My Dog Ate Highlighter – What Should I Do Now?

It sounds like your dog ate a highlighter! Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

This article aims to answer the question of what to do if your dog ate a highlighter.

What Are Highlighters Made Of?

Highlighters are made of a small ball of specially formulated gel ink, which is attached to the end of a flexible wire.

This ink is fluorescent under black light and provides readability over-highlighted sections.

Highlighter ink consists mostly of ethyl alcohol, mineral oil, coloring agents, glycerol esters (vegetable-based), and water. The composition for specific highlighters may vary slightly but they all share these basic components.

Are Highlighters Toxic To Dogs?

Highlighters may be toxic to dogs. Highlighter ink is not believed to directly cause harm, but it can damage the lining of the stomach and intestines by causing digestive issues.

When dealing with any issue where a dog has ingested a product that you are unfamiliar with, it’s always best to contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible for professional advice.

In short: yes, highlighters are dangerous if ingested by your dog, so take steps to ensure you use them safely.

Can A Dog Die From Eating Highlighter?

Thankfully, dogs are rarely seriously hurt by eating highlighter ink.

Most cases of dogs ingesting a highlighter will resolve on their own with the dog requiring no treatment or surgery to remove any residue from its digestive system.

However, if the dog has consumed a significant amount, or ingested an ink bottle with a particularly toxic highlighter, then your veterinarian may recommend surgical removal of any remaining ink.

Even in those situations, most dogs recover quickly and without incident after surgery.

Is It Dangerous If A Puppy Eats A Highlighter?

A puppy is at greater risk of harm from eating a highlighter than an adult dog because its digestive system cannot break down colored inks as well as an adult.

The vet will likely treat a puppy that has eaten highlighter the same way they would treat an adult but on a smaller scale due to the size difference.

Your veterinarian will be able to provide you with more details about how to proceed based on your dog’s age and the type of highlighter he or she ingested.

How To Tell If Your Dog Ate A Highlighter?

dog in bed feeling sick

You’ll probably be able to tell if your dog ate a highlighter, but let’s take a look at the most common side effects and symptoms.

The first thing to do is check your dog for any visual indicator. Look for shiny or discolored feces as well as vomiting, groaning, unusual drowsiness or lethargy, frothing at the mouth, an abnormal gait, and dilated pupils on close inspection.

If you think that your dog has eaten a highlighter (even if he seems fine), it’s always best to get him checked up by a professional anyway!

Address any issues as soon as possible in order to minimize the negative effects on your dog’s health.

You can also buy special ‘scat test’ kits in order to determine if your dog has eaten any strange objects.

Now that you know how to tell if your dog ate a highlighter and the common signs of distress, let’s take a look at what to do next.

What To Do If Your Dog Ate Highlighter?

Most people will try their best to make sure their dogs aren’t chewing on unwanted items like highlighters. Unfortunately, accidents happen from time to time – it’s important that you’re prepared for them!

If your dog has eaten a highlighter, the first thing you should do is call your vet. The sooner you get in touch with them for professional advice, the better!

Depending on what type of highlighter ink your dog ingested (e.g. gel or liquid), there are several things that can be done to minimize negative effects.

In either case, vomiting is likely to occur naturally, so let’s take a look at some alternative methods that may reduce any digestive issues and ease discomfort overall.

Gel Highlighters

Firstly, try giving your dog water or milk to drink.

If you can, go for a walk together. Active exercise will increase the odds of vomit occurring naturally.

However, if vomiting has not occurred within 30 minutes, consider calling your vet to receive further advice.

Liquid Highlighter

Try giving your dog water or milk to drink. Remember that liquid highlighters contain alcohol, so make sure that you don’t force too much fluid into him all at once if he is reluctant to drink it (this may cause additional digestion issues).

Also, keep your dog as active as possible. If you can, go for a walk together. Active exercise will increase the odds of vomit occurring naturally.

However, if vomiting has not occurred within 30 minutes, consider calling your vet to receive further advice.

In both cases, make sure you do everything you can to keep your dog comfortable and safe.

Keep her out of any harmful environments (i.e. outdoors), make sure she has access to water as this may temporarily help digestion issues.

Make sure to always call a veterinarian for professional advice if you’re uncertain about what’s best for your dog!

Does My Dog Need Veterinary Care?

dog with first aid

If your dog is showing signs of discomfort after eating a highlighter, try doing everything possible to reduce pain and protect her from harm!

If the discomfort doesn’t go away within a reasonable amount of time after making basic adjustments, consider calling the vet.

If you are able to get medical help within 30 minutes and your dog is showing pain (e.g. looking uncomfortable), vomiting, difficulty moving or lying down, frothing at the mouth, lethargy, unusual drowsiness, etc., call for a veterinarian in order to minimize negative effects on health!

Even if your dog seems fine now but has eaten highlighter ink previously with no side effects or discomfort evident, it’s important that you’re careful from here on out.

If your dog shows any signs of distress or abnormality whatsoever after ingesting highlighter ink in the future (regardless of how long ago the event occurred), call your vet immediately!

How To Clean Up A Highlighter Spill (Before Your Dog Eats It)

If you’ve just spilled a highlighter, removing it quickly is imperative to avoid harm to your dog.

You can use a damp paper towel soaked in warm water to remove any excess ink from hard surfaces before it has time to dry.

If there is still any stray color on materials that will be eaten by pets or small children, then cover them with aluminum foil until you have a chance to clean them properly.

Using an old toothbrush may help get into difficult spots where dried-up highlighter remains stuck.

Since different types of highlighters contain different ingredients and can come in different packaging, please refer to the manufacturer’s website for specific safety warnings that may apply.

How To Prevent This From Happening In Future

The best thing you can do to prevent your dog from eating highlighters is to store all writing utensils (including highlighters) in a safe, locked box, and keep the key well out of reach.

You can purchase a child-proof lockbox online or at any hardware store for around $5-$10.

If your pet has already become accustomed to getting into items they shouldn’t, make sure that you take extra precautions with whatever it was he managed to find his way into this time.

This means removing anything else that could be hazardous if ingested by animals or small children (for example, medication*), and making sure that the item is stored securely enough so it cannot spill or leak (e.g. wrapping a highlighter in aluminum foil).

A reminder: if you’re concerned about your dog’s wellbeing or the condition of items he managed to get into recently, always contact a veterinarian for professional advice!


In this article, we discussed how to know if a dog ate a highlighter. We also described what can be done if a dog has eaten a highlighter (both liquids and gel).

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below! Thank you for reading my article. I hope it helped you out!

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