Although vaping is a much less harmful alternative to smoking, it can still pose risks that we often don’t even think about. When we are vaping around pets, E Liquids, cords, batteries, and devices can become hazardous if we’re not careful. Although we often take steps to protect our children from vaping products, the following safety precautions will help to also ensure that our beloved furry family members remain healthy.
Second Hand Vapor and Pets
More research necessary for us to understand the long-term health effects of second-hand vapor. Preliminary results indicate that it is much safer than second-hand smoke. However, vapor still contains traces of nicotine, and efforts should be made to vape in well-ventilated spaces. Pets tend to clean themselves with their tongue, and it is possible that your pets may ingest traces of nicotine that were deposited on their fur after being exposed to vape clouds.
Pets and Vaping Devices Left Unattended
Dangling Power Cords
Vaping devices use rechargeable batteries that we have to charge from time to time. Some devices have built-in batteries and utilize a micro-USB cable that connects the device to a USB port or a wall socket. Often, the cable dangles low enough to the ground for your pet to have access to it. Dogs and cats look at this cable as a toy to play with and chew on. This poses a risk for your pet in getting an electrical shock or potentially getting access to the vaping device by pulling it down to the ground by tugging on the cable.
We suggest keeping the entire cable well above the reach of your pets and utilizing a wall socket located behind furniture or above the counter that your pet cannot reach. This will help ensure your power cord and the device is not chewed and your pet doesn’t get shocked.
A Vape Pen Chew Toy
How many times have we caught our pets chewing on something they shouldn’t be? It happens all the time, especially when they are young and teething. That’s why it’s extremely important not to leave devices laying unattended that are within their reach. Many devices, such as the JUUL are small and contain plastic materials. Finding a device like this laying around may be too difficult for your pet to ignore. This can cause potential health hazards such as ingesting sharp pieces of plastic, batteries, and even the possibility of nicotine poisoning from a cracked pod or tank. Make sure to place these devices in locations well out of their reach.
Ingesting Loose Batteries
Leaving 18650 batteries within reach of your pets poses similar risks. Many batteries are relatively small and pets can easily swallow them. In most cases of accidental ingestion, symptoms usually appear within an hour. Symptoms can include vomiting and drooling. If the animal punctures the battery and then swallows it, burns can result in the mouth, esophagus, and stomach in the form of ulcers. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the battery from the stomach.
Pets and Nicotine
Accidental ingestion of nicotine-based vape juice is the most serious threat to your pet’s safety. In 2014, Ivy, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, became the first dog in Britain to die from ingesting nicotine-based eLiquid. This is a preventable tragedy.
The nicotine-delivering devices are becoming a more significant threat to pets. While dogs account for the majority of cases, nicotine in the e-cigarettes and liquid refill solution is toxic to cats as well.Veterinarian Brian Faulkner
Vape Juice is available in thousands of flavors, and some flavors such as candy, honey, coffee, and chocolate emit aromas that your pet will find delicious. It is extremely important to keep vape juice bottles tightly closed and out of reach of dogs and cats.
There are also some other things a Vaper should do to ensure that a pet never ingests nicotine:
- Never place vape juice bottles in locations that, if bumped into, will fall to the ground.
- When adding vape juice to a device, always wipe up stray drips and spills from the ground or table. Pets will easily find these drops of eLiquid using their sensitive noses, so it is important to ensure every drop is cleaned up.
Nicotine Poisoning Symptoms in Pets
Nicotine is poisonous to cats and dogs. If accidentally ingested, symptoms can appear in as little as 15 minutes to one hour. Here are some signs that a pet has ingested nicotine.
- Elevated in heart rate
- Elevated respiration
- Cardiac arrest
If you believe your pet has ingested nicotine, call your veterinarian immediately or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680.
Always be Vigilant When Vaping Around Pets
We love our pets and we treat them just like a family member. It is important to understand that pets may not be able to discern what is potentially dangerous to them or not. In many ways, they are just like toddlers. Pet-proofing your home can easily be accomplished when we are vaping around pets. Vigilance about keeping your vaping paraphernalia out of reach will help to ensure a safe environment for your dogs and cats.