Passive smoking is when we breathe in smoke from other people's cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. We are all aware of the risks of passive smoking in people, and especially children, but did you know that it is actually damaging our pets’ health as well?
Why does second-hand smoke affect pets?
Most pets breathe in second-hand smoke in their home. This exposure to smoke in the home is having a direct impact on pets.
Even if you open up the windows or doors, smoke still spreads around your home. Almost 85% of tobacco smoke is invisible so you might not notice how far it spreads. The toxic particles from smoke can build up on surfaces and clothes.
Research has shown that dogs can take in significant amounts of smoke when living in a smoking household. Cats seem to be affected even more than their canine counterparts. This is because smoke particles settle on their fur and cats then swallow these when they’re grooming themselves. For both cats and dogs, having access to outside areas and fresh air doesn’t seem to make a difference to the amount of smoke they’re exposed to inside the home.
There hasn’t been any research yet into the effect of passive smoking on other pets, like rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters or budgies, but any animals living inside your home are vulnerable to second-hand smoke.
How does passive smoking affect pets?
Pets suffer form a lot of the same conditions as humans do from passive smoking:
- Toxins in tobacco smoke can damage your pet’s cells. This can mean they’re more at risk of certain types of cancer
- Smoke can cause breathing problems or make existing breathing problems worse.
- Second hand smoke can cause a whole range of other problems too, from skin conditions to weight gain.
Lowering the risks if your pet lives in a smoking household
Many owners aren’t aware of the impact on their pets. When they realise the effect passive smoking has they choose to smoke outside of their home as a way to reduce their pet’s exposure to the harmful chemicals. Other ways you can help to reduce the risk include:
- Smoking outside to prevent damaging particles collecting on carpets and furniture.
- Don’t leave cigarette butts or ash trays in easy access of pets.
- Wash your hands after smoking.
- Regularly clean and steam carpets to reduce the toxic particles from collecting in the home.
Although you can reduce the amount of smoke your pet is exposed to by going outside, stopping smoking completely is the best option for your pet’s future health and wellbeing.