Vaping Around Pets: Okay or No Way?

A close-up of a sleeping dog.

Traditional cigarette smoking has somewhat fallen out of fashion, but the use of nicotine is still growing strong. Vape pens are considered a good alternative to cigarettes, but the liquid inside them is far from chemical-free. In fact, vaping around pets can be incredibly hazardous to animal health and safety. 

Facing the Facts

The primary risk to pets is related to inhaling the vapor. However, vape pens left out or on the floor can be irresistible to a curious pet. The ingestion of parts of the pen, especially the cartridge that houses the vaping chemicals, is a secondary threat to animal welfare.

Another Turn

Initially, vaping products were initially promoted as a great way to stop smoking, or to get a nicotine dose without having to go outside. However, vape products have been proven to cause harm to people and pets. 

Vape pens involve inhaling an aerosol, sometimes referred to as “e-juice.” In addition to nicotine, vape pens commonly contain formaldehyde, propylene glycol, and glycerin. Some vape pens may also have THC, the active compound in marijuana. Typically, vape pens have a fruity or otherwise appealing fragrance that easily attracts the interest of animals.

Real Risks

The toxins produced by vape pens may include aluminum, hydrocarbons, and, of course, nicotine. Second-hand inhalation of vaping pens can cause respiratory distress, but long-term exposure can cause cancer of the lungs, sinuses, and nasal passages. 

Additionally, if a pet chews on or eats a vape pen, they may be at risk of serious poisoning. Nicotine can affect a pet’s central nervous system and without prompt treatment, symptoms can be fatal. What’s more, ingestion of these types of products can lead to choking or obstruction.

Taking Stock

It is important to note that when vaping around pets, they may not appear to be bothered by the vapor. This does not mean that continued vaping near them should be allowed. But if droplets land on their fur, they can inadvertently ingest chemicals during grooming

Please seek emergency veterinary care if you notice the following symptoms of toxicity:

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Mobility changes or difficulties
  • Excessive salivation
  • Agitation or nervousness
  • Tremors or seizures

Vaping Around Pets

If you or someone you know cannot kick the habit of vaping, be sure that the following considerations are followed every day:

  • Consistent storage of vaping products off the floor and behind closed doors
  • Vape outside only, or only inside a room your pet cannot access
  • Never allow someone to vape next to or near your pet
  • Be sure that trash is secured
  • When you have rechargeable pens connected to USB ports or a household charger, safely contain pets in a separate area

Vaping around pets may become more commonplace as people move further away from conventional smoking. However, because we know the risks associated with vaping around pets, we encourage all pet owners to take extra care.

If you ever have questions about your pet’s health, safety and behavior, please call our team at (615) 646-7387. We’re always here for you at Harpeth Hills Animal Hospital.