Smoking and pets

We all know about the dangers of second hand smoke for children – but did you know that it affects your pets as well?

Cats 

When cats groom themselves they lick up carcinogens that have accumulated on their fur from the tobacco smoke.

This can cause mouth cancer and more commonly malignant lymphoma - cats are twice as likely to have this type of cancer compared to cats living in a non-smoking home and it is fatal to three out of four cats within 12 months of developing the cancer.

Dogs

A dog’s life is through his nose and dogs in a smoker’s home have a 60% risk for developing nasal cancer – those affected normally do not survive more than one year.

Dogs with short and medium-noses are more susceptible to lung cancer, because their shorter nasal passages aren't as effective at accumulating the inhaled second-hand smoke carcinogens. This results in more carcinogens reaching the lungs.

Birds

A bird’s respiratory system is hypersensitive to any type of pollutant in the air – which is why they were used to detect dangerous gases in mines.

The most serious consequences of second-hand smoke exposure in birds are pneumonia or lung cancer. Other health risks include eye, skin, heart and fertility problems.

Symptoms

Lung cancer may induce a chronic cough which doesn’t bring up any mucus or phlegm, and other respiratory signs such as trouble breathing or shortness of breath.

Oral cancer symptoms include seeing a mass in the mouth, increased drooling, swelling of the face, foul breath and weight loss or loss of appetite as they find it painful or difficult to eat.

Nasal cancer symptoms include a grey, green or bloody discharge and sneezing.

If you feel your pet is showing any of these symptoms, or is lethargic and shows a loss of appetite or weight loss, take them to your vet for a check up.