Smokers should not light up around their pets, as it can cause a host of serious health issues, warns The Vet.
The clinic has issued its stark warning as ‘Stoptober’, the 28-day stop smoking challenge from Public Health England, gets underway.
The Vet has seen cases of dogs and cats brought into the clinic with asthma -like breathing problems, which are either caused or exacerbated by passive smoking.
A study by the University of Glasgow has also established a direct link between the effects on pets living in a smoking environment and a higher risk of health problems including some animal cancers, cell damage and weight gain. Previous research, by Tufts University, near Boston, U.S., also found that cats that live with smokers are twice as likely to develop Feline Lymphoma, a serious cancer of the blood and immune system.
Hermann Heyl, Clinical Director at The Vet Waltham Forest, said: “We all know the dangers of smoking and the negative effects of second-hand smoke on those around us. However, many people are not so aware that pets in the household can be badly affected by passive smoking. It’s an issue that has largely been ignored and we felt there was a real need to let people know that pets’ health could be compromised.
“Cats, in particular, are at risk as they self-groom throughout the day, so will ingest dangerous amounts of carcinogens. Smaller animals also can be at great risk too.”
As well as quitting smoking altogether, there are alternative ways people can lessen the harm inflicted on pets and other members of the family by second-hand smoke.
To minimize the risks to pets, The Vet recommends the following measures:
- Smoke outside. Smoking only outdoors will prevent a large share of smoke particles from settling into your home or car.
- Use a high-quality air purifier in your home to help remove excess toxins.
- Change your clothes after smoking, and wash your clothing right away, or at the very least, air clothes outside.
- Wash your hands after smoking, and before you touch your pets
- Keep ashtrays clean – don’t leave them for your pets to find.
The Vet is a revolutionary new type of veterinary clinic. Currently with six practices in the UK (Bristol, Morden, Nottingham, Waltham Forest, Liverpool, Southampton), The Vet offers the flexibility of a walk-in no appointment service for consultations.