pretty large.

The gastrointestinal blockage prevents your dog from eating or drinking properly, exposing your dog to severe pain, discomfort, starvation, and lethargy. Vomiting, general body weakness, and diarrhea will be inevitable.


There are instances when charcoal will contribute to pancreatitis. This condition highlights an inflamed pancreas, causing significant pain and discomfort. An inflamed pancreas leaks enzymes into the body, inflaming various internal body parts in the long run.

You’ll watch out for various signs in the dog, including lethargy, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. Abdominal pain and decreased appetite will also be quite common in this case. Your dog will also remain in the praying position most of the time. Engage a vet as soon as you notice these signs.

What Should Happen If My Dog Eats Charcoal?

Be responsive! It would be best to immediately act once you notice that your dog has eaten charcoal. Consider the following steps.

  • Prevent the dog, including other pets, from accessing the charcoal. This happens after rescuing the injured dog from the burning charcoal.
  • Provide your dog with some water. However, please do not give it any food until a vet authorizes it.
  • Reach out to your vet for further advice. The vet will likely discuss the different treatment options, including additional monitoring.
  • Take the time to monitor the dog. Check out for any signs of stomach upsets, abdominal pain, constipation, and inappetence.

Is Activated Charcoal Suitable for Dogs?

Activated charcoal is different from standard or briquette charcoal. It is a supplement given to dogs after they ingest something toxic. Most experts recommend this charcoal for toxins and poison in the bloodstream, gastrointestinal tract, and stomach. However, it would help if you gave it to the dog less than two hours after ingesting the toxins. The shorter the period, the more the effectiveness.

Suppose your dog consumes charcoal laced with lighter fluid. In that case, your dog will be exposed to considerable poison, depending on how much was ingested. The best solution would be to give your dog activated charcoal to help eliminate the poison from the dog’s body. However, you can only consider activated charcoal with the express permission of your vet.

Final Thoughts

Protecting your dog should be the first step toward ensuring health and safety. You’ll need to prevent this dog from accessing charcoal, avoiding unwanted health complications. After pointing out the dangers of dogs eating hot charcoal, dog-proofing your property, including the kitchen, should be a priority.

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