Are E-Cigarettes Harmful to my pets?

In recent years, E-Cigarettes and vapes have become very popular options when it comes to trying to quit smoking cigarettes. One of the bonuses of these products are the flavours! Peach, vanilla, cheesecake, and so many more! While these are great for humans who are trying to quit smoking, they can make things dangerous for our four-legged friends. Dogs and cats can be intrigued by the delicious smells coming out of the fancy machine and what can be more dangerous is their curiosity when you are not around! It’s important to remember there is still nicotine and other chemicals in the e-liquids used with these products.

Adults picnic with dog

The smell of the e-liquid can be very enticing to pets, but our main concern with these products is nicotine toxicity. Most e-liquid contain anywhere between 8-60mgs per mL of nicotine. Signs of nicotine toxicity can be seen within 15-30 minutes of ingestion due to the quick absorption rate of liquids in the gastrointestinal tract.

The severity of symptoms can depend on the amount ingested. Some signs and symptoms of nicotine ingestion include:

  • vomiting
  • drooling
  • diarrhea
  • rapid breathing
  • increased heart rate
  • muscle weakness
  • high blood pressure
  • respiratory depression
  • seizures

So, what should you do if your pet ingests e-cigarette liquid?

The first step is to get your pet to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Generally, the treatment will include hospitalization with intravenous fluids and medications, blood pressure and EKG monitoring, as well as constant monitoring for cardiac and neurological abnormalities. You may be sent home with some medications for your pet, such as stomach protectants and muscle relaxants depending on the severity of the toxicity.

What is the best way to avoid making a trips to the vet?

  • Ensure your e-cigarette products are put away in a safe space that children and pets cannot get into.
  • Use your e-cigarette outside so your pet doesn’t become interested in those delicious smells coming out of that strange machine.
  • It is also important to remember that our pets can still suffer from second-hand smoke, even in the case of e-cigarettes, so you should be using it outdoors anyways!

-Kristen, CCR