The Cinch Review

One Penny Might Kill a Pooch

zinc pennies toxic to dogsMost dog owners would be familiar with the list of things you’re supposed to keep away from your dog: chocolate, chicken bones, recordings of “Old Shep” and the like. However, this one was new to me: Apparently, one cent coins minted in the United States since 1982 contain zinc, and if such is swallowed by a dog and remains in the stomach long enough for the gastric acid to penetrate it, the zinc from a single cent can lethally poison the dog. It apparently interferes with red blood cell production.

The story happened to hit the news after this very scenario unfolded with a Westie named Sierra, owned by a lady named Maryann Goldstein in Colorado, who is now endeavoring to draw attention to the risk.


The story of Sierra, who died from the effects of a single penny, is in dramatic contrast to a story from last March about Jack (a Jack Russell terrier) who ingested all of 111 pennies and yet survived, after being rushed to an emergency vet clinic and having them removed.

So, all in all, the safest approach is probably to ensure that your dogs (or cats for that matter) only shop with plastic.

By the way, while puppies, of-course, will tend to chew and swallow almost anything, when mature dogs eat weird indigestible things I can’t help thinking that it’s connected to a deep dissatisfaction with their diet. If you had to eat that dried up kibble from a sack every day, loose change might start looking attractive too, if only for the sake of variety. I favor giving dogs real food versus the processed-pet-type for better health and happiness … but that’s as far as I’ll go on that hobby horse today (and of-course I have no information, in relation to the two cases mentioned above, what these particular dogs regularly ate).

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