CATAULA, Ga. – Thetruth.com, an online advocacy group, is out with a new campaign aimed at protecting pets from secondhand smoke. You may have noticed the display in pet stores.
Dr. Anna Graves is a local veterinarian. She’s read the research. She says secondhand smoke can cause asthma and other conditions in pets. Cats are particularly vulnerable when it comes to asthma.
“There’s for sure a direct correlation between asthma in cats and dogs and smokers for sure that we know of. Asthma in cats in particular can be life threatening. They can get into a position where they absolutely cannot breathe and then we have to hospitalize them and give them medications,” said Dr. Graves of Cataula Veterinary Hospital.
Cancer is a major concern for pets in households where there are smokers.
“We know that they inhale the secondhand smoke, and pets also groom themselves, cats in particular, so they ingest the toxins that way as well.”
More research is needed because Dr. Graves says there are no concrete numbers on which kinds of cancers are showing an increase in pets.
“But we certainly know there is increased incidents of cancer particularly lymphoma in cats in households where people smoke.”
Researchers did study whether pets suffer more harm from secondhand smoke indoors or outdoors.
“And what they found is that regardless of whether or not you smoke inside your home your pets are still having those toxins affect their lungs and their bodies.”
Some signs your pet may be in trouble include difficulty breathing, open mouth breathing, and dogs who won’t lie down but prefer sitting straight up.
Some things you can do to protect your pets include, shower and change clothing after smoking before you interact with your pets, and clean their bedding and anything that absorbs smoke on a regular basis.