Back to all guides

Find out about how smoking can impact your pets health.

Thirty percent of Londoners own a pet with cats being the most popular followed by dogs. Pets can have a positive effect on our mental and physical health and many people consider them part of their family so it’s important to protect their health in the same way.


Can smoking harm animals?

 Yes. Pets share our homes and are exposed to the same air and pollutants as humans, including second-hand smoke.

Second-hand smoke is the smoke that is exhaled into the air after taking a draw on a cigarette. People and pets around you, can inhale this smoke.

Even if you open up the windows or doors, smoke still spreads around your home.

Almost 80% of tobacco smoke is invisible and has no smell so you might not notice how far it spreads. 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 even your pet’s fur.


What will happen to my pet if exposed to second hand smoke?

A study by Glasgow University found that pets such as dogs and cats ingest harmful chemicals from smoke in greater quantities because of they often lick their fur.

Larger animals such as dogs were found to be a risk of cancer, while smaller pets such as rabbits or guinea pigs could develop breathing difficulties or skin disease.

Birds have very sensitive respiratory tracts so can find cigarette smoke very distressing. Aquatic pets such as fish are also affected as cigarette smoke and its toxins can dissolve in fish tanks. 


What are the risks of smoking for me and my pet?


Pets suffer from a lot of the same conditions as humans do from second hand smoke:

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 health effects such as breathing issues or make existing breathing problems worse.

Second hand smoke can cause a range of other health risks including coronary heart disease and has been associated with type 2 diabetes. 


I want help to quit smoking

You are 3x more likely to successfully stop smoking when you combine stop smoking aids such as NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) or a vape with behavioural support (counselling and advice) offered by a stop smoking service.

The majority of stop smoking services in London also provide free medication and treatment plans. Find your local stop smoking service here.