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Do you smoke? It’s not our job to tell you what to do, but we do have some advice – keep it away from your pet. Secondhand smoke is the same for pets as it is for humans, even walking into another room within your home to smoke can cause issues for your pets.

According to Professor Clare Knottenbelt of the University of Glasgow, “Our findings show that exposure to smoke in the home is having a direct impact on pets. It risks ongoing cell damage, increasing weight gain after castration and has previously been shown to increase the risk of certain cancers.”

Victoria Smith, a veterinarian who is actively investigating the link between smoking and lymphoma in pets, says, “Our work so far has shown that cats take in significant amounts of smoke, and even having outdoor access makes very little difference. The same study from the University of Glasgow found that a gene that acts as a marker of cell damage was higher in dogs living in homes where people smoke than those in homes with no smokers.”

It’s not just smoking, though. This goes for vaping, incense, and especially artificial scents of any kind like candles, plug-ins, laundry detergents, scented cat litter, and more. For our animals, these residues coat their fur and they have to try to groom themselves in spite of it. The residues taste bad and can cause skin and digestive problems in addition to lung problems, especially asthma in cats.

If you feel you have to have scents in your home, use organic essential oils from a reputable source and still minimize the concentration. We had a well-meaning client rub so much essential oil all over their dog “for anxiety,” it was burning our eyes and nose let alone his poor senses which are hundreds of times more sensitive than ours.  Another client was keeping their cat in the laundry room for behavior problems and her fur was so coated with the residue, from the aerosolized laundry detergent, she stopped grooming herself. I realized this may be the cause of her lack of grooming when during her exam the smell of laundry detergent was overwhelming and I could feel the sticky residue all over her body. We rinsed her with plain water for 10 minutes and there were still suds coming off of her. We brought her back to the exam room still damp and she immediately started grooming.

As our furry companions share our homes we have to consider how our lifestyle affects them as well.

What happens when you smoke a pack a day for a month? Chris Notap created a video to explore that.

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