‘Pets are humanizing. They remind us we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve and nurture and care for their life’ -JAMES CROMWELL.
It has been considered over the years that pets are like family members and are treated as one. They are available for security, provide us with companionship, emotional support and reduce our stress levels. Additionally, they minimize a sense of loneliness and helps us to increase our social activities. But then, is it harmful or rather safe to vape around them. Pets and their owners have a mutually beneficial relationship, one marked by unconditional love on both sides. For people who vape in the home, they need to be aware of all dangers vaping can not only cause to their loved ones but to their pets as well.
First up, what is VAPING?
In 2014, 14 weeks old Staffie Ivy ingested a tiny amount of her owner’s e-juice. Despite him rushing her to a vet within minutes, she was unable to pull through and passed away a few hours later. The cause of death? Nicotine poisoning. Ivy did not drink the liquid, she simply pierced its teeth. If such an amount of nicotine ingested can cause such damage. Can we be sure that nicotine inhaled by pets from owner’s vapour is not harmful?
Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling aerosol often referred to as vapour which is produced by an e-cigarette or any similar device. Vaping devices include vape pens and advanced personal vaporizers also known as MODS. An e-cigarette does not produce tobacco smoke but rather an aerosol that consists of fine particles. Many of these particles contain varying amounts of toxic chemicals which have been linked to cancer, respiratory and heart diseases.
The e-liquid in vaporizer products usually contains a propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin based liquid with nicotine, flavouring other chemicals and metals but not tobacco. Nicotine is the primary agent in both regular cigarette and e-cigarette, and it is highly addictive. It causes you to crave a smoke and suffer withdrawal symptoms if you ignore the craving. Nicotine is also a toxic substance, it raises blood pressure and spikes blood adrenaline. This, in turn, increases heart rate and the likelihood of having a heart attack. Vaping works by avoiding the carbonization of plant materials, and instead, you inhale an intensely heated oil, liquid or juice as an actual vapour. It is essential to know that these devices and methods of vaping can affect our furry friends. Trust me, we don’t want to sacrifice the health of our pets for our hobbies.
Humans may be relatively safe while vaping, it is not necessarily safe for our pets to ingest. The primary and most prudent danger that is involved when it comes to vaping around pets is actually the e-cigarette liquid called e-juice. In most cases, the juice contains nicotine which is fatal to most animals.
‘Nicotine is the fatal component of e-cigarette juice and oils.
If your pet gets hold of the juice, you need to get medical attention as soon as possible.’
Without treatment, muscle paralysis and lung failure can occur secondary to nicotine poisoning. The pet may die because it cannot breathe and this happens just a few hours after ingesting nicotine. As stated earlier, pets are like family members, be it canine, feline and avian friends. It is somewhat better to keep all vaping devices safe and out of their reach. Here are a few things you can do to enjoy your vape and at the same time make sure your pets are not affected in anyways;
- Always keep e-liquids away from your pets. Most e-juices bottles are child-proof, but pets can use their needle-sharp teeth to pierce through the package. So, your biggest concern is to make sure they can’t get anywhere near the liquids.
- When not in use, lock up your e-cigs and vaporizers in a place inaccessible by your pets.
- While you can enjoy your vape around pets, make sure there is proper ventilation. Never allow your pets to lick the vapour you inhale as it may contain nicotine.
- In case of any mishap, instantly call your vet and take your pet to the nearest hospital.
- Batteries can also be particularly hazardous, as they can expose chewing animals to dangerous alkaline, which can cause burns.
- If you refill your vape container over newspaper or a rag. To avoid spills and stains, be sure you dispose of those materials or at least place them out of your pet’s reach immediately.
- If you use a vape container with nicotine, invest in a pleasant room air purifier or filter and change its filter or cartridge often. A high-quality room purifier will reduce the amount of nicotine in the air to which your pet is exposed.
- Liquids nicotine can settle onto a pet’s food once airborne and get absorbed very quickly. So avoid vaping over your pet’s food and water dishes, while filling their bowls or while transferring their food from one container to another.
HOW TO RECOGNISE NICOTINE POISONING IN PETS?
If you suspect that your pet has ingested nicotine or any related poisonous substances. Carefully view your pet’s gum and tongue which indicates if they have something hazardous. If the gums or tongue turns entirely or partly blue, purple, white, brick-coloured or extreme bright red. Seek immediate veterinary attention. Other signs of poisoning to look out for include higher pulse rate, high temperature, vomiting, diarrhea, panting, seizures, lethargy, blood in the stool, drooling or hypersalivation, excitement or odd behaviour, nosebleed and sudden loss of appetite.
Finally, vaping may alleviate the worst effects of tobacco smoke, but pet owners should also be mindful of how to vapour. E-liquids can adversely affect their pets as well. The labels on every e-juices bottles clearly state that KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN AND PETS, they must be well adhered to. We all love pets, and a little caution can go a long way in preventing permanent damages as the saying, prevention is the best medicine. If you have pets, be a responsible owner and a responsible vapour.