With home schooling continuing and homes full of the essentials – pens, pencils, rubbers, rulers – pets are chewing and eating various stationery items. The majority of pencil case-fillers are considered ‘non-toxic’, and mostly pose an obstruction risk.
Two items we receive calls about that are often more of a worry to owners and vets, are pens and pencils.
Contrary to what many people believe, pencils do not contain lead. Rather, the core is made up of the non-toxic mineral, graphite. The common name “pencil lead” is due to an historic association with the stylus made of lead in ancient Roman. Pencils are more of an obstruction and perforation risk, especially when chewed and sharp, than a toxicological risk.
Another common concern is when felt tips are ingested by animals. The tip of these pens is made of felt (or sometimes an absorbent plastic). The ink reservoir feeds ink through the felt tip and onto the writing surface. The possible clinical signs of ingestion include hypersalivation and vomiting, as well as discolouration of the tongue/mouth. The plastic pieces of a pen are a potential foreign body hazard.
So if your pet has eaten the homework give us a ring if you are worried!