National Pet Day takes place this April, seeking to promote responsible pet ownership and raise funds for essential UK charities.

Those of us with pets would like to say we do everything to keep them healthy and happy; feeding them nutritious pet food, ensuring they get enough exercise, and showering them with love and attention. However, there may be an aspect of pet care that has gone by without you even noticing.

Everyone is aware of the risks associated with second hand smoke to humans, but the dangers posed by smoking around animals may not be as prominent in your mind. Studies show that regular exposure to second hand smoke can lead to an increased incidence of cancer in pets. Studies conducted by the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Massachusetts Amherst show that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke has been linked to oral cancer and feline lymphoma in cats.

Furthermore, animals can suffer from nicotine poisoning if they ingest tobacco products left out by their owners, including cigarette butts, nicotine gums, or loose tobacco. It only takes between 1 and 5 cigarettes to have a toxic effect for dogs who may accidentally consume tobacco products after mistaking them for food. The side effects of accidental ingestion include vomiting, tremors, and hypersalivation.

Finally, and an unexpected consequence of smoking, is the increased risk of house and domestic fires. The London Fire Brigade lists smoking as the most common cause of fire deaths in the home, with three fires a day being linked to the improper disposal of used cigarettes. In 2014 828 fires were recorded as caused by careless treatment of flammable tobacco products. Not only is this worrying for your own safety, but often pets can be harmed and killed by such accidental fires. If your pet is trapped inside a room in your home when such a fire occurs, you may not be able to retrieve them safely before escaping yourself. In fact, the London Fire Brigade warns that in case of fire an individual is not to return to the property to rescue pets. Fire is a horrible way to die for anyone, but especially a pet who may not know what is happening or why they cannot escape, it is therefore of course important to prevent fires from occurring by taking the necessary safety precautions.

Some of these risks can be mitigated with a responsible approach to smoking and the disposal of cigarettes. However, the only way to completely ensure both your safety and health, and the wellbeing of your pet, is to quit smoking for good.

If you are struggling to quit smoking on your own there is support available to help make the process easier and more comfortable. Visiting the Harley Street Stop Smoking Clinic for stop smoking hypnotherapy has helped countless people to overcome the habit of smoking that kept them trapped for so long.