You already know the harm that smoking can have on humans but did you realise that pets exposed to cigarette smoke or nicotine are at risk of disease also?

Cancer and breathing problems caused by smoke are the most common concerns. More acutely, nicotine can be toxic (even fatal) if ingested.

Not only do animals inhale smoke (causing an increased risk of nasal and lung tumours in dogs) but they also lick the toxins off their coats and absorb them into the bloodstream (which leads to an increase in mouth tumours and lymphoma in cats.)

Please consider the following suggestions to improve the health of your pets:

  • Smoke outside. Never smoke in a house, car or other enclosed space where a pet may go.
  • Designate a smoking room. This is a room where pets and children are not allowed access.
  • Ensure any smoking areas are well ventilated or use air filters.
  • Switch to E-cigarettes.
  • Keep all nicotine-containing items away from pets. This includes cigarettes, cigars, ashtrays and cigarette butts, nicotine replacement gums and patches and E-cigarette refills.
  • Don’t litter. Put cigarette butts and chewed nicotine gum in the bin. Just a small amount of nicotine can be toxic to some dogs if ingested.
  • Bath and brush your pets if they have been exposed to smoke.
  • Change your clothes before allowing pets to sit on your lap if you have been in a smoky environment.
  • Wash your hands after smoking, before you touch your pets.
  •  QUIT– for the health of your pets, your human family, your friends and yourself. Take advantage of the Stoptober campaign in October (stoptober.smokefree.nhs.uk) or the NHS smoke-free support team at any time (nhs.uk/smokefree).