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29 July 2021


We are all aware of the risks of passive smoking in people, and especially children, but did you know that it is actually damaging our pets’ health as well?  We regularly take in cats from homes where the cats have been exposed to tobacco smoke.  The aroma on their coat is instantly recognisable and can take over a week for the smell of stale cigarettes to wear off the cat.

Why does second-hand smoke affect pets?   Most pets breathe in second-hand smoke in their home.  Even if you open up the windows or doors, smoke still spreads around your home. Smoke can contain over 5,000 different chemicals many of which are toxic to both people and pets, but can build up on surfaces and clothes or even the pet’s coats.  Research has shown that cats can be exposed to significant amounts of smoke when living in a smoking household. This is because toxic smoke particles settle on their fur and cats could swallow these when they’re grooming themselves.  You should also be careful leaving ashtrays around pets as even cigarette butts pose a risk due to the heavy metals and toxins in the cigarettes which they could accidentally eat.  All pets are sensitive to nicotine so if you’re trying to quit smoking you should always be very careful that nicotine replacement products such as patches, gum, inhalers or e-cigarettes are kept out of paws’ reach.

How does passive smoking affect pets?   Pets suffer from a lot of the same conditions as humans do from passive smoking:  Toxins in tobacco smoke can damage your pet’s cells. This can mean they’re more at risk of certain types of cancer including lung, nose, mouth cancers and lymphoma.  Smoke can cause breathing problems or make existing breathing problems worse.  Second hand smoke can cause a range of other problems too and has been associated with weight gain.

Lowering the risks if your pet lives in a smoking household.  Smoking outside to prevent damaging particles collecting on pets, carpets and furniture.  Don’t leave cigarette butts or ashtrays in easy access of pets.  Wash your hands after smoking.  Regularly clean and steam carpets to reduce the toxic particles from collecting in the home.  Although you can reduce the amount of smoke your pet is exposed to by going outside, stopping smoking completely is the best option for your pet’s future health and wellbeing.