The following is an extract from a recent publication by The Royal Veterinary College, University of London.
“Studies have found that dogs living in homes with smokers have significantly higher levels of cotinine (a product of nicotine) in their blood. This proves that dogs are absorbing nicotine through second-hand smoke.
It has also been demonstrated that environmental exposure to tobacco smoke increases the risk of dogs developing cancer of the nasal cavity, sinuses and lungs.
The more cigarettes, cigars or pipe tobacco humans living with dogs smoke, the higher the chance that their pet will get cancer.
Cats living in households where people smoke have more than double the risk of developing malignant lymphoma (white blood cell cancer) than cats in homes where nobody smokes.
This risk increases over time, with cats exposed for five years being more than three times as likely to develop the disease.
In addition to absorbing the toxins in tobacco by breathing it in, as pets groom themselves they can ingest toxins that collect on their fur. Another risk to pets is discarded cigarette butts that if swallowed by a pet can cause gastrointestinal problems or nicotine toxicity.
Although e-cigarettes do not emit smoke like traditional cigarettes, they pose a risk to pets if cartridges are swallowed. These contain higher levels of nicotine than cigarettes, and consequently can lead to potentially fatal nicotine toxicity if they are consumed by a pet.
The scent and flavour of the liquid in cartridges can be enticing to pets, which increases the risk of ingestion.
The respiratory systems of birds are especially susceptible to airborne contaminants and, as a result, living in households with smokers poses a number of health risks. They have a heightened risk of developing lung cancer and pneumonia, and are also more likely to have problems with their heart, eyes and skin.”
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