Health & Wellness

Can charcoal ashes make my dog sick?

Warning this is not a snack.

As the weather warms up and we start to enjoy the backyard and cook meals on the grill, it’s important to keep an extra eye on our dogs—especially around grilling charcoal. Dr. Ernie Ward, Fetch’s pet expert, explains how ingesting charcoal ashes negatively affects our dogs. 

While it sounds bizarre, it turns out dogs eating ashes is actually common. Dr. Ward remembers when he first started practicing, he received his first call about it. A beagle had eaten over a pound of charcoal ashes and had a massive blockage. Because ashes contain dangerous toxins (more on that below), the beagle had to have part of his intestines removed. Luckily, because of  the emergency surgery, he was saved. 

Whether your dog eats a little or a lot of ashes, Ward says to bring them to the vet or emergency clinic immediately. Dangerous poisons, including lighter fluid and petroleum, are found in charcoal ashes so even if your pup seems normal at first, the chemicals could cause a serious illness very quickly. 

When you take them to the vet, ask your vet to run a urinary and blood test to determine if there’s damage to the kidneys or liver. Monitor any changes that may occur including: 

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Changes in urination or stools
  • Abnormal behavior 
  • Fluctuation in water consumption

The best thing you can do is to keep all ashes out of reach and covered. With these few tips, you can enjoy summer barbecues with your best friend but without the worry. 

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Dr. Ernie Ward


Pet Health

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Photo by Bahman Adlou on Unsplash

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