News & Information

News & Updates from the park

12

Jul 2013

Park Your Butts!

Posted by / in Information /

Park Your Butts!

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Sign at the entrance to Winnipeg’s McPhillips Animal Hospital

Everyone has heard Health Canada’s warning about cigarette smoking but – what about cigarette eating? Dogs, particularly puppies, tend to eat things first and ask questions later.

Cigarettes and other forms of tobacco products contain nicotine, an ingredient that is extremely toxic to dogs. If left untreated, nicotine can paralyze a dog’s breathing muscles and this can cause death within hours.

Nicotine has been used by gardeners for years as a commercial pesticide and fumigant. Powdered nicotine comes in a can with a wick that, when lit, becomes a smoke that is extremely toxic to anything in the vicinity. Greenhouses that use this insecticide ensure that windows and doors are tightly sealed to keep the smoke from escaping.

Nicotine poisoning is a real concern anywhere that dogs have easy access to discarded cigarette butts and Kilcona Park’s parking lot and off-leash area are littered with thousands of them. At last year’s Spring Clean-up, volunteers filled two large black garbage bags along the north side of the parking lot alone.

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The biggest concern is that nicotine from the whole cigarette is drawn into the butt, so butts have a high concentration of nicotine. Eating cigarettes is more dangerous than smoking them because all of the nicotine becomes available for absorption into the body.

KPDC Gold Sponsor, McPhillips Animal Hospital says nicotine toxicity depends on the weight of the dog and the amount ingested. Nicotine is toxic at the level of 0.5 to 1 mg milligrams per pound of body weight, while the lethal dose is 4 to 5 mg.

Small dogs are at greatest risk. Just two to four butts are enough to kill a puppy.

Kilcona Park’s new cigarette butt receptacle will make it easy for smokers to park their butts safely. The receptacle, which KPDC purchased and donated to the park, has an 8,000-butt capacity.

The receptacle is located at the west end of the parking lot – a convenient spot for smokers entering, using and leaving the grassy play area, where the greatest number of people and dogs gather – and far enough away  from the picnic tables by the map so that people and dogs that gather there aren’t affected by second-hand smoke.

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KPDC Director of Marketing, Jeff Henry and Senior Park Foreman, Chris Olbrecht install the receptacle.

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KPDC President Donna Henry and Vice President Susan Argue turn over the keys to Park Foreman Chris Olbrecht.

 

The initiative is a pilot project, a cooperative effort between KPDC and park staff who will maintain it. If the receptacle and education program reduces the accumulation of butts in the parking lot and play areas, KPDC will purchase more receptacles for the off-leash area.

 

 

 

 

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