Take care: The Dog Killer in Your Pocket

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Here’s another danger that might surprise you!

Just as dog owners often don’t realize their canine friends are too heavy, they may have a blind spot about another threat. Surprisingly, the lowly penny can become a lethal weapon against dogs – specifically pennies minted after 1982.

Although all pennies are equal in value – one one cent, no matter what year it is – their compositions are not. Pennies that were produced between 1962 and 1982 are predominantly copper (95%), whereas pennies churned out in 1982 and after are mostly zink (97.5%).

Zinc is an essential mineral but is undesirable in excessive amounts. When pennies meet the acid in a dog’s stomach, the zinc gets released rapidly, which can destroy red blood cells, and in turn, lead to a number of debilitating conditions, including kidney or liver damage.

Certainly no one was thinking about dogs when U.S. Mint approved the transition from a copper to a zinc penny. But if Abraham Lincoln were alive today, I’m sure he would say, “One score and thirteen years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new penny, conceived in zinc. So, please, keep them out of reach of your dogs.”



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