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Is It OK to Vape Around Your Dog?

Here's how e-cigarettes impact your pup.

by Jill L. Ferguson
Updated September 14, 2016
Black and gray miniature schnauzer dog against a dark gray background of vapors from an e-cigarette
Ekaterina Gorokhova / iStock

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It's well-established that cigarette smoke is bad for dogs (and humans) but is vaping any better? According to Ahna Brutlag, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Pet Poison Helpline, e-cigarettes (aka, vape pens) pose a significant threat to dogs. Not only are the ingredients dangerous, but the casing and e-juice containers can injure your dog’s mouth.

“We’ve handled cases for pets poisoned by eating traditional cigarettes or tobacco products containing nicotine for many years, but as the use of e-cigarettes has become more widespread, our call volume for cases involving them has increased considerably,” says Dr. Brutlag. E-cigarettes vaporize a liquid mix of glycerin, propylene glycol, nicotine, and flavorings; in states where marijuana is legal, THC may be among the ingredients. The liquid, often called e-juice, comes in flavors such as cinnamon and cotton candy — and dogs are attracted to the sweetness.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center includes cigarettes and nicotine on its list of poisonous household products and warns that e-juice used to recharge device cartridges contains enough nicotine to kill a dog. Symptoms of nicotine poisoning include severe vomiting, depression, an elevated heart rate, decrease in blood pressure, seizures, and respiratory failure. Depending on the dog’s weight and metabolism, symptoms can occur between 15 and 60 minutes after ingestion.

If you suspect that your dog has consumed these or other poisonous substances, call your vet, local animal hospital, or pet poison hotline immediately. “Home care is generally not possible with nicotine exposure due to the severity of poisoning, even in small doses,” notes Dr. Brutlag. To play it safe, always keep your devices and refill containers out of your pup's reach.

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Jill L. Ferguson

Jill L. Ferguson is an award-winning writer, editor, and copywriter whos work has appeared in Architectural Digest, The Washington Post, Sierra Club Magazine, and Parents.