As strange as it may seem, accidents such as a dog eating a cigarette are common. Dogs can find cigarettes on sidewalks, in parks, or even in one’s own home. Dogs may find cigarettes interesting because they smell different than the rest of their environment. However, it is not a good idea to ever let your dog eat a cigarette. Cigarettes contain nicotine, a rapid-acting toxin that can be harmful to pets, as can other tobacco products such as cigars, chewing tobacco, hookah and vape pens. If a dog does consume cigarettes or any product containing tobacco, they may experience adverse effects.
Nicotine Poisoning Symptoms
Nicotine acts by stimulating the central nervous system. Nicotine can promote the production of adrenaline. Symptoms of poisoning may begin to appear within one hour of ingestion. The severity of the symptoms can depend on the amount of nicotine consumed. Common poisoning symptoms include:
- Elevated heartbeat
- Respiratory depression
- Lack of coordination
- Cardiac arrest
Treatment for Nicotine Poisoning
If you discover that your dog ate a cigarette or any nicotine-containing product, it is important to contact Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 and your veterinarian immediately. Symptoms can occur very quickly, and you don’t want your dog to suffer any more than they must. Dogs that ingest small amounts of nicotine often vomit on their own, which can help them self-decontaminate, but it is still important for a veterinarian to evaluate your dog’s condition. Your veterinarian will monitor your dog’s heart rate, blood pressure, and neurological status. Medications may be necessary to address vomiting and diarrhea, as well as IV fluids to address hydration. Your veterinarian will have more information on your dog’s recovery process. You can prevent future poisoning episodes by maintaining a nicotine free environment or ensure that your dog doesn’t have access to products that contain nicotine.