Nicotine containing products can be found anywhere. Common products that you may see around include cigarettes, cigars, vapes, nicotine gum, chewing tobacco, and more. Nicotine is a rapid-acting toxin that can be toxic to pets. Nicotine poisoning can have detrimental effects on your pet’s health. Some types of nicotine gums also contain xylitol, a sugar-free sweetener that is toxic to dogs. After ingestion, pets may start to show symptoms of its toxicity within the hour. It is important to be aware of the possible side effects nicotine can have on animals, such as vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and even fatality. If you suspect your pet has been exposed to nicotine, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention promptly. 

Nicotine Poisoning Symptoms in Pets 

Symptoms of nicotine poisoning in pets can come on quickly. Clinical signs may be seen within one hour after ingestion. Potential effects of nicotine poisoning in cats and dogs may include: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Agitation 
  • Elevations in heart rate 
  • Elevations in respiration rate 
  • Depression 
  • Tremors 
  • Ataxia 
  • Weakness 
  • Seizures 
  • Cyanosis 
  • Coma 
  • Cardiac arrest 

Nicotine Poisoning Treatment 

You must immediately act if you suspect your pet is suffering from nicotine poisoning. Contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline® (855) 764-7661 immediately for life-saving medical advice. Even if a small quantity of nicotine has been ingested, it is essential to take your pet to the nearest animal hospital or veterinary clinic as quickly as possible, as nicotine poisoning can be fatal. Your veterinarian may administer activated charcoal to prevent further absorption of nicotine from their system, as well as provide IV fluids to promote excretion and stabilization. Medications may be needed to slow the heart rate, decrease blood pressure, and/or stop tremors. With proper medical attention and treatment, your pet should be able to make a full recovery. The best course of action is to try and remove all nicotine-containing substances from your pet’s environment and to monitor their environment to ensure they aren’t ingesting any products that have nicotine in them. Prevention is always the best option and is much more cost-effective than treating poisoning.