A husky laying in front of a grill.

Health & Wellness

Can charcoal ashes make my dog sick?

Warning: it’s 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. Veterinarian and pet health advocate Dr. Aliya McCullough explains how ingesting charcoal ashes negatively affects our dogs. 

While it sounds bizarre, it turns out dogs eating ashes is actually common. Some dogs eat so much that it can cause a massive blockage that requires emergency surgery.

Whether your dog eats a little or a lot of ashes, 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 your pet to the vet, ask them 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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Photo by Bahman Adlou on Unsplash

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