Nicotine Poisoning and Pets

January 26, 2017 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

Nicotine poisoning is a serious concern for pets, not only when nicotine is inhaled, but also when it’s ingested. How could your pet ingest nicotine? There are several ways, including eating cigarette or cigar butts, drinking nicotine refill liquid, chewing on nicotine refill canisters for electronic nicotine delivery devices, or chewing on the devices themselves.


Nicotine can be toxic even at small doses. Fatal doses in dogs and cats have been reported at 20 to 100 milligrams (mg). How much of a tobacco product would a dog or cat have to eat to reach a dose of 20 to 100 mg? One regular cigarette can contain 9 to 30 mg nicotine, while one cigar can contain 15 to 40 mg. A dog or a cat wouldn’t have to eat many cigarettes or cigars to get sick. Although seemingly harmless, cigarette butts left in ashtrays at home or tossed outside also pose a danger because they contain 5 to 7 mg of nicotine.


Signs of nicotine poisoning in pets include:

  • vomiting
  • unsteadiness
  • drooling
  • tiredness
  • fast heart rate
  • shaking
  • weakness
  • seizures
  • death


If your pet eats a cigarette, more than one cigarette butt, a cigar, chewing tobacco, a nicotine refill capsule, or liquid refilling solution, it’s an emergency! There is no antidote for nicotine poisoning.

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