Vaping and Pets — Is Vaping Dangerous For Your Dog, Cat, or Any Other Pet?
If you’re a vaper and an animal lover, you’ve probably asked yourself numerous times: is vaping around pets dangerous?
And I’ll give it to you straight away — yes, using an e-juice vape pen around cats, dogs, or birds is not safe.
[But if you have a fish, you’re golden — fish just don’t care.]
The fact that vaping around pets might be dangerous is even stated on your vape juice label:
“Keep out of reach of children and pets.”
But who reads fine print, right? I know I never do…
So in an effort to keep your beloved pooches, mew-mews, and tweety birds safe from harm — because the label doesn’t say how to do that! — I’ve written up this post about everything you need to know about pets and vaping.
We’re really going to go into detail here, covering stuff like:
·Why vaping around your pets (same as around your kids) is not a good idea;
·How to recognize if your pet is ill from vapor, vape juice ingestion, or nic poisoning;
·Why (and how) are some pets more sensitive to vaping aerosol than others;
·What you can do to protect your pet and make sure they’re safe when you’re vaping.
Ready to dive in?
Let’s get into it.
Why Vaping Too Much Around Your Pets is Not a Good Idea
Look, this might be a bit harsh, but I’ll say it — you wouldn’t vape around your kids, right?
And you wouldn’t vape around other people without their explicit consent, either.
Same with pets.
They can’t give consent, so you have to work around them when vaping.
Research about vaping around pets is somewhat limited, but we still know that vaping around pets can be harmful because they are much more sensitive to chemicals than adult humans.
You and I both know that vaping is a helluva lot safer than smoking… but to a cat that’s never lit up a cigarette, that doesn’t mean much.
And we’re not really sure where the science stands on this.
Some research suggests that vaping may have similar health effects as smoking for people with asthma or at risk of COPD. Pets — especially those with respiratory problems — will be similarly affected.
Additionally, your pets should not eat or drink anything in the same room as you vape. The aerosol does eventually end up on the floor, and you do not want your pet coming into contact with residual nicotine.
How Do I Know If My Pet is Sick from Vapor?
If you are afraid your pet has been exposed to nicotine, keep an eye out for these behaviors:
·Increased heart rate
Many liquids can also cause chemical or physical burns on hair/fur, skin, or eyes and be harmful if touched or ingested. Because of this, it’s important to remember the warning signs of burns in pets. These include:
·Pawing at the eyes
·Coughing or wheezing
·Sickness or vomiting
If your dog seems sick or lethargic for any reason after vaping, contact your veterinarian immediately.
There are two main reasons your pet can become ill from vaping. The first is by ingesting the vape juice or by inhaling the vapors. The juice can get into the animal’s nose and throat and cause them to vomit. The other problem is that the vapor can seep into the animal’s lungs and then cause inflammation, leading to breathing problems.
How Are Some Pets Vulnerable to Vaping?
We’ll take a look at several things here that are applicable to dogs, cats, and birds. [Again, not applicable to fish — just don’t go blowing bubbles into the tank].
The first thing we’ll look at as nicotine toxicity and how it applies to our furry little friends.
Nicotine Toxicity & Animals
While not all e-liquids contain nicotine, if you’re vaping to quit smoking, you’re definitely using a nic juice.
Nicotine is a stimulant, increasing heart rate and interfering with the functions of the nervous system. With their smaller bodies and naturally faster heart rates, pets are far more sensitive to the effects of nicotine. Any kind of nicotine-bearing product is dangerous to pets, but due to their highly concentrated doses of nicotine, e-liquid is especially dangerous.
For these reasons, it is best that your little fuzzy friend (cat, dog, or other pet) is never exposed to vapor containing nicotine. Even nicotine in low doses has been shown to have a toxic effect on animals.
And definitely don’t leave your vape juice bottles lying around — dogs will get into anything if they feel there’s a treat somewhere in there, and that’s the last thing you want happening.
Delicate Respiratory System
Cats, dogs, and most pets in general, have smaller lung capacities than humans and are more sensitive to inhaled irritants.
Their respiratory systems also have less-developed protective mechanisms compared to that of a human, leaving them more vulnerable to potential side effects. Pets also have faster breathing rates, which can cause them to inhale vapor at a faster rate if they are stressed.
Additionally, pets who suffer from chronic airway inflammation, asthma, or are genetically predisposed to respiratory illnesses, may be at increased risk of lung damage from vapor. Pets with allergies are also more likely to react negatively to vaping.
Sensitivity to Smells
If you are a cat or dog owner, you will know that your pet is much more reactive to smells and sounds than people are. That is because their senses are much more powerful, and they cannot ignore them.
Christopher Winship, Ph.D., of the UCSF School of Veterinary Medicine, said in one study on vaping and pets:
“I like to describe pets as possibly more sensitive than humans. In most cases, pets will be fine if they are in an area away from the vaping device, but for cats and dogs with asthma, the vapor might be an irritant. You should be mindful of the warning labels on your vape if they are allowed near your pet. Always keep an eye on your pet and use caution if the device is within reach.”
Although your pet may not notice the vaping action directly, the fumes from vaping can be harmful. Pets are susceptible to scents and odors, including flavorings that are found in vape juices.
A Note On Cats & Vaping
Cats in general are vulnerable to upper respiratory tract infections, and vaping can make them more likely to develop these illnesses. Cats also have excellent olfactory abilities and can smell chemicals in food, hair, clothing, and other things long after your own senses fail to pick them up. This means that your pet may still smell and be affected by the vapor clinging to you and your clothing even if you are vaping outside. Some cats may also become stressed from the effects of the vapor, leading to a decrease in their general wellness.
A Note On Birds & Vaping
Birds can be extremely sensitive to high-nicotine vape juices. Because of their small lungs, a little goes a long way for birds… and that little can put them in a vet hospital. If you own birds, NEVER vape nicotine vape juices around them. It’s just not something that you do.
A Note On Fish & Vaping
Fish don’t care — if they’re in a covered tank, vape away!
How Can You Protect Your Pets When Vaping?
While there is a lot of debate over vaping and pets, a lot of the research that promotes keeping pets away from vape smoke is compelling. It’s better to be safe than sorry! Make sure to do the following to protect your pets from vapors:
·Vape outdoors or in well-ventilated areas
·If you chose to vape indoors, make sure your pet is not in the same room with you, or put them outside (if the weather conditions and your fenced yard is safe to do so)
·Do not let pets interact with e-juice and liquids
·Store vaping equipment out of reach of pets
Do not vape where your pet’s food or water is stored
If your pet has been exposed, the following factors could increase or decrease the likelihood your pet will be negatively impacted by the potentially harmful effects of exposure to vaping:
·Your pet’s age (older pets can have more pronounced reactions)
·Your pet’s physical condition (active pets tend to fare better when exposed)
·Increased sensitivity of your pet due to health conditions or genetic predispositions
·The kind of vaping equipment you use (vape juice with or without nicotine)
The most important thing to remember is to never let them anywhere near your e-cigarette.
There are e-liquids that aren’t harmful to pets, but many contain propylene glycol, a poisonous ingredient. Other sweet e-liquids, such as cherry, are also dangerous to animals. Make sure you check to make sure your e-liquids are made of a safe flavor (just in case), and remember to never leave them within reach of your animal.
Vape Responsibly — And Keep Your Pets Safe
While vaping is becoming more and more popular, we still have to make sure that we’re not harming anyone by doing so.
This includes your pets.
Pets have an increased chance of getting affected by vaping, even if they aren’t exposed to nicotine.
So you need to do your part.
Dogs and cats are curious animals. If your cat or dog gets a hold of a vape pen or e-cigarette, they might mistake it for a snack, which can make them sick. Some vape pens have tiny screws or buttons that aren’t visible, which can give your pet access to the chemicals within the device.
To keep your pets safe, make sure to do the following:
·Keep your vape pens out of sight, out of reach, or locked up when not in use
·Don’t smoke or vape anywhere where your pet could get into it
·Do not overuse your vape in the presence of your pet
·Don’t blow vapor in your pets face, even if your dog seems to enjoy it
·Keep PG away from cats because they are uniquely sensitive to large doses
The bottom line is this: You can protect your pets by not vaping indoors and by not vaping around them. Remember to talk to a vet or veterinary pharmacist before you vape if you own a pet. If your pet displays any adverse reactions to second-hand smoke, contact your vet immediately.
And as always — vape responsibly.