Dogs eating cigarettes is not uncommon and is a growing concern for pet owners. Tobacco products can be found anywhere, in the home, on the sidewalk, or in the trash. Dogs seek out food and toys in these areas, so they are at risk of encountering cigarettes. If ingested, nicotine found in cigarettes can cause severe clinical signs in dogs. You need to keep all nicotine products out of your pet’s reach and inform your peers of the damage that nicotine ingestion can have on dogs. Read below to learn about the dangerous effects that nicotine can have on your pets.
Effects of Tobacco Ingestion
Nicotine, the active compound in tobacco and tobacco products, is very dangerous to dogs. Within one hour of ingestion, the toxins quickly enter the bloodstream and affect the central nervous system. The intestines and mucous membranes absorb the toxins, making it difficult to get rid of once it reaches the bloodstream. Even with ample hydration, the kidneys can only expel 2-35% of the total nicotine ingested. Therefore, it is important to keep all tobacco products away from your pup in order to protect their health.
Symptoms of Tobacco Poisoning
The signs of tobacco poisoning vary greatly. Some may be noticeable, but others can be psychological and not visible. These symptoms include:
- Elevations in heart rate
- Elevations in respiration rate
- Cardiac arrest
You must act quickly if your dog has consumed cigarettes. Call Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 and your veterinarian for first aid measures. The acid in the stomach naturally slows down the absorption of nicotine, so giving your dog antacids is counterproductive and not recommended. Your veterinarian may need to induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal to stop further absorption of nicotine from the stomach. IV fluids may also be prescribed to aid excretion and stabilization. Depending on the dosage and how long since it has been consumed, your dog can still be made stable before any irreversible damage occurs.