Nicotine and Smoke Exposure In Your Pet

We all know that smoking is bad for you, but what you might not know is that it is very bad for your pets as well. Secondhand and thirdhand smoke can be fatal to your furry friends. Secondhand smoke is smoke that is exhaled into the air and inhaled by your pet, while thirdhand smoke is the residue that is left on fur, skin or furniture long after the cigarette is gone.

What kinds of problems can arise if my pet is exposed to secondhand or thirdhand smoke?

The most common side effect of exposure in pets is cancer. Cats are prone to lymphoma and also oral cancer. A recent study found that repeated exposure to second or thirdhand smoke doubled a cat’s chances of getting cancer while living with a smoker for over 5 years increased their risk by as much as 4 times. Dogs are more likely to get lung and nasal cancer. Other conditions observed in both cats and dogs included respiratory problems, allergies, vomiting, diarrhea and cardiac disease.

I quit smoking but now use an e-cigarette, this is safer right?

Not really, while e-cigarettes do decrease the amount of environmental smoke that is released into the environment, they still contain a potentially fatal amount of nicotine. E-cigarettes smell good and are very inviting to a curious dog or cat. They may chew on or lick the cartridge and ingest the liquid nicotine.

Nicotine is highly toxic in pets, if you think your pet may have ingested some, they need immediate medical attention. Signs of nicotine ingestion can include drooling, vomiting, increased heart rate, panting, ataxia, seizures and death. Your pet is also at risk if they have ingested a cigarette, cigar, nicotine patch or nicotine gum.