While no one has measured exactly how many pets die from secondhand smoke each year, vets know from lab tests and office visits that inhaling smoke causes cancers, allergic reactions, and inflammations in pets.
Several schools, including Tufts University’s School of Veterinary Medicine in Massachusetts and Colorado State University have studied the connection between secondhand smoke and cancer in pets. The results are discouraging; breathing in smoke can cause malignant lymphoma in cats, lung and nasal cancer in dogs, and various respiratory problems in both species.
Dogs are susceptible to smoke, but cats even more so, and it is important to make pet homes smoke free. Lymphoma is one of the leading causes of death in cats. Repeated exposure to smoke doubles a cat’s risk of getting cancer. Living with a smoker for five years or more quadruples the risk.
Symptoms of cancer include coughing, problems breathing or eating, excessive drooling, weight loss, nasal discharge, vomiting, and bleeding and sneezing. Cancer kills more dogs and cats than any other disease.
If you’re trying to quit smoking and turn to e-cigarettes, be careful how you store your cigarettes and accessories. Dogs are attracted to nicotine cartridges from e-cigarettes and can take them out of the trash. Make sure to store all parts of the cigarette along with any fluids used out of reach of pets and children.