Doggies are fun and playful companions most of the time, but unfortunately, these curious friends of ours sometimes cause mischief.
Whether it’s climbing onto an unattended table and eating leftover dinner scraps or ripping through a bag of candy, it’s normal for pet parents to be concerned after their doggie gets into something they shouldn’t.
However, after the majority of these outbursts of misbehaviour, your pet will be fine.
My dog ate a pack of cigarettes, what should you do? If your dog has eaten a pack of cigarettes it will almost certainly kill your dog if you do not seek medical attention as soon as possible for them. If your dog has eaten just one cigarette, it won’t be as deadly, but nicotine poisoning in dogs should always warrant a visit to a veterinarian.
Some human items, however, are dangerous, toxic, or even fatal to dogs. One of these unfortunate items is a cigarette. And if you leave a whole pack on the floor and your dog is curious enough, you might soon discover that your doggie has devoured not one but the entire pack.
Frantically, you type “my dog ate a pack of cigarettes” into your search engine, praying for answers.
Will eating a pack of cigarettes hurt my dog?
Our intent is not to scare or alarm you, but eating a pack of cigarettes will almost certainly kill your dog if you do not seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Nicotine is extremely toxic to dogs, and it only takes 1/2 to 1 milligram of nicotine per pound of body weight for your pet to die of nicotine poisoning.
Now, if your dog is fairly large they will most likely not die from eating just one or two cigarettes, but they will still become very sick, so it’s absolutely crucial that you take action no matter what size your doggie is or how much they ate.
Since we’re talking specifically about pets that eat an entire pack, it’s extremely unlikely that even the largest dogs will survive that kind of poisoning without an emergency trip to the veterinarian.
What Do I Do If My Dog Ate a Pack of Cigarettes?
Here are some easy to follow steps that may help if your dog has eaten a cigarette or pack of cigarettes.
How long ago did your dog eat the cigarettes? Did you catch them in the act or discover an empty, chewed up pack that could have been hours later?
If your doggie has just ingested the tobacco you should immediately administer them a dose of hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. It’s likely that very little of the nicotine has been absorbed at this point and you’ll probably find cigarette remnants in your pet’s vomit. Gross as it is, this is a good sign because everything that was expelled through vomiting was not digested.
If you are unsure of how long ago your dog ate the cigarettes, it’s a good idea to administer hydrogen peroxide just in case— you might not find much but whatever has not yet been digested will be expelled.
Go to the vet
As soon as you have given the dog the hydrogen peroxide you need to immediately make a trip to the vet and let them know that it’s an emergency.
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Even if your doggie has just eaten the cigarettes when you induced vomiting and you’re reasonably certain they did not absorb any toxins, it is still crucial that you take them to see a veterinarian.
Remember, the toxic dose of nicotine in dogs is very low and you do not want to take any risks!
The first thing you will likely need to tell the vet is how much your doggie ate, at what time they ate the cigarettes, and what type they were. For that reason, it might be necessary to bring the box (if that isn’t also completely destroyed) so that the vet can check its nicotine contents.
Even if you aren’t able to determine exactly how much your doggie ate or when they ate them, use your best judgment to make an educated guess. Estimates are still better than nothing— just make sure the vet knows it’s an estimate.
What to Expect at the Vet
Your veterinarian will take quick measures to detoxify your pet. This will most likely require an overnight stay at the hospital as the vet will need to give your dog activated charcoal and provide liquids via IV to help your pet’s body break down and rid itself of the nicotine.
During this time, your doggie may vomit one or several more times. This is a good thing and means that his body is expelling the harmful toxins. If they don’t vomit, the nicotine is probably still being broken down by the liver.
How to Prevent Dog Eating a Pack of Cigarettes?
Luckily for you, prevention is easy, so there’s no reason this situation ever has to happen again. First, you’ll want to consider where you left the cigarettes and make sure you don’t leave them there again. Setting the cigarettes on your floor is an obvious hazard, even if they’re in a closet or a pile of other items.
To make absolutely sure your dog can’t get into them, you should place them high up in a place where your doggie cannot see or reach, preferably a cupboard.
Doggies are a lot smarter than we often give them credit for, and simply setting the cigarettes on a coffee table or even a kitchen table does not guarantee that your dog won’t find a way to climb up there.
Don’t Forget About ACTUAL Training
While treats and toys may help to entertain and stimulate your doggie, they do not replace training.
Just like we need to enrich our “human puppies” (a.k.a. children), we need to dedicate time to help our dog’s brains develop. It can’t just be entertainment and treats 24/7!
It’s sort of akin to placing a child in front of a T.V. and expecting to improve their overall behaviour and well-being.
Dog’s brains, and especially puppy’s brains, are like ours, their soft and malleable.
This means they are always capable of moulding and changing to learn new habits and behaviours. I’m assuming there’s at least one thing you wish your puppy or doggie would do differently (ok, let’s be honest, about 10 things!).
And with recent advances in neuroscience, we’re understanding that age really doesn’t matter for making changes in the brain. So in case you do, stop saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”!
And training your dog isn’t just about getting them to shake a paw or sit when you ask them to. It should be about making them more intelligent. A more intelligent dog will:
- be better behaved
- be more obedient
- learn new skills faster
- have a stronger bond
- have an increase in overall well-being
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There you go—a hopefully comprehensive answer to the concern “my dog ate a pack of cigarettes.” While following the steps above is not an absolute guarantee that your doggie will survive the ordeal, adhering to our tips will give your doggie the best possible chance of survival.
After you bring your doggie home and promise yourself you’ll never leave another cigarette in their sight, however, there are still a couple of things to look out for.
Even after successful treatment, your pet may have an irritated stomach for days or even weeks to come.
This is not a sign of lingering toxicity. In addition to nicotine, your doggie swallowed thousands of other harmful materials in the form of a cigarette, and these materials are not easy on one’s stomach.
You might be tempted to take them back for repeated vet visits. In the beginning, this is not necessary. Your pet will feel better with time, but you need to allow them that time to fully recover.