Passive smoking and Nicotine


Most people are aware that passive smoking can harm humans. This is why we have laws against smoking in many public places. Did you know, however, that exposure to smoke or other products containing tobacco can seriously harm or even kill your pet?

Dogs who live in a smoking household are more likely to suffer from lung cancer (short and medium-nosed breeds including Staffordshire bull terriers and bulldogs) and nasal tumours (long nosed dogs such as Collies) than those living smoke-free. Nasal cancer can kill a dog in 12 months.

Any dog regularly exposed to smoke can also suffer from wheezing, coughing and hyperventilation, eye irritation, lethargy and depression.

Cats are even more susceptible to harm from passive smoking. As well as suffering from the same respiratory problems from inhaling smoke as dogs, they also ingest carcinogenic particles that settle on their coats as they groom. This can lead to cancer of the mouth.

Cats are two and a half times more likely to get lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes) if they are exposed to passive smoking, and the risk to a cat increases the more it is exposed. This form of cancer kills 75% of cats within one year of diagnosis.

A bird’s respiratory system is hypersensitive to any pollutant in the air. The most serious consequences of second hand smoke exposure are pneumonia or lung cancer.

Not just smoke but any product containing nicotine (cigarettes, cigars, cigarette butts, nicotine gums and patches and E-cigarette refills) are potentially dangerous. Eating just three butts or one patch could be toxic to a dog. Seek veterinary advice immediately if you think your pet has ingested nicotine.

The NHS runs the highly successful Stoptober campaign yearly to help humans. Our advice to prevent disease in your pets includes

  • Smoke outside.

  •  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.

  •  Don’t litter. 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.