About Pets and Tobacco
People are becoming more aware of the harmful effects of secondhand smoke on non-smokers. Another vulnerable population that is often overlooked is our pets. Our animals share our environment and breathe the same air – when that air is filled with the toxins from cigarette smoke, they can suffer many of the same consequences, such as cancer and respiratory illness.
- Second hand smoke residue settles on every surface, including fur and feathers. When cats groom themselves, they are ingesting the toxins from the tobacco smoke. Cats exposed to second hand smoke have twice the risk of feline lymphoma (cancer). Dogs living with smokers develop more cancer as well. Breeds with long noses tend to get more nasal tumors. Breeds with shorter noses tend to get more lung cancer.
- Symptoms of second hand smoke may look like allergies in your pet. Watery, irritated eyes, itchy, dry skin and coughing or wheezing may all be signs of reactions to exposure to second hand smoke.
- Pets may ingest cigarette butts or nicotine patches or gum. The nicotine in these by-products and cessation products is toxic. Call a veterinarian immediately if you think your pets has swallowed any form of nicotine.