Pennies & Zinc

While any coin can choke a dog, pennies are particularly dangerous. Although sheathed in a thin coat of copper, pennies minted after 1982 are 97.5% zinc (5% before 1982). Why is this a problem? Zinc is toxic to animals resulting in severe anemia and kidney problems.

Other objects that contain zinc include zinc bolts, metals that have been galvanized, some ointments, zinc supplements, and certain board game pieces.

Symptoms can include:

  • Chronic vomiting, due to the fact that zinc affects the stomach lining
  • Diarrhea, if the zinc affects the intestinal lining as well
  • Excessive salivation and foaming at the mouth
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums and mucous membranes
  • Sudden collapse
  • Seizures
  • Coma, in rare cases and only if the amount of zinc ingested in high quantities