That’s because pennies minted after 1982 contain zinc, which is a toxic substance to pets such as dogs and cats, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
… Dr. Rebecca Jackson, a staff veterinarian at Petplan pet insurance, told CBSNews.com in an email that these newer pennies are so toxic because gastric acid from the pet’s stomach can reach the zinc center of the penny quickly, causing it to be absorbed in the body rapidly.
She said zinc interferes with red blood cell production, and the longer the exposure, the greater likelihood red blood cells will be destroyed. Symptoms of zinc toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy, red-colored urine or looking jaundiced.
“I just couldn’t believe it, and this time she wasn’t so lucky,” said Goldstein.
Goldstein wears her dog’s ashes in a heart-shaped container on a necklace, and shares Sierra’s story to warn others that a penny could be so costly.
via Dog Dies After Eating Penny, Pennies Minted Before 1982 Contain Zinc | digtriad.com.
As of 2012, it costs the U.S. Mint 2.00 cents to make a cent because of the cost of materials and production. This figure includes the Mint’s fixed components for distribution and fabrication, estimated at $13 million in FY 2011. It also includes Mint overhead allocated to the penny, which was $17.7 million for 2011. Fixed costs and overhead would have to be absorbed by other circulating coins without the penny. The loss in profitability due to producing the one cent coin in the United States for the year of 2012 was $58,000,000. This was a slight decrease from 2011, the year before, which had a production loss of $60,200,000.