Vaping uses an electronic cigarette that allows you to vaporize a flavored e-liquid, nicotine or not.
The vapor would contain fewer toxic substances than cigarette smoke, and vaping would therefore be less harmful than smoking.
But for vapers who own a dog, is this practice really safe for the health of their canine or feline companion?
Beware of nicotine poisoning!
In Great Britain, in June 2016, an approximately 3 month old female Staffordshire Bull Terrier succumbed to nicotine poisoning. The dog allegedly nibbled on an e-liquid for an e-cigarette lying on a table.
Quickly she vomited, her tongue and lips turning blue. These are the first signs of nicotine poisoning. The animal was rushed to the vet. However, the steroid treatment was not effective, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier unfortunately died the next day.
The e-liquid of an electronic cigarette is made up of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and aromas. These ingredients are harmless to the dog who, curiously enough, may be attracted to the subtle scent of the liquid.
While in the case of cats, these are very sensitive to propylene glycol which can cause anemia. Another ingredient can complete the formula of the e-liquid: nicotine. Nicotine is clearly a danger to dogs and even to humans.
Ingested in high doses, it can induce intoxication, which without prompt treatment can be fatal. In humans, the lethal dose is estimated to be between 0.5 and 1 mg / kg. In dogs, it is necessarily less important, tolerance to this molecule decreasing with size.
Nicotine poisoning: symptoms and management
At low doses, nicotine poisoning is accompanied by digestive disturbances which develop within an hour of ingestion. These include vomiting, increased salivation and diarrhea.
At this point, the prognosis for life is not engaged. If a large dose is swallowed, nervous signs such as convulsion, restlessness and prostration may occur. The dog may also present with cardiovascular problems such as increased heart rate and low blood pressure.
Nicotine poisoning can also be associated with lung damage. Without prompt treatment, the animal can fall into a coma and die.
If you suspect nicotine poisoning in your dog, go to the vet immediately. Avoid making your dog vomit. Above all, do not give her milk as this may make the situation worse.
What about the vapor from the e-cigarette?
Dogs and cats are also victims of the harmful effects of passive smoking. Inhaled smoke can cause breathing problems. They can also absorb toxins that are deposited on their coat by licking themselves. But what about the effects of vaping on dogs, and more specifically exhaled vapor?
To date, no study has yet determined the consequences it can have on the health of cats and dogs. But for the moment, we can safely say that it is less toxic, because it is less loaded with toxic substances than the smoke of combustible cigarettes.
It also dissipates much faster. However, it is not advisable to exhale the vapor directly on your dog.
Hot, cigarette vapor can also inconvenience cats, birds and other pets, especially small ones.
Some precautions for vaping that won’t annoy your dog
To avoid nicotine poisoning in your dog, here are 4 tips:
- Place all vaping equipment – e-cigarettes and various bottles – out of reach, in a tightly closed container.
- If you make your e-liquid, pay attention to the material you use including disposable accessories like gloves or paper towel.
- Dispose of used containers in a tightly closed garbage can to prevent your dog or cat from accessing them.
- When you vape, do so in a well-ventilated area to prevent vapor from building up. Alternatively, use an air purifier to reduce the amount of nicotine in the air.
Loving and educating your dog also means protecting him against the vagaries of life. That is why I strongly recommend that you take out dog health insurance as soon as possible. This will save you astronomical veterinary fees in the event of an accident or illness.
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