The British Heart Foundation will be holding its annual No Smoking Day on 9th March, which aims to help smokers give up their habit by taking the first step towards quitting. MedicAnimal, the UK’s leading online pet retailer, is calling on pet owners to consider their animals’ health as further motivation in giving up their habit.
The negative health effects of smoking on, not just the smoker, but also on those around them through passive smoking, are well known. However, many pet owners are not aware that second-hand smoke can have very serious consequences for their animal too. As with humans, there is a strong link between inhaling cigarette smoke and cancer, asthma, and lung disease in animals. Furthermore, a study by the University of Glasgow has shown that cats are particularly at risk when they are exposed to smoke. Cats groom themselves frequently throughout the day, which leads to them ingesting a large amount of dangerous particles which become trapped in their fur if they are around smoke. This is linked to an increased rate of mouth cancer.
Furthermore, the ingestion of tobacco can be extremely harmful for animals and can lead to stomach problems, cardiac abnormalities, and even nicotine poisoning. This can cause your pet to have seizures, experience erratic behaviour, and even death.
Andrew Bucher, Chief Veterinary Officer at MedicAnimal, the UK’s leading online pet healthcare retailer, said:
“The harmful health effects of exposing your pet to second-hand smoke are very clear – if you are smoking around your pet, you are harming its health. As a vet, I have seen far too many preventable cases of diseases like bronchitis and cancer in smokers’ pets. I advise all pet owners to never smoke in parts of the house that your animal has access to and, preferably, not to smoke in the house at all. Even if owners smoke in the garden, they must always be sure to wash their hands before they handle their pet to avoid harmful particles being transferred. Tobacco products must never be left within reach of pets.
“Take your pet to the vet if they develop a persistent, hacking cough, and if you suspect your pet has ingested tobacco, make sure you take them to an emergency vet as soon as possible.
“The only way to fully minimise the risk of smoking for pets is to quit smoking altogether. Not only will owners save money on buying cigarettes, they will also likely save money on vet bills too, as their pet becomes healthier and happier. Pets can’t speak up for themselves when they are uncomfortable or unwell, so owners should try and make their living environment as safe and healthy as possible for their animal.”