Do you smoke e-cigarettes? Do you own a dog or a puppy likely to find and chew random objects? Yes? Ok then this is for you. Our puppy recently ingested a small amount of e-cig liquid whilst chewing on a bottle that had been left within reach.

Within 5 minutes he was sick, a quick call to the vet and an immediate response of bring him down was terrifying. Then followed a 5 minute journey to the vet and more vomiting in the car. The vet was reassuring as he had not ingested a large quantity, but even so kept him in all day. He was put on a drip, given charcoal and monitored closely. Thankfully he was absolutely fine, but what an awful experience for him and it could have been so much worse.

Nicotine is toxic – I think everyone knows that? Within 15-60 minutes of ingestion you will see a physical reaction in your dog. Vomiting, drooling, diarrhoea, weakness, body tremors that may progress into seizures, a racing pulse, cardiac arrest, coma and even death if a large amount has been ingested. They may also show symptoms such as over excitability, hysteria and hallucinations.

The ingestion of one e-cig cartridge (equivalent to 1 or 2 cigarettes) will make a 50 pound dogs very poorly and could kill a dog that weighs less than 10 pounds.

But nicotine content varys. Between 8mg and 30mg for a real cigarette, nicotine gum between 2 and 5mg and a small bottle of e-liquid anywhere from 4mg to 34mg. It is important that if you are ever in this situation that you know what your dog has ingested – it will help the vet calculate the possible level of nicotine in their system and treat accordingly.

Nicotine stimulates the vomiting reflex, so a pet throwing up is getting rid of any remaining nicotine in their stomach that hasn’t already been absorbed by the small intestine. (The stomach does not absorb nicotine).Nicotine is metabolised in the liver, then passed out of the body through urination. Within 24 hours, any nicotine within the system should have passed through the body naturally and if your pet has survived the first 6 hours following ingestion they are likely to make a full recovery.

In February this year sadly Ivy the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was the first pet in Britain to be killed by an electronic cigarette. She died within hours of chewing on a bottle of e-cigarette liquid / vape juice.

Apparently it is the aromas from e-cigarettes (everything from coffee, to strawberry, to lamb balti flavours) that make e-cigarettes more hazardous to our pets than a real cigarette. They smell so good they want to eat them. And that goes for kids too – e-cigarettes are a hazard and should at all times be kept out of reach of children and animals.

According to the Veterinary Poisons Information Service there has been a 300% increase in e-cigarette poisoning in the last 12 months. With an estimated four million people in Britain who have turned to electronic cigarettes, this is an ever increasing problem at the expense of our pets health and sometimes their lives.

Be aware and be safe 🙂