Coins Poisoning Average Cost

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Average Cost


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What is Coins Poisoning?

The most common form of toxicosis from coins results when dogs ingest change left within their reach. While this form of ingestion does not  offer any satisfaction from taste, the curious nature of canines leads them to explore with their mouths and consume objects of multiple types. Often, a puppy or dog who likes to eat any sort of object within reach will become ill after ingesting coins. Not only does the eating of coins allow for the risk of an obstruction in the esophagus or intestine, the compounds in coins will break down when they come in contact with gastric make up of the stomach. The release of zinc, which results due to the low PH of the stomach, is then transported to the liver, bones, pancreas, and more in the form of caustic zinc salts. 

Zinc salts can be corrosive on tissues such as the muscles and the prostate, irritating them in the process. Additionally, the proper use of iron and copper for example can be disrupted by zinc. The degree of toxicity will depend on the amount of coins eaten, whether food is present in the stomach or not, and the length of time the coins remain in the stomach. If you suspect your pet has eaten coins a veterinary visit is necessary. Do not wait for symptoms to appear; the death of a small dog due to the ingestion of a single penny has been documented.

Coins poisoning can occur in dogs when ingested. Toxicity will depend on the size of the dog and the type of coin eaten; most cases of coin poisoning in canines involve pennies, in particular the penny minted after 1982.

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Symptoms of Coins Poisoning in Dogs

  • Lack of appetite (anorexia)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased thirst and urination 
  • Lethargy 
  • Pale mucous membranes 
  • Reddish colored urine
  • Jaundice (icterus)
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Fever

Severe cases may lead to cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, and renal failure.


  • Nickels are 25% nickel and 5% copper
  • Dimes and quarters are 8.33% nickel and 91.67% copper
  • U.S. pennies pre-1982 were 95% copper and 3% zinc but post-1982 have been changed to 97.6 zinc and 2.4% copper

Causes of Coins Poisoning in Dogs

  • Coins poisoning can damage organs including the liver, kidney and pancreas
  • Multi organ failure is possible
  • Severe anemia can occur
  • Zinc salts corrode tissues
  • Pennies can adhere to the gastric mucosa and stomach lining
  • Coins can cause an internal obstruction

Diagnosis of Coins Poisoning in Dogs

A pet who has ingested coins must be seen by a veterinarian immediately. Symptoms of coin poisoning are not obvious right away; studies have not determined the length of time that it takes for the zinc in pennies to begin to make your pet sick. Do not wait for symptoms to appear before making the trip to the clinic. Complications that arise, like anemia or jaundice, may not be apparent to you but could be manifesting without showing signs.

The veterinarian will ask questions pertinent to your dog’s recent health and the coin eating event.

  • Has your pet been ill recently?
  • Is he on medication or supplements?
  • How is his appetite?
  • Is your dog’s behavior and activity level normal?
  • Has he been drinking more water than usual?
  • Have his toileting habits changed?

A physical examination will be done and the veterinarian will be listening to your pet’s heart rate and breathing patterns, as well as palpating the abdomen for tenderness and checking the mucus membranes for irritation or unusual color.

A complete blood count, chemical profile and coagulation profile, in addition to a urinalysis will be ordered. BUN, creatinine and urine color are just a few of the markers that will be analysed. These diagnostic tools can point to the extent of toxicity. Radiographs (x-rays) may be done and can indicate if there is a dangerous obstruction caused by the coins and also can give the location of the coins because removal will be necessary.

Treatment of Coins Poisoning in Dogs

The coins will need to be removed from your dog’s stomach or wherever they may be in the gastrointestinal system. Pennies in particular can adhere to the lining of the stomach and do not always dislodge easily. If the incident took place just a short while ago, the veterinarian may have success with removing the coins by inducing vomiting. Because the coins may eventually cause an obstruction, it is not safe to assume they will pass through your pet’s system on their own. Removal of the source of poisoning is also an important part of the treatment.

However, before this can be considered, your dog will be stabilized through the use of intravenous fluids, blood transfusion if necessary to treat anemia, and oxygen aid if breathing is labored. Medications can be administered through the intravenous line, including gastroprotectants, antinausea drugs, and medications designed to prevent further zinc absorption. The fluids will also help to flush out the kidneys.

Removal of the coins may be done surgically (laparotomy) or by endoscopy (tube with camera). The method of removal will depend on the location of the coins and how difficult it appears they may be to remove. Your pet will be carefully monitored throughout the procedure and for the entire hospital stay.

Recovery of Coins Poisoning in Dogs

Contingent upon the severity of the coin poisoning, your canine companion may have an extensive hospital stay. Some cases whereby the coins were removed quickly and symptoms were minimal, recovery may be fairly quick but dogs who ingested a large amount of coins and were highly symptomatic may be under veterinarian care for days to weeks. Possible complications resulting from coin poisoning are residual kidney and liver issues, anemia, and pancreatitis. The veterinary team will want to see your dog for a follow-up appointment in order to make sure his recovery is on track and his organ function is continuing as it should.

Coins Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

3 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms


So I was dropping coins and I think my dog got one in her mouth but I am pretty sure it got out of her mouth I went to check her mouth when it looked like she was swallowing something and I didn’t feel anything and then Trixie did what she does afte I check her mouth I don’t know what to do

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1100 Recommendations
It there is a chance that the coins contained zinc (primarily pennies), she should be seen by your veterinarian and have an x-ray to see if she actually did eat the coins. There is a good chance that she will pass them, but them may cause a foreign body or zinc toxicity. If she stops eating, starts vomiting, having diarrhea, or acting lethargic, then she should be examined by a veterinarian. I hope that she is okay.

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2 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms


I think my dog swallowed a quarter but I’m not positive. It has been over 24 hours since it happened and she hasn’t shown any symptoms. She has been playing and eating/drinking. Should I take her in to see the vet?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2514 Recommendations
You should be checking through Rory’s faeces to see if he has passed any coin(s) or not; but at this stage you should be trying to feed him boiled chicken and rice to try and push the coin out. If you don’t see the coin after a day you should visit your Veterinarian for an x-ray to see if the coin is there or not. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
2 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Nothing yet

Hello, I was counting down change I had saved up and a few of them were in rolls, my dog may ate dimes while I left the room to get some water. I am not sure because I was in such a rush to keep them away from her and my other that I forgot to count and see if they all were there. I just am wondering if I should bring her to the vet or keep an eye on her. Or should I keep on eye on her for a few days then bring her

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1100 Recommendations
The main concern is that the dimes could become a foreign body. A foreign body is an object that can’t pass through the gastrointestinal tract. It can be dangerous as it could require surgery. Since your dog is a large breed dog, it may pass though his system fine but it may not. If the ingestion was recent, call your vet or local emergency clinic to determine if they want you to induce vomiting to get it out of his stomach. If the ingestion was not recently (within past few hours) – watch him for signs of obstruction such as not eating, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or lethargy. If you notice any signs – take him to your vet. They can x-ray him to determine if and where the dime is. You may want to check his stools to see if/when he passes it. Also, if you think any other coins may have been eaten, the zinc in some coins can be a chronic problem, and you should see your veterinarian if that is a possibility.

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1 Year
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Today, my dog had her 2nd emergency surgery, bc she ate coins (8 quaters & 2 nickles this time)! Why is she attracted to these coins, & how is she even ABLE to swallow them?! We can't imagine where she is getting them from, since we have been extra careful since the last time! It IS happening at night, though, so she will now be muzzled, or crated @ night! Can you answer our questions? Thanks!

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1100 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. I'm not sure what you're asking - why she eats them? If only I could answer why dogs eat the things that they do! Since you know that she has a tendency to eat coins, and she might like the smell of them, crating her at night makes sense so that she can't get into trouble, as does making absolutely sure that no coins are in her reach. Crating seems much more humane that a muzzle. I hope that things go well for her.

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