Passive Smoking Can Harm Pets

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Passive smoking can harm pets
25th February 2013

by Sandra Pearce


In light of a recent government anti-smoking campaign, a veterinary surgery is urging smokers to be aware of the health risks posed to their pets as a result of passive smoking.

A spokesman said: “Animals are particularly susceptible to the dangers of passive smoking due to the fact that they constantly lick their fur, which holds the residue of nicotine and tar.  This is especially true of cats, who are more likely to groom themselves.  As a result, cats in a smoking household are 2.5 times more likely to develop cancer, specifically lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes), than a cat who is not exposed to smoke.”

Long-nosed dogs, such as collies, are 2.5 times more likely to develop nasal cavity cancers if they are surrounded by smoke.  Short-to-medium-nosed dogs, such as bulldogs and pugs, are 1.6 times more likely to develop lung cancer as they directly inhale the smoke.

The toxic dose of nicotine for dogs is between 20-100 mg and a cigarette contains 15-30 mg, meaning that chewing less than one cigarette could seriously harm a dog’s health.

Julian Peters, owner of Arthur Lodge Veterinary Group, said: “Many people only think of passive smoking in regard to humans but it is just as much a concern for animals who live in smoking household.  As well as cancer, it can also be a factor in other respiratory diseases such as bronchitis.

“I would urge all owners to keep on top of health checks for their pets if they are exposed to smoke inhalations, helping us to spot early signs. This is particularly true for dental checks, which can pick up mouth cancer.  It is also vital to keep up with brushing and grooming to remove any toxins from their fur. Try and keep nicotine-related products out of their reach as they can be quite curious creatures.”