Smokers double their pets’ risk of cancer

7 June 2013

The harmful effects of secondhand smoke can be displayed in not only humans, but their pets, as well. According to new health research by Buckinghamshire SmokeFree Support Service, cats and dogs who live in a smoker’s home are twice as likely to develop cancer. Smaller pets and birds can be affected as well.

Cats owned by smokers are more susceptible to feline lymphoma, a form of cancer that affects the blood and immune system. Meanwhile, dogs frequently exposed to tobacco smoke are twice as likely to develop lung and nose cancer. Canines with long snouts, like greyhounds and lurchers, are especially prone to nasal cancer.

Veterinary charity Pet Health Care and Pet Advice (PDSA) supports the research. Their senior vet, Elaine Pendlebury, said: “The effects of secondhand smoke on humans are well documented, but it has only recently begun to be understood in relation to pets. Animals breathe in smoke, but it can also settle on fur. As pets groom themselves they ingest the toxins, so they can be exposed to higher levels of harmful chemicals than humans.”

Smoking in the presence of pets can also give them bronchitis or lead to severe asthma.

Smokers are urged to have a cancer test done to assess their overall health. In addition, they should take their pets to the vet for frequent check-ups. The best way to prevent cancer from developing is to drop the habit altogether.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...



© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)