What Happens If A Dog Eats a Cigarette Butt?

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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.


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Nicotine Toxicity

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

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.

By Deborah Lundin



Mar Vista Animal Medical Center: Nicotine Poisoning in Pets
Tobacco Control: Tobacco and Cigarette Butt Consumption in Humans and Animals

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.