SPCA warning to pet owners: stop smoking and vaping around your pets


The SPCA urges people not to smoke or vape near their pets, as research shows that second-hand smoke and nicotine from e-cigarettes can have serious health effects in animals, just like humans.

New Zealand’s largest animal welfare charity warns pet owners on World No-Smoke Day to consider the potential long-term damage they could cause to their furry friends by smoking or by vaping near them.

SPCA chief science officer Alison Vaughan said that while there is a lot of awareness about the harms of tobacco smoke to humans, people may not be aware that animals exposed to these substances can also experience harms. similar health risks, including cancer and respiratory infections.

“Most owners would never intentionally harm their pets, but it’s important to realize the harm you might cause by smoking or vaping around your pets,” says Dr Vaughan. “Exposure to second-hand smoke has been linked to cancer in dogs and cats, as well as skin, eye and respiratory disease in birds, rabbits and guinea pigs. It can also affect fish, as the pollutants in the smoke easily dissolve in their water. “

Research also shows that second-hand smoke, residual nicotine and other chemicals left on clothes and surfaces of our homes and cars as a result of tobacco smoke pose a particular risk to animals. Because our animals spend a lot of time on or near the ground, they are exposed to higher concentrations of these residues which can be inhaled or ingested during grooming.

The rise in popularity of vaping has also introduced new risks that pet owners may not be aware of. Liquid nicotine used in vaping devices is absorbed faster and the concentration of nicotine may be higher than traditional cigarettes. Many of these products use flavored nicotine which can make them more appealing, especially to dogs. Ingesting even small amounts of nicotine can lead to nicotine poisoning.

“If you vape, be sure to keep the device and liquid nicotine in a safe place out of your pet’s reach. Keep your home and car smoke-free to reduce the risk of cancer and serious health problems for your family and pets, ”says Dr. Vaughan.

Last year, a bill to ban smoking in cars with children passed its final reading with the support of all parties. The SPCA warns that smoking in cars with pets poses similar risks to their health and well-being, and urges pet owners to keep their cars smoke-free.

“Smoke can build up in vehicles, even with the windows down. The law recognizes the health risks second-hand smoke in cars can cause to children, and research shows animals can experience the same effects. Inside a vehicle, animals can’t get away from second-hand smoke, so it’s important to keep our cars smoke-free, ”says Dr Vaughan.

Effects of second-hand smoke on cats:

Cats are known for their careful grooming, but when cats lick themselves, they can ingest dangerous carcinogens from the smoke that are absorbed through their fur. Cats in households exposed to secondhand smoke are almost 2.5 times more likely to develop malignant lymphoma than cats not exposed. The risk increases to 3.2 times more likely in cats exposed for five years or more.

Effects of second-hand smoke on dogs:

Dogs exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to suffer from a variety of illnesses, including nasal cancer, lung cancer, asthma, and bronchitis, than dogs that are not exposed. The shape of a dog’s head plays a role in which types of cancer are most likely to develop. Long-nosed dogs, like collies, are 250% more likely to develop nose cancer because their nasal passages have more surface area on which toxins can build up. Short-nosed breeds are more likely to develop lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.

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