Dogs are curious about everything in their environment and find the strangest things to eat sometimes! Some dogs even go after cigarettes! But can cigarettes make a dog sick?
Has your dog eaten cigarettes? Are you worried the cigarettes will make your dog sick? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We understand it can be scary when your dog eats something like this.
We’ve put together information about cigarettes and whether they can make a dog sick. Let’s get started!
What are Cigarettes?
Most of us know what cigarettes are. We see them in old movies and see people smoking them when we’re out and about. Cigarettes are made of tobacco, chemical additives, a filter, and wrapped in paper.
When some people smoke cigarettes, they may throw the cigarette butt away. Then your dog can come along and eat the cigarettes! But can cigarettes make a dog sick?
Cigarettes & Dogs
Unfortunately, cigarettes are very dangerous for dogs. They contain many harmful ingredients but the most harmful ingredient is nicotine.
Nicotine is a naturally occurring insecticide. Tobacco plants make this chemical to protect themselves from insects. When insects eat nicotine, they develop paralysis and severe neurological problems, then quickly die.
Nicotine is very harmful to humans and dogs, too. The chemical can produce neurological symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, excessive salivation, sweating, dizziness, and increased heart rate. Nicotine is quickly absorbed by the digestive system and can cause problems within 1 to 4 hours of ingestion.
As small a dose as 1 mg of nicotine per kilogram of the dog’s body weight is enough to cause a dog to become seriously ill. A lethal dose is about 9.2 mg per kilogram of body weight.
Symptoms of Nicotine Poisoning in Dogs
You may notice these symptoms in your dog if he’s eaten cigarettes:
- Rapid or abnormal heart rate
- Incoordination or clumsiness that’s not normal
- Muscle tremors
- Excessive drooling
- Constricted pupils
- Excitement or hyperactivity
If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, call the vet immediately. Don’t wait to see if your dog’s symptoms improve or worsen. He needs to see the vet now.
Treatment for Cigarette Ingestion in Dogs
Treatment depends on the size and health of your dog, the amount of tobacco he’s eaten and the symptoms he has.
In some cases where the symptoms aren’t severe, the vet may recommend leaving your dog at the office to be monitored for a few hours. The dog will monitor your dog’s vital signs and symptoms.
However, if your canine companion has a severe case of poisoning, the vet may induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal. These work to remove the toxin from the dog’s body. In addition, the vet may need to give your dog an IV with fluids and administer medications as needed. They will also treat other symptoms as they arise.
The good news is that most dogs will survive eating tobacco if they receive prompt medical care. And if your dog loves to eat cigarettes, it’s best to keep cigarette butts cleaned up. When walking your dog, be sure to keep him on the leash at all times and watch to ensure he doesn’t eat anything off the ground.
Prevention is always the best medicine!