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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Important Information for Dog Owners....

It should come as no surprise to anyone that a dog might eat a cigarette butt, or any other kind of tobacco product for that matter.

Dogs might find them tasty, since many tobacco products smell like food!
Cigarettes have flavors such as mint, for example.
Chewing tobaccos come in wintergreen, peach, apple and butternut flavors
Nicotine gums are commonly mint or orange flavored.
  The problem is that cigarette butts and other forms of tobacco products have an ingredient that is very dangerous to pets, and in particular dogs. That ingredient is nicotine.

In reality, nicotine is toxic for humans too. That sick and nauseous feeling you get the first time you take a drag off of a cigarette is actually because you have nicotine poisoning.
While our human bodies over time can build up a tolerance to the addictive nature of nicotine, dogs don’t have that ability. Even if a dog eats as few as one or two cigarette butts, it can kill them.

I have heard some people claim that cigarette butts are not harmful to dogs, but I’ve seen nicotine poisoning of a dog firsthand — and it’s not pretty!

It only takes 5 mg of nicotine per pound of pet weight to be toxic, and 10 mg/kg can be lethal.

Since a small dog can weigh under 10 pounds, and a cigarette butt can contain up to 4 to 8 mg of nicotine, you can see how if a small dog eats even a couple of cigarette butts it could be fatal.
The biggest problem with cigarette butts is that much of the nicotine was drawn into the filter when a person smoked that cigarette, so cigarette butts tend to have a high concentration of nicotine.


Signs Of Nicotine Poisoning In Dogs
Here are some symptoms of nicotine poisoning in pets to watch for if you think your dog has eaten a cigarette butt. (Keep in mind that some of these symptoms can be true of other types of poisoning as well.)
Bad coordination, inability to stand or walk
Difficulty breathing or fast breathing
Heart problems such as a slow heartbeat, a fast heartbeat, or even cardiac arrhythmia

These are just a few of the common symptoms for dogs that have ingested any kind of product that has nicotine in it, not just cigarette butts.

While it’s possible that if your dog hasn’t eaten enough of a cigarette butt (or you caught him and took it away) that he might be okay, it’s wise if your dog has ingested a cigarette butt (or you think he may have) to call your vet or take your dog to an emergency pet clinic. It’s always best to error on the side of caution, rather than take a chance with your four-legged friend.


Sugarless Gum Toxicity in Dogs
 There is a very dangerous ingredient in sugarless gum. Though non-toxic to humans, it can cause serious illness and even death in dogs. The ingredient is xylitol. It is a sugar substitute, and found in sugarless gums and is used as a sweetener in some mints, chewable vitamins, cookies and candy. A dog that has gotten into any product with this ingredient should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. Have a question? Get an answer from a Vet now!

After first ingesting the sugarless gum, vomiting is usually seen. The dog will likely become quite tired and perhaps stumble around. The pet might even collapse and have seizures. If no treatment is sought, it could be fatal, depending on how large the dog is, and how much xylitol was eaten.

When the dog eats this sugar substitute, the body releases insulin. It is followed by a decrease in the natural glucose, or sugar, in the blood, which will cause hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar is what causes the fatigue and confusion, even seizures. Many other problems can cause these symptoms. All are serious and need medical attention.

Liver Damage 

it causes problems with the blood-clotting mechanism of the body, and that means the dog can bleed out. Unfortunately, not all dogs that suffer from acute liver failure will show any signs of illness. Or they appear sick, and then get better. Even if the pet appears fine, if they did ingest xylitol, they In high doses, it can also cause liver damage. Liver tissue will actually start to die. In extreme cases need to be seen immediately for treatment.  Diagnosis  Bringing in the package could help your vet
Once the dog is taken to the animal clinic, the veterinarian will do an initial exam. Blood work might be done in the lab, but it will not be able to confirm xylitol toxicity. There is no test for that. Instead, it is used to check the blood glucose and liver enzymes, and to see if the body's blood clotting ability is damaged. Bringing in the wrappers might be beneficial if it states how much xylitol is in the gum.

A blood transfusion might be needed.
If the dog is brought in quickly after eating the xylitol product, the hospital staff might induce vomiting to get as much of the toxin out of the body. Liquid charcoal is not beneficial and will not bind with the xylitol. The dog will likely be hospitalized and observed so the veterinary technicians can monitor blood values and the well-being of the dog. Fluids will be given through an IV catheter, as well as a blood transfusion if necessary.

The prognosis is good if the dog only has hypoglycemia with no other complications. With fluids and supportive care, it should be resolved in a matter of days. Acute liver failure and blood-clotting issues are much more serious, and the road to recovery is much bleaker. These illnesses are difficult to treat and are most likely fatal to the pet. That is why seeking treatment from a veterinarian is time-sensitive.

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