Frequently Asked Questions

Secondhand Smoke & Pets?
While much is often said about the dangers of direct smoking and the harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure to humans, there is also evidence that dogs, cats, and other pets are also adversely affected.


  • By ingestion of cigarette or cigar butts which contain toxins
  • By drinking water that contains cigar or cigarette butts (which can have high concentrations of nicotine).
  • By breathing secondhand smoke
  • By ingestion of nicotine replacement gum and patches.

  • Dogs that inhale secondhand smoke are three times more likely to develop lung or nasal cancer than dogs living in smoke-free homes.
  • Dogs can experience allergic reactions to secondhand smoke. Common symptoms of this allergic reaction are the scratching, biting, and chewing of their skin. Owners often confuse this reaction with fleas or food allergies.
  • Cigarette butts can also be deadly. Two butts, if eaten by a puppy, can cause death in a relatively short period of time.

  • Cats exposed to secondhand smoke in the home have a higher rate of an oral cancer called squamous cell carcinoma, which may be due to the way cats groom themselves.
  • When cats groom themselves they eat the poisons from secondhand smoke that have settled on their fur.
  • Cats exposed to secondhand smoke have a much higher rate of feline lymphoma, a deadly form of cancer, than cats not exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • Cats can develop respiratory problems, lung inflammation, and asthma as a result of secondhand smoke.


  • Birds can react badly to secondhand smoke and may develop eye problems, as well as other respiratory problems like coughing and wheezing.
  • Birds that sit on a smoker's hand can experience contact dermatitis from the nicotine that remains on the smoker's hand. This can cause them to pull out their feathers.

  • As in the case of children and others in the home, don’t smoke.
  • If you must smoke take it outside- Don’t expose others to your smoke
  • Don’t allow others to smoke around your pets.
  • Keep ashtrays clean- Don’t leave butts in them for pets to find.
  • Dispose of nicotine gum and patches in receptacles that can’t be accessed by pets.
  • Consider quitting- The health effects of your smoking on pets is just one more good reason to quit.

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