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Are E-Cigarettes Dangerous to Dogs?

Learn about e-cigarettes and nicotine poisoning in dogs.

Electronic cigarettes (E-cigarettes) are becoming a popular alternative for people who smoke. They can decrease a person's exposure to other harmful agents in cigarettes by providing mostly nicotine alone.

However, with the rise in use of e-cigarettes by people, there has been a similar rise in their involvement in poisonings of pets.

What Are E-Cigarettes?

An e-cigarette is a small device that works on batteries. Its job is to convert liquid nicotine to a vapor, which a person can inhale. It does this by heating the liquid. E-cigarettes are often sold as a way to help a person cut down on or stop smoking. Some e-cigarettes have a cartridge that can be refilled with liquid nicotine.

How Are E-Cigarettes Dangerous to Dogs?

Dogs that chew on an e-cigarette can be exposed to and ingest a toxic level of the liquid nicotine inside. The nicotine can be absorbed through the skin and mucous membranes inside the dog's mouth too.

If a dog chews on an e-cigarette, he can also get oral burns from puncturing the battery inside.

Puppies might be most prone to finding e-cigarettes enticing and wanting to chew on them, but all dogs are at risk. Versions of the liquid nicotine that also contain other flavors and scents might draw a dog's attention even more.

Signs of Nicotine Poisoning in Dogs

Whether a dog eats an e-cigarette, regular cigarettes, tobacco, or a nicotine patch or gum, the signs of nicotine toxicity they display can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Agitation
  • High heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Death

Absorption of nicotine into a dog's bloodstream after he's exposed to it happens quickly, so signs usually develop soon after the ingestion.

Nicotine gum may also contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs on its own, so an attending veterinarian needs to be aware that a double poisoning has occurred.

Treatment of Nicotine Poisoning in Dogs

If a dog ingests a toxic amount of nicotine, he will need intensive monitoring of his vital signs in a veterinary hospital. Intravenous fluids are given along with medications to help lower heart rate and blood pressure and control tremors if needed.

Always keep all forms of nicotine, including e-cigarettes, out of reach of your dog (and children).


If you think your dog might have been exposed to nicotine, it is an emergency situation. Get your dog to a vet immediately or call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661.

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