Nicotine Poisoning And Pets

Recently, an article in the Huffington Post told the story of a little puppy who got a hold of her owner’s e-cigarette and punctured the plastic part that housed the liquid nicotine. The puppy received a dose of nicotine that was lethal and she did not survive.

It’s been known for quite some time that second hand smoke, cigarettes, and other products that contained nicotine aren’t safe for pets but now with more people using nicotine gum, patches, lozenges, and e-cigarettes, it’s a good reminder to make sure these items are also out of your pet’s reach. Especially since many of the quit smoking products are easier for pets to swallow, chew up, and contain concentrated amounts of nicotine.

Symptoms of Nicotine Poisoning

  • Vomiting
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Incoordination
  • Tremors
  • Weakness
  • Collapse

Nicotine is a toxin with the estimated dose being between .5 and 1mg per pound of the pet’s body weight. So for example, a lethal dose for 10 pound cat might be 10 mg or 4 or 5 of the lower dose 2mg lozenges, 1 loss dose patch, or 1 unsmoked cigarette. Cigarettes contain anywhere from 9 to 30 mg of nicotine but when smoked, only about 2 to 4 mg become absorbed into the body. Regardless, one thing is clear, keep all nicotine products out of reach from your pets.

Accidents happen and the owner of the dog who died did not intend for his puppy to get a hold of his e-cigarette. He did the right thing and rushed his dog to the vet. If your pet ingests any poison, always call and get your pet to the vet as soon as possible.

For more information about nicotine poisoning and pets, check out the Veterinary Partner website.

Image from