E-Cigarette craze supposedly “safer,” but not for pets

By on October 8, 2014

The biggest craze in the tobacco industry right now, e-cigarettes, is a revolutionary product that is supposedly better for you than smoking regular cigarettes. Unfortunately, with the new uptick of e-cigarettes, there has been an alarming increase in the number of pet poisoning cases due to dogs and cats getting a hold of e-cigarette cartridges. The packets are enticing to animals; especially with all the flavors now available in e-cigarettes. It’s hard for your beloved dog or cat to stay away.  The debate on whether e-cigarettes are better or worse for you than regular cigarettes will continue for a while; however, there is no debate and no argument that pets get poisoned when ingesting any type of nicotine.

I visited petpoisonhelpline.com and found this quote from Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, DABT, DABVT and associate director of veterinary services at Pet Poison Helpline: “We’ve handled cases for pets poisoned by eating traditional cigarettes or tobacco products containing nicotine for many years, but, as the use of e-cigarettes has become more widespread, our call volume for cases involving them has increased considerably.”

I’m not the only concerned pet lover out there. Here’s what Debbie Newhouse from our partner, Urgent Pet Care, said: “We have not seen any dogs yet that have eaten this product but it is probably a matter of time before we do. I have read several articles about the toxic effects that these cigarettes have and we posted an article from the pet poison helpline about it on our Facebook page.”

The Pet Poison Hotline site has a lot of great information about e-cigarettes and the dangers they pose to our animals. Another article, found here, lists the symptoms of poisoning by nicotine. They are: vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, elevations in heart rate and respiration rate, depression, tremors, ataxia (loss of motor skills), weakness, seizures, cyanosis (discoloration of skin due to a lack of oxygen), coma and cardiac arrest. Symptoms start to occur generally 15 minutes to an hour after ingestion. If you think your pet may have ingested nicotine, please call the Pet Poison Hotline at 1-800-213-6680.

 If you or someone in your household smokes or has any e-cigarette cartridges please make them impossible for your animals to get a hold of, in order to prevent these poisonings from happening.

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