4 Dangers of Smoking To Your Pets’ Health

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in side effects

Dr. Howell

It’s a no-brainer that smoking is bad for your health, but have you ever thought how bad secondhand smoke is to your pets? According to statistics, almost 30% of pet owners live with the least, one smoker at home. New research suggests that secondhand smoke is as harmful to your pets as it is to you. It can be attributed to the fact that pets spend more time at home than you do – leaving them more exposed to carcinogens and other harmful substances. Below are 4 reasons why smoking may kill your pets.

Smoking and Your Dogs

Research suggests that the muzzle length of your dog has something to do with the type of cancer it is most likely to develop from its exposure to secondhand smoke. Dogs with long muzzles have larger nose and sinus surface area on which carcinogenic substances can accumulate. Dogs of this type are most likely to develop nose and sinus cancers, while dogs with shorter muzzles are at higher risk of lung cancer.


Smoking and Your Cats

Cats with pet-parents who smoke are more likely to develop mouth and lymph node cancers. This can be attributed to their natural behavior – they love grooming themselves. When cats lick their fur, they ingest harmful substances from cigarettes that might have accumulated on their fur. This exposes the mucus membranes located on their mouth to carcinogens. Cats living with smokers who consume one or more packs of cigarettes a day are 3 times more at risk of squamous cell carcinoma – the most aggressive and common type of oral cancer in felines.


Smoking and Small Animals

Birds are very sensitive to air pollutants. They are more likely to develop pneumonia and lung cancer when exposed to secondhand smoke. Also, rabbits that are exposed to secondhand smoke are at risk of heart problems.

Nicotine Poisoning

Aside from inhaling harmful compounds and carcinogens, smoking may harm your pet in some other ways:

  • Cigarette or cigarette butts contains high concentration of nicotine and other harmful substances that when ingested may cause poisoning in your pets.
  • Cigarette butts can contaminate stagnant waters around your home which your pet may accidentally drink and may lead to poisoning.

In dogs, 10mg of nicotine per kilogram is enough to cause death, 0.5 to 1mg of nicotine per pound can already cause harm both to cats and dogs.

Depending on the brand of the cigarette, each stick may contain 15 to 25mg of nicotine. Cigarette butts contain large concentration of nicotine which can reach up to 8mg.

Common signs of poisoning include:

  • tremors, or seizures
  • salivating
  • constricted pupils
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

If you suspect that your dog or your pet has swallowed cigarette butts, or ingested high or low dose of nicotine, it is important that you immediately call your vet.


Smoking is not only harmful to your health. It harms almost everything around you, including your most loved pets. So before it’s too late, consider quitting smoking now.


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