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The life you save may be your pet’s!

There’s always been lots of information about second hand smoke and people but did you know there is considerable research proving secondhand smoke is harmful for pets too?

Think about this everytime you light up in your house with Fido on your lap, or when you’re taking Spot to his favorite park.

The American Lung Association of New Hampshire provides some stunning facts on why you should consider your pets when you smoke around them.


  1. Dogs that inhale secondhand smoke are three times more likely to develop lung or nasal cancer than dogs living in smoke-free homes.
  2. Dogs can experience allergic reactions to secondhand smoke. Common symptoms of this allergic reaction are the scratching, biting, and chewing of their skin. Owners often confuse this reaction with Fleas or food allergies.
  3. Cigarette butts can also be deadly. Two butts, if eaten by a puppy, can cause death in a relatively short period of time.


  1. Birds can react badly to secondhand smoke and may develop eye problems, as well as other respiratory problems like coughing and wheezing.
  2. Birds that sit on a smoker’s hand can experience contact dermatitis from the nicotine that remains on the smoker’s hand. This can cause them to pull out their feathers.


  1. Cats exposed to secondhand smoke in the home have a higher rate of an oral cancer called squamous cell carcinoma, which may be due to the way cats groom themselves. When cats groom themselves they eat the poisons from secondhand smoke that have settled on their fur.
  2. Cats exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher rate of feline lymphoma, a deadly form of cancer, than cats not exposed to secondhand smoke.
  3. Cats can develop respiratory problems, lung inflammation, and asthma as a result of secondhand smoke. There are 4,000 chemicals in secondhand smoke, and 43 are known to cause cancer.

Other dangerous issues can occur

By ingestion of cigarette or cigar butts which contain toxins. Death- From 1-5 cigarettes and from 1/3-1 cigar can be fatal if ingested.

By drinking water that contains cigar or cigarette butts (which can have high concentrations of nicotine)

By ingestion of nicotine replacement gum and patches.

Think again of the health effects:

  • breathing problems in dogs and asthmatic-like symptoms in cats;
  • salivation;
  • diarrhea;
  • vomiting;
  • cardiac abnormalities;
  • respiratory difficulties and respiratory paralysis;
  • feline lymphoma in cats;
  • lung cancer in dogs;
  • nasal cancer in dogs.


  1. As in the case of children and others in the home, don’t smoke.
  2. If you must smoke take it outside- Don’t expose others to your smoke
  3. Don’t allow others to smoke around your pets.
  4. Keep ashtrays clean- Don’t leave butts in them for pets to find.
  5. Dispose of nicotine gum and patches in receptacles that can’t be accessed by pets.
  6. Consider quitting – The health effects of your smoking on pets is just one more good reason to quit.

If you can’t or won’t quit, consider a safer alternative – electric cigarettes. Products like Green Smoke are devices shaped like a cigarette but they contain a battery, water and nicotine. You’ll still get your nicotine fix but you and the people and pets around you won’t be inhaling the 4000 toxic chemicals that cause major health issues every day.

Richard Walden cat care, dog care

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