How Does Passive Smoking Affect Your Pet

by Dr Madi Hewitson MRCVS
Couple holding a dog

Exposure to smoke in the home is having a direct impact on our pets. There is a risk of ongoing cell damage and an increased risk of certain cancers. Pets spend much of their time within the home breathing in second-hand smoke and coming into contact with carcinogenic particles that can settle on the carpets and furniture. 

Dogs can take in significant amounts of smoke when living in a smoking household and research shows that cats are even more affected. This may be due to the extensive self-grooming that cats do, as this would increase the number of particles taken into the body. 

Our vets are very aware of the implications of passive smoking in pets and the damage that it can cause to their health. These concerns are further supported by Professor Clare Knottenbelt, Professor of Small Animal Medicine and Oncology at Glasgow University’s Small Animal Hospital. She studied the effects of smoking and the health impact it has on family dogs and cats. She stated: “We are all aware of the risks to our health of smoking and it is important we do everything we can to encourage people to stop smoking. As well as the risk to the smoker, there is the danger of second-hand smoke to others. Pet owners often do not think about the impact that smoking could have on their pets’ She concluded “Whilst you can reduce the amount of smoke your pet is exposed to by smoking outdoors and by reducing the number of tobacco products smoked by the members of the household, stopping smoking completely is the best option for your pet’s future health and wellbeing.”