My Dog Ate Charcoal- Now What?

Can Dogs Eat Charcoal?

Charcoal briquettes are not toxic. Small amounts of charcoal should pass through your dog without trouble. Watch your dog for signs of discomfort and watch the stool to make sure it does pass through.

If you notice that the piece didn’t pass through, aren’t sure if all pieces came back out or your dog is showing signs of discomfort or your dog’s behavior changes immensely take him to the vet immediately.

If a piece stays in your dog for too long it can cause pancreatitis that untreated can become life-threatening for your dog. Your dog’s stool will probably be a funny colour for a few days to come.

Pancreatitis In Dogs

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas caused by diet (processed foods and foods that are high in fats) or stress (results in high levels of cortisol in their body).

Symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs can be vomiting, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite (resulting in weight loss), dehydration, abdominal pain and fatigue. You should lookout for a general change in behavior because any of the symptoms listed above will be easy to spot.

Acute Pancreatitis

This is a sudden attack of pancreatitis and often occurs during the holidays. During the holidays the dog can be exposed to higher amounts of stress through increased visiting family members and friends, changes in the routine as well as prolonged traveling. Visiting family members can feed the dog table scraps and more unhealthy food can be around and accessible for the dog.

Chronic Pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis develops over time and can be difficult to diagnose as your dog may not even show any symptoms at all. The Chronic kind can be a result of multiple acute attacks. Obviously, you should consult with your vet after repeated attacks.

The Size Of Your Dog

Depending on the size of the piece of charcoal that your dog ate as well as the size of your dog it could cause a blockage in your dog’s intestines. Even for small dogs, a small piece of charcoal shouldn’t be problematic but I suggest watching your dog’s poop for a while to see if it passes through. Larger pieces in a smaller dog breed can be harder to pass through your dog. Watch your dog for discomfort, vomiting or diarrhea and take them to the vet if you notice any of those symptoms or you have a small dog that ate a comparatively large piece.

Charcoal Types And Lighter Fluid

Charcoal briquettes aren’t toxic but the self-lighting kind contains petroleum which can cause your dog’s stomach to become very upset.

If the charcoal was sprayed with or contained lighter fluid take your dog to the vet immediately. Lighter fluid is poisonous and can kill your pooch. Your dog ingesting lighter fluid can lead to kidney failure which will cause your dog to start drinking a lot more water than usual. Seeing these symptoms in your dog is another reason to visit the vet as quickly as you can or look up an emergency clinic near you.

Charcoal Covered In Grease

Maybe your dog ate a piece of charcoal because the grease of meat dripped on it and it smelled good to him. Dogs eating large amounts of grease can also cause them to develop pancreatitis so be sure to watch out for changes in your dog’s behavior.


I'm Lisa. I grew up with a Yorkshire Terrier, recently got an Aussiedoodle puppy and have learned a lot of things over the many years. I created this website to help you with your puppy and dog-related troubles and share the information I learned about my dogs Fluffy and Teddy.

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