We all know that smoking harms your health, but how about your pet? Will cigarette smoke harm your pet? Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds and some of these are chemicals commonly used as ingredients in mothballs, floor cleaners, pesticides and paint strippers. While many studies have shown that exposure to these chemicals can increase humans’ chances of heart disease, lung cancer and other cancers, some recent animal studies have shown that exposure to these chemicals can also increase the risk of these diseases in pets.

Dogs with long noses are at an even greater risk of developing certain nasal and sinus cancers, as they expose more tissue to the carcinogens when they inhale. Following known exposure, chemicals from cigarette smoke can be found in animals’ bodies for a long period of time. In fact, measurable levels of carcinogens can be found in dogs’ hair and urine for several months after exposure.

Cats exposed to secondhand smoke have an increased chance of developing squamous cell carcinoma, a type of oral cancer commonly found in humans that smoke tobacco, possibly because the carcinogens in tobacco smoke can settle on a cat’s fur and be ingested when the cat grooms itself.

Pets can also have strong reactions to smoke particles in the air. Just like members of their human families, pets can develop respiratory infections, lung inflammation and asthma when exposed to secondhand smoke.

Source: www.drugs.health.gov.au and AAHA healthypet.