E-Cigarettes, vape pens, and other smoking devices also called ESDs have been around for a couple of years, and apparently, it‘s safer than smoking cigarettes. But is it safe enough to vape around your dog?
When you vape, you inhale an aerosolized liquid called “e-juice” that makes you feel like you’re smoking. We’ve also all heard that the nicotine content in E-Cigarettes is quite low, and that vaping is less harmful to your overall health. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, there are fewer carcinogenic substances in vape pens than in cigarettes, which makes them somewhat safer.
“There’s almost no doubt that vaping exposes you to fewer toxic chemicals than smoking traditional cigarettes,” – say the experts at JHM.
Before we get deeper into the article, let‘s address the elephant in the room. Vaping might be slightly less harmful to you than cigarettes, but it is full of dangerous chemicals and can still negatively affect your health! Now, what about your pets, specifically dogs? Given that vaping is harmful to humans, is it even safe to vape around your dog?
The dangers of nicotine exposure – Should you vape around your dog?
Many pet owners use vapes or E-Cigarettes, so the obvious question to ask is if they are not only harming their health but also the health of their pets. If you pay closer attention to the packaging of these devices you will see that they clearly state: “Keep away from children and pets”.
This warning makes sense, given that the liquids that go into E-Cigarettes and other vape pens contain nicotine which can be extremely dangerous to children and dogs. A couple of years ago The Huffington Post published an article titled “Dog dies after eating electronic cigarette capsule“. Even though it sounds like clickbait, it sadly isn‘t.
A dog owner named Keith Sutton learned the hard way how dangerous vapes are. Sutton lost his 14-week-old puppy, Ivy, after the dog ate an electronic cigarette cartridge. This tragic event only proves how harmful nicotine is to dogs. But what about vape smoke and second-hand smoking?
Vape pens and second-hand smoking
When it comes to second-hand smoke we already know that it is just as bad as actively smoking cigarettes. According to the CDC “exposure to secondhand smoke has immediate harmful effects on the heart and blood vessels and can cause coronary heart disease and stroke.”
This does not only apply to second-hand cigarette smoke, but to the smoke of various vape pens as well. Despite being slightly less toxic than cigarettes, vape smoke still contains numerous toxins and is not just water vapor as many people believe. The toxins produced after smoking e-cigarettes include nicotine, hydrocarbons, and aluminum. So, the effect of vape smoke on your dog can be significant.
In fact, back in 2016, the World Health Organization announced that second-hand aerosols from e-cigarettes are a source of dangerous air quality for people and pets. Your pet is more likely to get respiratory problems, so heart problems, and cancers of the lungs, sinuses, and nasal cavities if it breathes in those toxins.
Other effects of vape smoke on pets
Besides these severe effects, there are other, less dangerous effects of vape smoke on pets. Those effects include:
- excessive drooling,
- excessive pulse and heartbeat,
- mood change,
- sudden aggressiveness,
Recap – The two dangers of vape pens
Before we go on to discuss all the signs of poisoning by vape smoke in dogs and important safety tips, let‘s recap the previous sections of this article.
Having and smoking various types of vape pens around your dog is a terrible idea. There are two immediate dangers that vapes pose to dogs, and pets in general:
- eating the vape pens and vape liquid – the nicotine irritates the central nervous system and makes it hard for the dog to breathe. Without help and treatment right away, this can be fatal.
- inhaling chemicals from vape smoke – secondhand aerosols contain many toxins that can cause serious health issues like heart problems, lung diseases, and various types of cancer.
The biggest concern here is not only the nicotine. Carcinogens in the aerosol include nitrosamines, formaldehyde, cadmium, lead, and nickel. Which can all be potentially dangerous. What‘s even worse is when an ESD heats propylene glycol, which is a common ingredient in vaping liquid, it forms propylene oxide, a known carcinogen. So you are endangering your dog‘s health in multiple ways.
Signs of poisoning
We trust that you are a responsible dog owner and believe that you would never intentionally harm your dog. But, sometimes it takes just one moment for disasters to happen, just think of Keith Sutton and his poor puppy. Because of that, you should be aware of all the signs of nicotine poisoning in dogs.
If you suspect that your dog has nicotine poisoning, firstly examine your dog’s gums and tongue carefully. Seek emergency veterinarian assistance if the gums or tongue become fully or partially blue, purple, white, brick-colored, or excessively brilliant red.
Other signs of poisoning include:
- higher pulse rate,
- high temperature,
- discolored urine
- blood in stool,
- sudden loss of appetite.
Now that you know what the signs of poisoning include, you should know what to do if your dog drinks some of your vape liquid or is exposed to vape smoke. Basically, here‘s what your first step in the case of nicotine poisoning should be.
Home care is never an option
The first step you take should always be to call the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680. If you don‘t want to contact the Pet Poison Helpline, then immediately contact an emergency vet and take your dog to the nearest hospital possible! Please know that due to how dangerous nicotine poisoning is (even in small doses), home care is usually never an option.
Another case where you might want to take your dog to the vet is if your dog gets high (it does happen!), then you might want to check out our article “How to get a dog unstoned: “Help, my dog is high!””
Important safety tips to remember before you vape around your dog
As a responsible pet owner, you should know what risks vaping poses to your pet, but you should also know how to store your nicotine-containing vape liquids properly. To make it a bit easier for you, I put together a list of precautions you should follow to keep your pet safe.
Keep your pet safe by doing the following:
- Never leave a vape container or pen where your dog can find it, even if it‘s empty. The reason for this is that even the vape pen itself is made from materials that are dangerous to your pet. In addition to that, the residual nicotine can also be toxic.
- Keep your vape liquids in a safe, strong container with a tight lid.
- If you refill your vape container over a piece of paper or a rag to avoid spills and stains, throw away the paper or rag right away or put it somewhere your pet can’t get to.
- If you smoke inside when your dog is not around, please buy a good air purifier. Keep your dog‘s environment safe.
- Don’t vape over your dog‘s food and water bowls, liquid nicotine can land on a pet’s food and be quickly absorbed.