What Happens When a Dog Digests a Cigarette Butt?

by Deborah Lundin
    If your pup finds cigarette butts tasty snacks, nicotine toxicity is a risk.

    If your pup finds cigarette butts tasty snacks, nicotine toxicity is a risk.

    Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

    You know that cigarettes pose a health threat for smokers, but you may not know discarded cigarette butts pose a hazard for your dog. While they may seem small, cigarette butts contain 25 percent of the nicotine found in a full cigarette, according to the Mar Vista Animal Medical Center website. Ingestion of one butt will not cause a toxic dose for most dogs, but the potential does exist in small dogs and puppies.

    The toxic dose of nicotine for a dog is 0.5 milligram to 1 mg per pound of body weight. Anything more than 4 mg per pound constitutes a lethal dose. With this in mind, the average cigarette contains between 9 mg and 30 mg of nicotine. The exact amount varies by cigarette brand and type. Considering a butt contains as much as 25 percent of the full nicotine amount in a cigarette, a butt could contain as much as 2.25 mg to 7.5 mg. While one butt may make a small dog sick, two butts could be a potentially toxic dose for a small-breed puppy.

    Symptoms of nicotine poisoning begin within an hour of ingestion and include tremors, drooling, hallucinations, constricted pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, increased heart rate and high blood pressure.

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    About the Author

    Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.

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