Our pets bring us so much joy, laughter and companionship. In return, we house them, feed them, groom them, pay their vet bills, take them with us on errands and adventures, and love them like family. But do we recognize when our habits are adversely affecting our dogs, cats, birds, bunnies and fish?
Tobacco use is harming the critters we cherish, making it an animal welfare issue. The family that smokes together chokes together, thanks to second and third-hand exposure to the toxic chemicals in cigarette, cigar, cigarillo and hookah smoke. When we handle tobacco products then handle our pets, the chemical residue left on our hands transfers to their fur or feathers where it is ingested during self-grooming.
Not even our fish are safe in tobacco-using households. The toxic residue from cigarettes and tobacco products settles into indoor aquariums, poisoning the fishes’ water environment. (Nicotine and ammonia are particularly toxic to goldfish.) Individuals with tobacco- and nicotine-stained fingers can unintentionally kill their fish by inserting their hands into aquarium water.