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What Happens if a Dog Eats a Sharpie?

Dogs like to eat the strangest things. And while this can sometimes be funny or entertaining, at others, it may be harmful or toxic. If your pup got into your Sharpie stash, would you know what to do?

Read on to learn exactly how dangerous this situation is, what symptoms to look for, as well as what to do if your dog does eat a Sharpie.

This way, you’ll be prepared for the worst-case scenario and be able to keep your furry friend safe.

What Happens if a Dog Eats a Sharpie?

Sharpies are made with alcohol-based ink that can be toxic to dogs if ingested in large quantities. The good news is that most dogs will not eat enough Sharpie ink to cause serious

For example, one Sharpie marker will not contain enough ink to cause serious harm to a 50-pound dog.

Despite the fact that sharpies are certified as non-toxic, it is not advised to eat them or intentionally come into prolonged contact with their fumes and ink.

A more important concern is the marker itself. If your dog ingests pieces of or a whole marker, they could experience an obstruction in their gastrointestinal tract. Sharpies are also made with plasticizers which can be harmful if consumed in large doses.

Symptoms of a dog that has eaten a Sharpie can include vomiting, diarrhea, and black stools. You may also notice that your dog is experiencing intestinal pain, depending on how much of the marker it ingested.

Could My Dog Have Ethanol Ink Poisoning?

There’s hardly a chance that your dog will have a toxic load of ethanol from eating a single Sharpie. However, if your dog has access to a very large amount of Sharpies (such as in an office storage room or warehouse), it’s important to rule out ethanol poisoning.

When dogs ingest ethanol, they can experience serious health problems such as liver failure, a damaged nervous system, breathing issues, and even comas or seizures. They may have trouble with walking and coordination and their body temperatures will be lower than usual.

If you think your dog has ingested enough ink to cause ethanol poisoning, don’t hesitate to decide to get help. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.

What About the Plastic and Metal on the Pen?

As we mentioned before, Sharpies are also made with plasticizers which can be harmful if consumed in large doses. If your dog ingests the pen casing or ink cartridge, they could experience an obstruction in their gastrointestinal tract.

If your dog has chewed the Sharpie pen into several smaller pieces and has swallowed some, you may have to worry about your dog experiencing a tear or puncture in its gastrointestinal tract. If this happens, they will need to see a veterinarian as soon as possible for surgery.

Try to piece the pen together after taking it away from your dog to determine how much of the Sharpie is “missing” and has been swallowed. This will help to give you a rough idea of how much of the pen your dog has consumed and whether or not this situation is an emergency.

How to Prevent Your Dog From Eating Sharpies

The best way to prevent your dog from eating Sharpies is to keep them out of reach. Store them in a place where your dog cannot get to them, such as in a high cabinet or on a shelf that your dog cannot reach.

You should also be careful when using Sharpies around your dog. Make sure to put the cap back on the marker when you’re finished using it and dispose of it or store it properly so that your dog cannot get to it.

Providing your dog with other toys and distractions can help to keep them from being interested in Sharpies. If your dog is chewing on a Sharpie, it’s likely because it’s bored or stressed.

Finally, train your dog the command “drop it” so that they will release any object in their mouth when you tell them to. This can be helpful if you catch your pup in the act.

What if It Eats Another Type of Pen?

If your dog has eaten a pen that is not a Sharpie, it may not be certified as non-toxic and could be more harmful to your dog. It’s important to immediately research the toxic levels of the pen online. This will be important information if you need to bring your dog to the vet because of the ingestion.

What to Do if My Dog Eats a Sharpie?

It can be confusing to decide what to do at the moment if your dog eats a Sharpie. Here are some general guidelines:

Remove Your Dog From the Area

If you suspect that your dog has eaten a Sharpie, remove your pup from the area immediately. Return to the area and pick up any leftover or mangled Sharpie bits so that your dog doesn’t return to the area and resume eating.

Check and Rinse Your Dog’s Mouth

If you can safely do so, check your dog’s mouth for any ink residue. If there is any visible ink on their tongue or teeth, rinse it off with clean water. Keep in mind that there may be plastic or metal bits of the Sharpie in their mouth, so be careful while rinsing and try to remove these as well.

Monitor Your Dog for Symptoms

If you think your dog has eaten a Sharpie, check for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and black stools. You may also notice that your dog is experiencing intestinal pain, depending on how much of the marker it ingested.

If Your Dog Has Symptoms:

Do not let them eat or drink anything and try to keep them calm. If they are vomiting or have diarrhea, it is important to keep them hydrated by giving them small amounts of water or Pedialyte every 15-20 minutes. In the meantime, contact an emergency veterinarian for further instructions.

Don’t try to induce vomiting as this could cause more irritation to their gastrointestinal tract. Your vet will likely need to take x-rays or an MRI to decide the safest way to remove the Sharpie pieces or ink with minimal damage to your dog.

Make sure to bring the Sharpie with you (or a picture of it) so that the vet knows what they’re dealing with.

If Your Dog Does Not Have Symptoms:

If your dog does not have any symptoms, you can give it a small amount of food and water. Monitor them for the next 24 hours to see if any symptoms develop.

If your pup is acting normal and seems normal in its routine, it will likely be just fine. However, if you are still concerned, you can always contact your veterinarian for advice.

Put the Pens Out of Reach

Consider relocating your Sharpie collection to a place where your dog cannot reach. Your dog already knows where you keep your stash and will continue to look for them there, so it’s important to move the pens somewhere your pup can’t get to.

Make sure to incorporate other dog toys and occasional treats as well, so that your pup doesn’t go find another object to snack on! Oftentimes, this habit is based on emotional anxiety and can be cured with patience, regular play and exercise for your pup, and a solid training routine.