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Minnesota Veterinary Hospital Blog

Join the Great American Smokeout on November 16 to Help Your Pet Breathe Easier

The Effect of Cigarette Smoke on Dogs and Cats
The way that secondhand smoke affects a dog often has to do with the size of his nose. Dogs with longer noses are prone to nasal cancer while shorter-nosed dogs develop lung cancer more frequently. Breathing in secondhand smoke every day also causes many dogs to receive a diagnosis of bronchitis.
However, it’s not just the passive smoke that can endanger your dog’s health. The mint flavor and smell of some cigarettes and her natural curiosity could cause her to chew or swallow cigarette butts or even unused packages of cigarettes. Please schedule an appointment with Minnesota Veterinary Hospital right away if you think your dog has ingested whole cigarettes or their butts and displays any of these symptoms:
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Diarrhea
  • Appears uncoordinated
  • Heartbeat is unusually fast or slow
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • General weakness
Breathing in passive smoke isn’t any better for cats. Those with exposure to secondhand smoke have a three-fold risk of developing lymphoma or squamous cell carcinoma. One reason for this is that the residue from cigarette ashes gets into the air and settles into a cat’s fur. Cats, who naturally groom themselves several times a day, bring this toxic carcinogen into their mouths and digest it. They’re also far more likely than cats from non-smoking homes to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which causes coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
A Smoke-Free Home Increases Your Pet’s Longevity
We understand that smoking is a tough addiction to break and that you want the best for your pet. If you’re struggling to quit, check out these resources from the Centers for Disease Control. In addition to giving your pet clean air to breathe, we encourage you to make preventive care a regular part of your pet’s routine. This allows our veterinarians the opportunity to detect subtle changes to your pet’s health and create a treatment plan to address them. These appointments also give you the chance to get expert advice about a variety of pet-care topics.
Best of luck if you’re joining the Great American Smokeout. If you don’t smoke, don’t start for your pet’s sake and for your own.

Photo Credit: Milicad / Getty Images