Pets and Quitting Smoking

Puppy

Your dog can be an invaluable aid in your quest to quit cigarettes. Here’s the scoop on 7 ways to enlist your best friend to help you kick the habit.

Do it for your dog. Studies show that way more people will attempt to quit smoking for the sake of their dog than for themselves or their human children. Nearly 30 percent of pet owners who smoke would try to quit if they learned that secondhand smoke could harm their pets. Fewer than 2 percent would do so for the sake of their children! (That study can’t be right — can it?)

Inhale the facts. Yes, secondhand smoke is really bad for dogs. It can even kill them, just like it can people.

Make your dog your exercise partner. Exercise can be a huge help in staying away from cigarettes. It keeps you busy, relieves stress, lessens depression, and makes you want to stay on the healthy track. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for people trying to stop smoking. Even the US government advocates it as a quitting aid. And who better to walk with than your dog, who lives for walks! Quitting is no walk in the park, but with your dog at your side, it can be.

Take advantage of your dog’s job title. When you stop smoking, you’re supposed to ask friends and family to be completely supportive and non-judgmental, and to be there even if you’re cranky from the difficulty of withdrawing from the habit. Can you think of anyone more non-judgmental and unconditionally supportive than your dog? Let your best friend be there for you. Give her hugs when days are tough. Talk to her. We promise she won’t give you any sass for grumbling too much.

Terrier Puppy

Make your dog an anti-smoking billboard. Buy your dog a T-shirt that will remind you of your goal every time you see him in it. When your dog is wearing clothing that implores you to quit smoking, you’ll find it harder to reach for a cancer stick. Start your shirt-shopping spree now. Just type dog t-shirt quit smoking into your favorite browser.

Train your dog as a smoke alarm. Some people train their dogs to be household smoke detectors who bark at the first sign of smoke. These dogs work as a kind of backup to the more traditional plastic versions of smoke detectors. If your dog is really good at this, she may go the next step and woof you into non-smoking submission. Herse one sites advice on how to make your dog a smoke alarm. (No batteries needed!)

Share your financial windfall with Fido. If you smoke a pack a day, you’ll save nearly $1,500 per year if you quit! Think of the fun you and your dog could have with that extra dough. You both deserve it! Take a little road trip together. Buy yourselves something you’ve each always wanted. To calculate how much you’ll save annually based on your smoking habits and cigarette brand, check out this calculator from smokefree.gov.

Written by Carol Maytum, Program Manager II, STAND Projects.

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