Is Zinc Poisonous for Dogs? 

One concern that every dog owner must ask is whether the mineral, zinc, can be poisonous for dogs. Zinc can be found in many items, from pennies to diaper rash creams. Zinc is also an essential nutrient for both humans and animals to stay healthy. Zinc has been known to affect different pets differently and toxicity can be a serious health concern for pups. It’s important to understand not just what causes zinc poisoning, but also how to identify and treat it.  

Zinc Toxicity  

While zinc is an essential mineral for dogs, excessive amounts can lead to toxicity. This can occur when dogs ingest items containing zinc, such as coins, hardware, or certain topical creams. Some coins can be ingested and safely passed in the stool without any issues, but some coins contain larger amounts of zinc which can lead to poisoning. Zinc breaks down in the stomach, causing stomach upset and absorption into the blood stream. This can lead to the destruction of red blood cells, kidney and heart failure, and liver damage. Dog owners must keep potential sources of zinc out of their dog’s reach and to seek immediate veterinary attention if they suspect their dog has ingested a zinc-containing item. 

Clinical Signs of Zinc Poisoning 

Your dog experience severe symptoms if they have ingested an item or substance containing elevated levels of zinc. Potential symptoms of zinc poisoning include:  

  • Weakness 
  • Pale gums 
  • Vomiting  
  • Increased breathing  
  • Increased heart rate  
  • Discolored urine  
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Collapse  


If your pup has ingested an item containing zinc, such as a coin, you must contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 immediately for life-saving advice. The symptoms listed above can cause severe damage, so timeliness is key when seeking treatment. At the veterinary clinic, an x-ray should be performed immediately. Removal of the coin or metal piece is necessary before destruction to the red blood cells can occur, leading to severe anemia.  Without professional treatment, zinc ingestion can be fatal. If you have further questions or concerns, give the experts at Pet Poison Helpline a call anytime!