What Should I Do if My Dog Ate an Ink Pen? (Solved & Explained!)

Even when we think we’ve picked everything off the floor, dogs find another object to put in their mouths. For most items, especially small ones, you can call the vet and wait to see if it passes. But what if it’s an item like an ink pen?

Call the dog’s veterinarian if a dog chews or swallows an ink pen. While most ink pens are not toxic to dogs in small amounts, the plastic can dislodge and puncture the stomach or become stuck in the intestinal tract. Watch for symptoms such as vomiting, decreased appetite, and lethargy.

It’s good to know that the ink isn’t poisonous in such small amounts. In this article, we’ll learn what to do if your dog ingests an ink pen.

My Dog Ate Part of an Ink Pen

First of all, don’t panic. Your dog can get too excited if your emotions are high, and it won’t help if the dog won’t sit still. Search for the remains of the pen and see if you can determine how much the dog ingested. Are the remaining pieces in big or small chunks? Are they sharp?

Second, call your vet’s office and explain what happened. The vet may recommend waiting a few hours or days if your dog is not showing signs of being in immediate distress. The plastic may pass naturally, and most ink pens don’t hold enough ink to be poisonous. 

You won’t be able to contact the vet’s office if your dog eats the pen at 3 am. In this case, you’ll contact either the Pet Poison Helpline or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Both are open 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Symptoms to Watch Out For

Even will still have you closely monitor your dog when they decide there’s no emergency. Common symptoms of a bowel obstruction include vomiting, constipation, sudden changes in behavior, and trouble eating.

But when a dog eats an ink pen, you’ll be on the lookout for more than just a bowel obstruction. No matter the pen’s size, the ink is toxic and presents a small risk. Therefore, you’ll also look for tremors, seizures, and sudden unconsciousness.

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If these symptoms appear and persist, call your vet back immediately.

The Dog is Vomiting

You can identify possible stomach irritation or the inability to digest food if your dog suddenly throws up. The pen’s plastic can lodge in the intestines and cause an abdominal obstruction. Call the vet if the vomit is dark as this could be a sign of blood in the stomach.

Vomiting can also be a symptom of poisoning. There isn’t an easy way to determine why your dog is vomiting, so calling the vet is the best option. 

The Dog Won’t Go to the Bathroom

When you find your dog straining to go, your first step is ensuring they’re hydrated. Dehydration can lead to constipation and can make you think something is wrong when the dog is just thirsty.

Contact the vet if your pup doesn’t pass anything for 12-24 hours after eating the pen. This is a clear sign of an abdominal blockage. 

The Dog’s Behavior Changes Suddenly

Like us, animals get grumpy or uncomfortable when they don’t feel good. If your friendly dog is suddenly cowering in the corner or won’t allow you to touch them, it could mean they’re feeling ill. The same goes for your even-tempered dog acting aggressively.

Call the vet ahead of time to inform them of the behavior change. This way, office staff can prepare for any attitude from your pet.

The Dog Won’t Eat

Lack of appetite can be from both a blockage and poisoning. A blockage causes discomfort in their stomachs and eliminates their want for food. Poisoning acts similarly and causes enough pain that they won’t eat. 

A loss of appetite in your dog could also mean it’s a low-level case of poisoning. It would be similar to how we would feel if we took too many Ibuprofen. However, it can still be dangerous for the dog and you should contact the vet.

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The Dog is Trembling

Trembling can be an early sign of neurological trouble in dogs that don’t usually shake. The ink acts as a poison and can affect the dog’s neurological pathways, resulting in sudden spasms, trembling, incontinence, and eye-rolling.

This is an emergency. If your vet cannot take you or it’s after hours, contact the nearest emergency veterinarian’s hospital. 

Monitor the Dog’s Bathroom Habits

If there’s no immediate poison risk and the vet decides to have you monitor your pooch at home, you will end up on “poop duty.”

You’ll need:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Tweezers/Fork
  • Mask (for the smell)

You’re looking for pieces of the pen in your dog’s feces. If the plastic doesn’t pass within two days, call the vet and tell them you haven’t seen it pass because this could mean the plastic is still in your dog’s system. 

Check the consistency and color of the feces. When animals have intestinal bleeding, their feces become black and tarry. Feces will look “black and tarry” because that’s what blood looks like when it’s combined with stomach and intestinal fluids. If this occurs, collect a sample in a Ziploc bag and call your vet immediately.

What if my Dog Has a Seizure? 

We know it can be frightening when your dog has a seizure, but do not hold them down. It won’t stop the seizure, and you risk accidental injury – especially if you own a large dog. Here’s a list of things you can do:

  • Prevent them from falling down stairs or off furniture
  • Time the seizure
  • Clear the area around your dog
  • Record a video is possible (for the vet)
  • Call your vet


Caring for an animal that loves to put things in its mouth can be challenging, but we’ve got your back. Call your vet or a pet poison helpline immediately if your dog eats an ink pen and displays mood changes, reluctance to eat, trouble going to the bathroom, or sudden seizures or trembles.