My Dog Ate a Nicotine Pouch (Poisoning FAQ – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment)

My dog ate a nicotine pouch. What do I do? This is a question that many pet owners ask when their pet consumes something potentially harmful.

While a fatal dose of nicotine for dogs is 20 – 100 milligrams (mg), most nicotine pouches contain only 2-7 mg per pouch. So, no, a nicotine pouch should not kill your dog. If your dog was to eat several pouches all at once, he or she might become extremely ill or even die, especially for little dogs.

In this article, we will answer some of the most common questions about nicotine poisoning in pets, including its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment.

By understanding the risks and dangers associated with nicotine poisoning in pets, you can better protect your furry friend from harm.

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My Dog Ate a Nicotine Pouch – What Now?

Nicotine pouches are low dose but can be lethal to dogs. If your dog ate a lot of them, she could get sick.

The lethal dose for dogs is 20 – 100 mg. Nicotine pouches have 2-7 mg/pouch, so your dog would have to eat more than 3 pouches to be in danger. 

This varies according to breed size. See the table in the section below for common dog sizes and calculated toxic doses of nicotine by weight.

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Symptoms of nicotine poisoning in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, weakness, increased heart rate and seizures. If you think your dog has eaten too many nicotine pouches, call your veterinarian right away.

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Nicotine Poisoning in Pets

In less than 17% of dogs, nicotine patches caused excessive drooling or vomiting, although no dogs suffered more serious effects (or death) [Study Link].

Ingestion of tobacco products leads to poor absorption of nicotine for 3 reasons [Source Link]:

  • Tobacco pouches and products don’t taste good to dogs
  • Dog stomachs have a high pH
  • Dogs tend to vomit these products before absorbing much nicotine

The lethal dose of nicotine in dogs and cats is 20 – 100 mg (Source Link). See below for common total nicotine amounts in various products.

Note: as discussed above that it’s unlikely for a dog or cat to fully absorb a lethal amount before vomiting.

Lethal Nicotine Dose for Dogs by Weight

In dogs, 9-12 mg/kg (4-6 mg/lb) was found to be toxic to 50% of dogs. The numbers below are calculations based on that range.

The published range of toxicity in dogs is 20 – 100 mg so take the numbers below for extra large dogs with a grain of salt.

Colorful Chart Version:

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Lethal Nicotine Dose for Dogs by Weight

Plain Text:

  • Tiny Dog – Teacup Yorkie – 3 lbs – 12-18 mg
  • Small Dog – Chihuahua – 10 lbs – 40-60 mg
  • Average Cat – 10 lbs – 40-60 mg
  • Medium Dog – Cocker Spaniel – 30 lbs – 120-180 mg
  • Large Dog – Lab – 70 lbs – 280-420 mg
  • Extra Large Dog – Great Dane – 130 lbs – 520-780 mg

If your pet has ingested any nicotine call your vet immediately!

Nicotine Content in Common Tobacco Products (Source Link unless noted sep.)

Note: Lethal dose for dogs and cats = 20 – 100 mg

  • Cigarette: 9-30 mg
  • Cigar: 15-40 mg
  • Chewing Tobacco: 6-8 mg
  • Snuff: 12-16 mg
  • Nicotine gum: 2-4 mg per piece
  • Nicotine pouch (small & used orally by humans): 2-7 mg per mini-pouch (Source Link)
  • Nicotine patch (skin applied): 8-114 mg
  • Nicotine nose spray: 0.5 mg per spray (100 mg per 10 mL bottle)
  • Nicotine inhaler: 4 mg/puff; 10 mg/cartridge

Nicotine gum can also contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener, which can be toxic to dogs.

Symptoms of Nicotine Poisoning in Dogs

Symptoms of nicotine poisoning usually occur 1 hour after ingestion.

Low dose symptoms or early high dose symptoms (Source Link):

  • excitement
  • high blood pressure
  • increased heart rate
  • tremors or twitching
  • seeing or hearing things that aren’t there
  • lack of coordination
  • convulsions and vomiting

High dose later symptoms (same source as above):

  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Progressive paralysis leading to cardiac arrest and death

Causes of Nicotine Poisoning in Dogs

Nicotine poisoning in dogs is most often caused by the dog ingesting tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and snuff.

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Nicotine gum, patches, and nose sprays can also be toxic to dogs.

Diagnosis of Nicotine Poisoning in Dogs

Nicotine poisoning in dogs is relatively rare but can be extremely dangerous. If you suspect your dog has ingested anything containing nicotine, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.

Early diagnosis and treatment is critical to a good outcome. The prognosis for dogs with nicotine poisoning is generally good if they receive prompt veterinary care. 

Diagnosis Methods Before death (Source Link):

  • watching them ingest nicotine pouches, patches, or products
  • testing the vomit or stomach contents for nicotine
  • blood tests performed by a vet

After Death Diagnosis (performed by Vet):

  • analysis of liver tissues
  • analysis of kidney and other tissues

Treatment of Nicotine Poisoning in Dogs

The most common treatment is to induce vomiting followed by activated charcoal administration to absorb the rest of the nicotine remaining (Source Link).

Other vet treatments (do not do this yourself!):

  • intravenous fluids
  • medications to lower heart rate, reduce blood pressure and stop tremors and seizures

Tums or other antacids are not recommended as they will lower the dog’s naturally high pH stomach which will increase nicotine absorption. According to FDA studies, increasing pH leads to more absorption of freebase nicotine, the most active and easily absorbed form of nicotine (Source).

How Long Does Nicotine Stay in A Dog’s System?

Nicotine has a short half-life in dogs, only 30 minutes (Source Link). Within 16 hours, most absorbed nicotine will be excreted by a dog’s kidneys (Source Link).

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However, it is not recommended to wait to see if symptoms develop as some dogs can have a delayed reaction.

If you think your dog may have ingested nicotine, even in small amounts, call your veterinarian or emergency veterinary hospital immediately.

How to Prevent Nicotine Poisoning in Dogs

There is no denying that nicotine is a highly poisonous substance. Dogs are incredibly curious animals and often laugh in the face of danger, so it’s important to be aware of the risks of nicotine poisoning in dogs and take steps to prevent it.

The best way to prevent your dog from becoming poisoned by nicotine is to keep all tobacco products out of reach. This includes cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and any other type of tobacco product. If you smoke cigarettes, do so outside and away from your dog. It’s also a good idea to wash your hands thoroughly after smoking to remove any residual nicotine.

How Much Nicotine Can Hurt or Kill a Dog?

There is no straightforward answer to how much nicotine can hurt a dog, as it depends on several factors. For example, the size of the dog, its health status, and whether it has any other underlying medical conditions will all affect how much nicotine it can tolerate before suffering adverse effects.

Generally speaking the lethal dose for dogs is thought to be somewhere between 20 and 100 mg.

So, in dogs weighing 9-12 kg (4-6 lb), as little as 9-12 mg of nicotine may be enough to kill 50% of them.

Of course, this is just a general guideline and individual dogs will vary in their sensitivity to nicotine.

How Much Vape Juice Can Hurt a Dog?

Vaping is a relatively new phenomenon, and not much is known about the long-term effects of second-hand vaping on dogs. However, it’s known that nicotine is poisonous to dogs and can be lethal even in small doses.

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A lethal dose of nicotine for dogs is 20 – 100 mg, and vape juice typically contains 3-15 mg/ml. So it would take just a few milliliters of vape juice to kill a dog.

It’s still important to keep any vape juice away from pets out of caution and contact your vet immediately if your dog contacts or ingests any vape juice.

Can a Nicotine Pouch Kill a Dog?

While a lethal dose of nicotine for dogs is 20 – 100 mg, most nicotine pouches only contain 2-7 mg/pouch.

So, no, a nicotine pouch should not kill a dog. However, if your dog were to eat several of them at once, it could make them very sick or even kill them, especially for small dogs.

Nicotine poisoning in dogs typically results in vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors. If you think your dog has ingested nicotine pouches, please call your veterinarian immediately.