Dogs are known for eating all kinds of unusual things, and this can be a big problem for owners, sometimes leading to expensive vet fees and a lot of stress for both you and the dog. Unsuitable foods can cause a whole variety of issues, including poisoning, or internal blockages that may require surgery in order to correct them, so it’s important to pay attention to what your dog is eating and to keep unsuitable foods away from it.
If your dog is keen on munching things that it should not eat, you might have found it digging in the basket beside your fireplace, and wondered “is coal bad for dogs?” Dogs don’t have a great sense of what they should and should not eat, and it’s up to you to keep an eye on your dog and make sure it isn’t eating things that are unsafe for consumption.
If your dog has eaten something that you are worried about, you may need to take it to a vet to get it checked over, and possibly to remove the item from its stomach before it can do any damage to it. Sometimes, a dog will need surgery to deal with something that it has eaten, so it’s important to take this seriously and keep unsuitable foods away from your dog. Do not leave items that your dog might try to eat lying around, especially if it has a habit of chewing them.
Is Coal Bad For Dogs?
Some people claim that coal is not dangerous for dogs and that their dogs eat coal without any issues arising, but this sort of statement should be treated with some caution. Coal does not contain any known toxins for dogs, but this does not mean it is good for them, or that it cannot have a negative impact on your dog’s well-being. Even if it isn’t harmful, coal is made from partially-burned wood, and it’s not something that dogs can digest, or that contains nutritional benefits.
Coal may smell good to your dog, and it can actually help to clean your dog’s teeth and settle upset stomachs (in small doses), but it still isn’t good for it to eat, and you should not give your dog coal at any time. It’s likely that coal will contain fire accelerants, and these could be dangerous for your dog, especially if eaten in large quantities.
Interestingly, some dog foods contain charcoal because it has value in settling the stomach, but this is different from the coal that you may use on your barbecue or in your fireplace, and also appears in small quantities. Don’t allow your dog to eat coal that has not been incorporated into a commercial food, because you have no way of knowing whether this is safe, or what chemicals or toxins it may contain. Coal is not intended for consumption, so there’s no need for the manufacturers to avoid chemicals.
Can Coal Make Dogs Sick?
Coal could make your dog sick, and this is one of the commonest outcomes when a dog eats coal, especially in notable quantities. Your dog’s stomach is likely to object to this kind of food, and your dog will then vomit up the coal, along with other food that it has eaten, a few hours after consuming it. This can be extremely messy and unpleasant, and if you know your dog has eaten coal, you may wish to have supplies ready or put your dog in a room that is reasonably easy to clean (e.g. hard flooring).
If your dog has only eaten a small amount of coal, it is not likely to be sick from it, but any significant amount will usually result in vomiting. The dog’s stomach will not be able to cope with the coal or digest it properly, and will therefore eject it from the dog’s system. This may be uncomfortable for the dog, and it’s something that you should aim to avoid by keeping coal out of your dog’s reach at all times.
Your dog may also suffer from an upset stomach if it does eat coal and does not throw it up, because it has still consumed something that it won’t be able to digest properly. If either the diarrhea or the vomiting gets serious, you should contact a vet, because your dog could end up dehydrated.
Why Do Some Dogs Try To Eat Coal?
Dogs try and eat the most unusual things sometimes, and coal is high up on the list of “why would that seem edible?” There are a couple of explanations for your dog attempting to eat coal, however, and the first is if the coal has been used for cooking and may carry lingering scents of meat, or even some meat residue that the dog is tempted by.
Another potential explanation is a condition known as “pica,” which prompts dogs to try and eat things that are not edible, and may cause your dog to chew on and try to swallow all sorts of surprising objects. If you think your dog has this condition, you will need to get it assessed by a vet, and work out strategies for coping with it that reduce the risk of the dog eating something harmful in the future.
It’s also possible that your dog will be attracted to the smell of minerals in charcoal, and may be looking for nutrients that it is deficient in. You should make sure you’re feeding your dog a complete food and giving it any supplements that it needs.
So, the quick answer to “is coal bad for dogs?” is yes, coal is not a suitable food for dogs to consume, and you should not let your dog eat coal. It can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or even intestinal blockages that require surgery to handle. If you regularly cook with coal or you have an open fireplace that involves using coal for fuel, you will need to keep this in a sealed container so that your dog cannot access it.