My Dog Ate a Pen! What Should I do?

So, what happens when your dog decides to assist you with your office project or help your kids with their homework? Well, he will surely entertain you guys with his company. Still, he may cause a tad bit of trouble too, when he accidentally or intentionally eats your favorite pen.

Naturally, dogs are curious creatures and love to nibble on everything they find interesting. Be it moths, grass, chalk, or some trash they’d find in the dumpster; they will try out every other thing that seems appealing to them or smells funny.

The problem is stuff your dog decides to eat may or may not be edible. The interesting part? He can turn a simple object into a hazardous one – take a pen, for example, or a candle. But for now, let’s discuss what you should expect after your dog eats a pen and how dangerous it can be if they ingest the ink or other parts of the pen. So, let’s get to it!

What Should I Do if My Dog Ate a Pen?

Whether your dog ate a pen or any other sharp object, you must contact your vet as soon as possible. Since the plastic of the pen is likely to be rigid, it will hurt him badly and possibly won’t come out as a whole without hurting him. Your vet will test and obtain radiographs to check the pen’s position to proceed further. Sometimes an endoscopy works fine to scoop out foreign objects but not always. So, clinical surgery is the only solution if it doesn’t seem to work due to the pen’s positioning. The pen can cause blockage and bowel obstruction with increasing pain in severe cases.

When it comes to smaller pieces, you may not have to worry that much. Just have him examined by your vet and get some instructions firsthand. However, you have to be proactive if your dog managed to eat the whole pen. The whole situation is dangerous and painful for your dog, so don’t wait for a second if you doubt that he has swallowed your pen whole. The sooner you can take him to the vet, the better, as being late will only worsen the situation.

Small bits and pieces of plastic will take about 8 to 12 hours to pass through the intestine and get out of his body without making his poor soul suffer. But if that’s not the case and the plastic parts of the pen consumed are rather large compared to his size, it can put your dog in a critical situation. The worst scenario that can happen here is the pen getting stuck in your dog’s intestine and causing internal injuries.

Is Pen Ink Poisonous to Dogs?

Writing ink is non-toxic and should not pose a severe threat if consumed in a small amount by your dog. In most cases, no medical attention would be required unless he gulps a large quantity of it. The real problem is the plastic parts of the pen that are rather threatening to your dog, causing them illness as an upset stomach and strained abdomen, among other issues.

But as far as the ink is concerned, it shouldn’t bother your dog except for its strong bitter taste. First, you’ll have to quickly wash his mouth to clear away any traces of ink. Now you have to ensure that your dog is drinking enough fluids to get rid of it.

Although most inks are non-hazardous, they can still cause problems in the form of ink poisoning if your dog has consumed a significant amount. The ink poisoning shows itself through symptoms like lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, staggering, and seizures. Your vet may decide to induce vomiting if it is ink alone and not coupled with a pen or any plastic or metal part. And he will treat the symptoms, and your furry buddy should be alright in the end.

What if My Dog Ate a Pen Spring?

Pen springs are harmful to your dog, just like other metal objects. They are made of such a material that your dog can’t digest. Since pen springs are flexible, you may like to wait a while to let him show signs of discomfort. Meanwhile, you can soften things inside his body to let him push the spring out from the other side. You should provide him with bland foods like plain boiled rice, boiled chicken, and a fiber-rich diet such as pumpkin puree to work as natural laxatives.

We recommend this specially formulated pumpkin puree for dogs.

Since the spring is made of metal and there might be some sharp pieces of plastic, your vet may decide not to induce vomiting as it is not a viable option. That said, if the spring isn’t large or sharp enough, you can try to get it out through your dog’s feces, which may take a couple of days. It is crucial to keep monitoring him to make sure he is fine, which he more than likely will be. Still, symptoms like nausea, abdominal pain or swelling, and diarrhea mean you should contact your vet right away.

If your dog doesn’t seem bothered and is playing just fine, you can relax too. But one last thing you need to worry about is possible metal positioning, as metal coins are known to dissolve into stomach acid and cause poisoning. To avoid that, try to get the spring out of his system as soon as possible. Here you can administer a fiber-rich diet and plenty of fluids so he can poop a lot quicker than normal. You can try feeding him oat milk or bread soaked in pumpkin puree, too, which is proven to help with your dog’s digestion.

What If My Dog Ate The Pen Cap?

Fortunately, a pen cap is tiny, and if gobbled up by your doggo, it should easily pass through his intestine without causing harm. Since your dog’s stomach isn’t able to digest any kind of plastic, any plastic consumed would come out in the feces as a whole. 

However, the genuine concern is when your dog nibbles on giant plastic objects, and then he would have some obvious problems passing them. As explained above, plastic isn’t going to break down into simpler forms as his nutritious food does. If they consume large plastic particles, suppose a plastic bottle or some toy, then it would end up lodging your dog’s intestinal tract. A plastic pen cap, however, is much less likely to do so.

If you have witnessed him chewing and swallowing the cap, keep an eye on him to observe his behavior. And be careful in the future because your dog chewing or nibbling inedible objects could mean some underlying medical or psychological issues. If it is a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of thing, then it will more than likely be okay. 


To sum things up, your dog swallowing a whole pen is a medical emergency, and he needs immediate treatment from the vet. Although eating caps, springs, or pen ink isn’t that much of a threat, you will still have to follow the advice of the vet to be on the safe side. Because whenever your canine buddy swallows any foreign object of any size, you must not leave him untreated.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!