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Is Vaping Around Dogs Bad? Vet-Approved Facts & Safety Advice

Jessica Kim

By Jessica Kim

Pretty young hipster woman in black hat vape ecig, vaping device at the sunse

Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Vaping has grown in popularity within the past decade, and there are over 460 different types of e-cigarette brands today.1 While much research has been done on the effects of traditional cigarettes, there’s still much to discover about the long-term effects of vaping. Vaping around dogs has many risks and is considered detrimental to their health. Dogs inhale harmful chemicals through second hand vape smoke, and the vape device itself is a serious danger if a dog ingests it.

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What Are Vaping Devices?

Vaping devices and e-cigarettes come in several different forms. Some look like traditional cigarettes, while others can look like pens or USB drives. Vaping devices can either be disposable or reusable with replacement cartridges.

Most vaping devices consist of a cartridge, power source, heating element, and mouthpiece. The cartridge holds a liquid solution, also known as e-liquid or e-juice. This liquid contains a formula of different chemicals, including nicotine and flavorings. This liquid is heated with an atomizer, which is then inhaled through the device’s mouthpiece.

There’s a wide variety of e-liquids that consist of their own unique formulas. Some e-liquids can contain nicotine, while others can have CBD or THC in them. E-liquids also tend to have some amounts of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, which work to simulate traditional cigarette smoke.

Man holding vape in one hand cigarettes in the other
Image Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

How Vaping Around Dogs Can Be Bad for Them

Research still has to be done to provide conclusive results on how vaping affects dogs. Nonetheless, research on other animals can be used to shed some insight into the dangers of vaping near a dog.

In experiments on mice, it was demonstrated that vaping affects the respiratory system in undesirable ways, similar to how smoking would impact the system 2. Mice do serve as a very good animal model for understanding the risks of vaping near one’s pet dog (or other mammalian pets). This is due to the fact that functionally, the respiratory system of a mouse and dog are similar.

Most health professionals rightfully advise caution and discourage the use of vapes around dogs and other pets. Essentially, the second-hand smoke from vaping can cause them to inhale toxic substances, like nicotine.

While it’s rare (but definitely documented) for dogs to experience nicotine toxicity through inhalation, breathing in the smoke can still be detrimental to their health. Consistently inhaling vape smoke may lead to airway irritation and damage, as it can contain harmful chemicals like diacetyl, formaldehyde, and acrolein. Prolonged exposure can definitely lead to undesired effects on the lungs as well. Therefore, even nicotine-free e-liquids can be harmful to dogs because they can still cause respiratory issues and contain ingredients that negatively impact their breathing. Chemicals from vape smoke can also end up in a pet’s fur and be ingested via grooming.

man petting his dog at home
Image Credit: Prostock-studio, Shutterstock

What to Do If Your Dog Eats a Vaping Device or Cartridge

Because e-liquids often contain artificial flavors, it’s not uncommon for dogs to get curious and try to eat vaping devices and cartridges. This can be extremely dangerous for dogs because they’re consuming a high concentration of potentially harmful chemicals. It’s very possible for them to experience nicotine poisoning from swallowing a vape cartridge. The cartridge itself can also cause problems such as choking or intestinal obstructions.

What your dog experiences will vary depending on their size, age, and how much nicotine they consumed. Smaller amounts of nicotine can cause an upset stomach, agitation, excessive drooling, or excitement. Larger doses can lead to seizures, difficulty walking, and elevated heart rate. In severe cases, nicotine poisoning can result in death.

Regardless, if your dog has eaten a vape cartridge, it’s important to contact your veterinarian or an animal poison control hotline right away. The signs of nicotine poisoning begin within 15-50 minutes of ingestion, so immediate veterinary care is imperative. Keep in mind that you should not induce vomiting at home, as this can cause further serious complications for your dog. Your veterinarian will have the proper medication and methods to induce vomiting safely if appropriate.

It’s likely that your dog will be hospitalized so that their condition can be monitored. Your veterinarian may also look to see if the vaping device or cartridge is a potential obstruction risk in your dog’s intestinal tract, or whether it can be passed naturally.

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Conclusion

Overall, it’s not recommended to vape around dogs. Vaping smoke can cause lung irritation and damage, and it often contains chemicals that aren’t safe for dogs to inhale. If you do keep vaping devices in your home, it’s important to store them in secure places that your dog can’t get into. If there’s ever an instance where your dog does swallow a vaping device or cartridge, make sure to contact your veterinarian right away so that your dog can receive immediate treatment and potentially avoid experiencing chemical poisoning.

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Featured Image Credit: Aliaksandr Barouski, Shutterstock

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