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Why Smoking Is Bad And Dangerous For Dogs

Updated on July 13, 2011

POISONOUS TO DOGS


As cute as the image is of the dog with the cigarette in its paw, nicotine and dogs adds up to poison with a capital "P". Just as hundreds, if not thousands, of children are seen in the emergency room each year for ingesting nicotine, thousands of dogs are poisoned each year by nicotine. Ingested in sufficient amounts, it is fatal.

It might surprise you to know how little your dog would have to ingest to cause a severe reaction.

Even if you're not a smoker, you should know the warning signs of nicotine ingestion and what to do if you suspect your dog has ingested so much as 1 cigarette butt.

Most importantly, be aware that nicotine can be toxic in dogs in any form and you should seek veterinary attention immediately if you suspect your dog has ingested any form of nicotine. The effects of tobacco smoking on even the healthy dog can result in a fatality.

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Source

TOBACCO AND TOBACCO PRODUCTS


Just like children, dogs are naturally curious. Dogs are famous for smelling things and putting things into their mouths, just like kids. Sometimes, this can be a deadly behavior. For instance, menthol cigarettes give off a minty smell that dogs are drawn to. Chewing tobacco can be flavored with fruit flavoring or minty flavoring. Dogs are drawn to the sweet smell and may ingest these items without giving it a thought.

You might also think at first glance you only need to worry about cigarettes and chewing tobacco. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. Here are some other tobacco products that can kill your dog.

  • Cigarettes of varying strengths and lengths
  • Cigarette butts (see below for more on their nicotine content)
  • Nicotine gum
  • Nicotine patches
  • Nicotine inhalers
  • Cigars
  • Snuff
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Nicotine nasal spray
  • Nicotine insecticides

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POISONED DOG SYMPTOMS


  • Drooling
  • Hyperactivity
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Inability to breathe
  • Weakness
  • Tremors
  • Lethargy
  • Stumbling/inability to get up or walk
  • Depression
  • Dilated pupils
  • Collapse
  • Heartbeats that are too slow, too fast or irregular

WHAT IS HARMFUL TO DOGS?


The toxic amount of nicotine in a dog is 5 mg of nicotine per pound.

An ingestion of 10 mg/kg of weight can be deadly.

  • Cigarette butts can hold between 4-8 mg of nicotine dependent upon the length of the cigarette butt and the amount of nicotine in the original cigarette.
  • The butt of the cigarette contains an extremely high concentration of nicotine because the nicotine from the entire cigarette has been drawn through the butt.
  • One cigarette contains between 15-25 mg of nicotine dependent upon the brand.
  • Nicotine gum has 2-4 mg of nicotine per piece.
  • Nicotine inhalers have about 4 mg per puff or 10 mg in a cartridge.
  • Cigars have 15-40 mg of nicotine per cigar.
  • Nicotine patches have anywhere from 8-114 mg of nicotine dependent upon the strength.
  • Nasal sprays have 80-100 mg per bottle or about 0.5 mg per spray.
  • Chewing tobacco contains 6-8 mg of nicotine per gram of tobacco.
  • Snuff has 12-17 mg of nicotine per gram.

Doing the math with the above figures, a 10 pound dog consuming 2-4 cigarettes could be in the danger zone and begin exhibiting nicotine toxicity.

Even if your dog just gets nicotine on his fur, on his skin or in his mouth, wash immediately as it can still be toxic.

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FACTS ABOUT TOBACCO POISONING


If you suspect your dog has ingested tobacco products of any kind, call your veterinarian immediately and get advice.

Do not try to treat at home unless your vet instructs you to do so. The only treatment for a toxic exposure you can perform at home is to induce vomiting. That depends on your vet's advice and how far you are from medical help.

Don't administer antacids! The administration of antacids can encourage the toxins to stay in the dog's stomach, thus elevating the poison level.

Blood tests and urine tests can detect if nicotine is present. Of course if you know that the dog has ingested any amount of nicotine, testing is not necessary. Try to make an educated estimate as to how much nicotine was ingested by your dog and when.

If time has passed since the ingestion of nicotine, you may be instructed to bring the dog urgently to a veterinary emergency center.

Treatment for nicotine poisoning can include inducing vomiting, pumping the dog's stomach, intravenous fluid administration, administering activated charcoal to absorb the nicotine, oxygen, a ventilator or medications to control seizures.

With a toxic nicotine exposure, treatment is directed at keeping the dog alive long enough for the tobacco toxin to pass through his system.

It is said that if a dog survives the first 4-5 hours, the prognosis for recovery is good. It also is good when small amounts are ingested and if treatment is prompt and aggressive. However, keep in mind that nicotine will not be eliminated from the dog's body for at least 16-20 hours.

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EFFECTS OF NICOTINE TOXICITY


In short, the best way to prevent your dog from needing treatment for nicotine poisoning is to keep all products containing nicotine locked up and away from your dog! An ounce of prevention here is worth 20 pounds of cure.

Some people don't believe that cigarette butts are toxic to dogs. It could go a long way to lessening the effects of this deadly and man-made risk for dogs in educating people about throwing their cigarette butts on the ground.

How many of us have been out walking our dogs and had Fido pick up someone else's nicotine trash off the ground?

To find out more about signs and symptoms of nicotine poisoning, visit petcare.com.

If you smoke, make sure you have a care for your dog. Remember that awful feeling you got the very first time you lit up and took a drag off a cigarette? Those symptoms are actually the same as your dog experiences – it is called nicotine poisoning. However, for a dog, the effects are much more severe and can easily become toxic and even deadly.

Educate your friends and family as well about the dangers of even 1 or 2 cigarette butts being left where your dog can chow down on them. You may just save your dog's life or someone else's dog's life simply by sharing your knowledge. Think about the puppy who grabs a pack of cigarettes and chews them all up!

No butts about it - don't forget the ashtrays! Keep them emptied and out of reach of your dog.

Remember that your dog depends on you to keep him safe. Keep nicotine products out of your dog's reach and you won't have to worry about nicotine poisoning.

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    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks for the tag, Celebritys4Africa~

    • celeBritys4africA profile image

      celeBritys4africA 

      7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Your hub is very useful. Great I pop in.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Tebo - That's what got me to thinking about it and researching it more - dogs are naturally very curious~ Thanks for the read!

    • profile image

      tebo 

      7 years ago

      Very interesting. I didn't know nicotine affected dogs. But reflecting on that my dog sniffs and eats anything he finds as we walk or around the house.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      ListLady - I hear you - I actually had to go research this to PROVE that I was right when my son told me I was making too much of it~ Oh well, at least I have the proper tools now to inform anyone who messes with my dogs~ ha ha - It is a pity that people just can't think isn't it??

    • TheListLady profile image

      TheListLady 

      7 years ago from New York City

      Thanks so much for this reminder - that the incredibly stupid things done by those that are supposed to have the ability to reason (humans I think they are called) are a health hazard to the other animals we share this world with.

      Rated up as always!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Nell -I actually worried about it before but didn't have all the facts. I'm glad I went and got them though as I had no idea about the filters having so much nicotine in them - aka the butts~ I've never liked butts myself so going to keep my puppy especially away from the butts - all butts just to be safe! Thanks for the read - and no butts about it!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      Hi, this is a very good point, and not something I would have even thought of. I remember seeing those old pictures of dogs being used for experiments on cigarettes. its enough to make you shudder. How many people do let their dogs sniff around and find butts? they are like children, and must be looked after as such, nice one Audrey!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Love it - I'm not QUITE that bad although I worry about every little thing with my dogs, too. I agree about never being afraid to ask questions and support the concept that your pet should be yours for life and receive the best possible care you can afford! Kudos to you and your wife!!

    • Pet Utopia profile image

      Pet Utopia 

      7 years ago

      wellme and my wife believe that if you have an animal you should do all the nesseary research on how to care for them and what they can and cant eat ect. Pluse my wife has our vet on speed dail lol. She loves and hates us.Also ppl don't be scared to ask your vet any question; When it comes to the animals you love the only dumb question is an un-asked one.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Pet Utopia - You are quite right - and so many common things in our lives can be so dangerous for our pets. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

    • Pet Utopia profile image

      Pet Utopia 

      7 years ago

      Great and imforative hub.I geuss most ppl don't think about the hazards around when you have pets of any-kind until its to late.This hub gave to keep something in my mind.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks Prasetio - I totally agree with you - if only the world was smokeless but unfortunately won't probably ever happen....but whatever we can do to help! Thanks for the vote, my friend!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 

      7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Audrey, this is very inspiring hub and filled with useful information. I hope this hub give us an inspiration to stop smoking. This habit isn't good for us as human, even for animal and plant also. Thanks for writing this and share with us. I give you full of support and my vote always for you. Cheers...

      Blessing and hugs,

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Yes, Om - crack cocaine is okay for dogs...YIKES~ We don't want to give people the impression that we should be encouraging our pets' habits~ Thanks for the vote!!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      7 years ago

      What about crack? It's okay for dogs, right? hehehe.... Sorry for my frivolity. Well-done, Audrey. Voted up and useful. :)

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Truckstop Sally - I really didn't know the facts either until I did the research for my son - I was horrified! Especially since my little Gabby runs by everything and anything and grabs it up into her mouth. Thanks so much for the read and glad it's good info for you, too.

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      7 years ago

      I did not know about these dangers to dogs. My little one is always poking into things on our walks. I will be even more diligent now. Thanks!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Casshd - It is true - a horribly awful habit to kick - I did it many decades ago and have never been sorry - just one more thing I don't have to worry about! It is sad though that so many smokers don't realize the hidden dangers of the butts to their kids and to their pets so hopefully this is one baby step towards getting the word out! As I say, I simply looked this up to have the correct info to give to my son who still smokes and I was triply horrified!

    • casshd profile image

      casshd 

      7 years ago from Hemel Hempstead, UK

      My last dog Tippy loved the smell of cigarettes and would cosy up to anyone smoking. We told her it wasn't good for her but she loved it and just couldn't quit.

      Thanks for informative hub. Hopefully that will make smokers think twice before lighting up and poisoning their pets!

      (p.s. I am an ex-smoker so that is slightly tongue in cheek as I know how hard it is to give up, but thinking about the impact it has on your kids and pets is quite motivating).

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      BJ - I told mine that they couldn't smoke - period. It's just that simple...light up and you're outta here. I actually wrote this for my son who is visiting for the time being and who smokes! He thought I was joking about the dangers of "a few cigarette butts". If you see a hub on what happened to my poor dogs because of it, call 911 as he may be in bigga trouble~!

      Gordon - I think my son feels the same way - I actually wrote this to try to give him a few scientific facts. I have a puppy especially and a 2-year-old who still thinks he's a puppy. My Pat has dropped a few butts here and there and even his PACK one day by accident because of his lack of sight but still! I'm just glad to pass on the info - no harm no foul if we didn't know - but now that we know - we should just all be careful. I have the biggest trouble with folks who throw their butts on the sidewalk~!

      Truthfornow - Thanks so much for the read and the vote!! I take my dogs and their health very seriously because they are with us such a short time I guess.

      Jami - I've seen that too on different shows and youtube especially - the smoking dogs. I gotta think WHAT? Oh well, I think it's okay for some but I guess I'm putting my foot down where MY dogs are concerned~ Griffin is highly allergic anyway and I don't think he could inhale! Too funny!

    • profile image

      jami l. pereira 

      7 years ago

      I know a yorkie that smokes a cigarette and drinks a dr.pepper every morning , from what i understand she has done it since she was a puppy ,and she is 18 years old , (no , she isn't my dog) ,i do know butts are poisonous to pets and children , because of the nicotine and in menthol cigarettes , the fiberglass content of the filter as well , this was a great hub! very informative and useful , voted up as such !:)

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 

      7 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I never really thought about the things your Hub mentions about the butts being a danger to dogs. I bet a lot are poisoned by ingesting them. I hope everyone reads this and takes care of their dogs. I voted this up.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image

      Gordon Hamilton 

      7 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Wow - this Hub has really got me thinking. I regret to say that I am a pretty heavy smoker, though have for a number of years always gone outside to smoke. It's funny that I have never thought about the effect my smoking would have on the many dogs I've had over the years. I have generally thought of dogs as having a natural aversion to smoke or nicotine - bar one German Shepherd I had who was obsessed with it and used to get as close to a lighted cigarette as possible (honestly!)

      Thanks for a very welcome wake up and I know for certain that I will now always watch for the nicotine danger to my dogs.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      If your dog likes to smoke,

      Stop him now and that's no joke.

      If regular or menthol is what he chooses,

      Audrey says nicotine is poison to pooches.

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