We have been aware for a long time about the dangerous effects of passive smoking in humans and the overwhelming evidence led to important law changes in 2005 bringing in the smoking ban, it is also widely accepted, that second hand smoke can cause fatal disease in humans.
But, how much is known about how passive smoking affects our pets? Well In 2015, a study was conducted by the University of Glasgow to investigate and gain data about the long term effects of passive smoking in dogs and cats. The study centred on dogs and cats but we can also extrapolate the information to include rabbits and small furries. It revealed very worrying implications to the health of our closest companions.
It showed that dogs and cats were actually more affected than humans by passive smoking. It is known that nicotine and carcinogenic chemicals from smoke can settle on carpets/sofas and on their fur. This is called third hand smoke and is even more dangerous than directly inhaling smoke from cigarettes in the home.
Cats in particular are more severely affected and we think this is because cats spend more time grooming themselves. I can always tell immediately in the clinic if an animal is exposed to smoke in the home- they stink of smoke and I have even had the occasional old white cat looking a bit yellow....)
The study showed that cats were more likely to suffer from a type of cancer called lymphoma. Dogs are more susceptible to nasal and sinus cancers.
In both species, there can be an increase in respiratory disease likes asthma and some skin allergies too.
Surprisingly, evidence shows that neutered dogs from a smoking home are more likely to put on weight too.
With electronic cigarette use on the rise, there may be new risks for our pets from Vaping. Due to e-cigs being a very new form of nicotine delivery the amount of research that has been done on them is very low compared to conventional cigarettes and we do not yet know the extent of risk with vaping in humans, let alone our pets. So this year, if you are a smoking pet owner, please consider your new year resolution to quit. It is not acceptable to smoke in the presence of our children anymore so why should we be smoking in the presence of our pets? They do not have the choice to breathe in your fumes and cannot tell you to stop the puffin....
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