We already know that second-hand smoke can be harmful to the people around us, but sometimes we forget about our furry, feathered and scaly friends – our pets. They are the ones that spend the most time in our homes and usually have smaller lungs than humans, making them more vulnerable to smoke. Let’s have a look at what smoking can do to our pets and how we can eliminate the damage to their health.
Want to pet your cat?
Cats are notorious for their grooming habits. Instead of having a shower like us humans, they lick themselves throughout the day to keep clean. When you pet your cat after smoking, harmful chemicals will get into their hair.
The smoke from cigarettes is like dust, it sticks to the furniture and to your cat’s fur. Because of their cleaning habit, these substances are then being licked off and can become the cause of deadly oral cancer.
Dogs don’t like cigarettes.
Nicotine is a toxic substance that can seriously harm animals if it gets into their stomach. Dogs like to chew on stuff, so it’s dangerous when they find a way to tobacco products. There is enough nicotine in just one cigarette to cause serious health problems, particularly for a small dog, like a Chihuahua.
Birds deserve clean air.
The smoke that comes out of a cigarette contains thousands of chemicals that mix with the air your pet breathes. Many of them are known to cause cancer. The amount of harmful stuff is even higher in second-hand smoke than the amount inhaled by the smoker.
Birds have smaller lungs and they also breathe slower and absorb more oxygen. But this means that they absorb more chemicals from smoke as well. Smoke on feathers can also lead to feather plucking, a harmful habit that is hard to get rid of.
What about rabbits, fish, guinea pigs…?
No animal is safe from the health risks caused by second-hand smoke (inhaling fumes from someone else’s cigarettes) and third-hand smoke (smoke sticking and falling on home furniture, fur, etc.).
If you have a smoker at home, tell them to step outside to smoke and wash their hands before stroking pets. If they are thinking about quitting, animals can help them overcome craving for a cigarette. All it takes is a nice walk with their dog or a play with a cat to keep their mind busy! And remember – a smoke free pet is a happy pet.