Nicotine, a rapid-acting toxin, is present in a multitude of products and can be detrimental to animals. Within an hour of consumption, pets may begin to show symptoms of its toxicity. Common sources of nicotine include cigarettes, vaping devices, chewing gum, and chewing tobacco, among others. Nicotine products can also contain xylitol, which is poisonous to dogs. Due to its prevalence, the chance of your pet encountering nicotine is high. Read below to find out more about the adverse impacts of nicotine on pets. 

Indicators of Nicotine Poisoning in Pets

Nicotine poisoning in pets can cause symptoms to develop rapidly. Clinical signs usually appear within 15 to 60 minutes following ingestion. Possible symptoms of nicotine poisoning in dogs and cats include:

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

Treatment for Nicotine Poisoning

Nicotine poisoning can occur rapidly following ingestion, so it is imperative to seek medical attention immediately. Even in cases of ingestion of a minor quantity, it is crucial to take your pet to the closest veterinary clinic or animal hospital directly, as nicotine poisoning can be fatal. If you suspect nicotine poisoning, contact a veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 without delay. 

Your veterinarian may induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal to prevent further absorption of nicotine from the stomach. Additionally, IV fluids may be administered to promote excretion and stabilization. Your pet should be able to recover quickly but your vet will have more information regarding their recovery. It may be difficult to completely remove nicotine-containing substances from your pet’s environment, but you can certainly monitor their environment to make sure they do not ingest any products that include nicotine. Prevention is always preferable and more economical than treatment.