NAPLES, Fla.- Like most dog owners, Behlin Jones takes great care to keep her 15-year-old dog, Pancho Villa, safe.
“He’s like your child,” Jones said, “you’re responsible for it.”
Now dog and cat owners have a new responsibility, keeping them away from e-cigarettes. The Pet Poison Helpline says in the past two years, the amount of e-cigarette pet poisonings jumped 400 percent.
“It’s a very real potential danger to your pets,” said Dr. Randy Eisel from the Animal Life Veterinary Center in Naples.
Eisel says the liquid refills for e-cigarettes have a high concentration of nicotine that can be lethal.
“Nicotine is very toxic to dogs and cats and children and humans. If you drink that much of that, you could have a serious problem,” Eisel said.
With e-cigarettes increasing in popularity, they’re more readily available for your pet to get access to it. Pets are also just as attracted to the flavors of the liquid nicotine as children are.
“They’re flavored like things that dogs would love: vanilla, chocolate, you name it,” Eisel said.
Eisel also says nicotine is very fast acting. If your pet is exposed, you’ll see vomiting within 30 minutes then diarrhea, tremors, seizures, heart palpitations, and even death. He warns owners to be extra vigilant to keep their pets safe.
“If you’re using the refillable ones, make sure you keep that material, that liquid on a high shelf somewhere where the dog can’t get to it,” Eisel said.