NICOTINE POUCHES

NICOTINE POUCHES

The Animal Poisons Helpline has recently become aware of the rising profile of nicotine pouches in Australia and New Zealand. Nicotine pouches are small sachets or bags containing synthetic nicotine and are being promoted on social media as an alternative to ‘vapes’. Typically sold in small colourful tins, they are available in a wide range of appealing flavours and strengths. Ingestion of even one or two pouches could result in significant poisoning in a small dog or cat. Nicotine pouches may also contain added xylitol as a sweetener, which can pose an additional risk to dogs.

Signs of nicotine poisoning can occur rapidly after ingestion. Early signs may include salivation, vomiting, excitement and tremors. Following large ingestions, animals can potentially develop seizures, weakness and breathing difficulties. Birds are particularly sensitive to nicotine and can develop neurological signs such as hyperexcitability, depression and seizures following very small exposures.

If you have any nicotine containing products in your house, please always store them responsibly and well out of the reach of pets. When walking your dog in parks and other public spaces, it is a good idea to inspect the area briefly before removing your pet’s leash. This is a good way to prevent your pet from ingesting discarded nicotine-containing products (e-cigarettes, cigarette butts, nicotine pouches) and other poisonous items such as wild mushrooms and berries from poisonous plants.

The Animal Poisons Helpline provides free advice to pet owners in Australia and New Zealand and can be reached on 1300 869 738 (AU) or 0800 869 738 (NZ). If you are a member of a veterinary team in Australia or New Zealand, you can join the Animal Poisons Centre For Vets Facebook group which is regularly updated with toxicology tidbits and poisoning trends.