Puff the Magic Dragon may have survived living by the sea with a little smoke coming his way but your dog and cat might not be so lucky. According to Heather Wilson-Robles, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science, studies show that dogs exposed to large amounts of secondhand smoke have changes in their lung tissue over time.
This isn't too surprising, since dogs' and cats' lungs are virtually the same as humans.
There are some areas where dogs differ from humans though. Snouts, for example. Studies suggest that muzzle length plays a role in the type of cancer a dog is likely to develop from secondhand smoke.
According to a survey of recent research at Livescience.com, dogs with long muzzles are more likely to develop nose and sinus cancers, since their noses and sinuses have more surface area on which carcinogens can accumulate, while dogs with short and medium-length muzzles are more likely to develop lung cancer.
Cats are more prone to develop cancers of the mouth and lymph nodes because of secondhand smoke. When cats groom themselves, they lick up the toxic substances that have accumulated on their fur. That puts their mouth at risk for cancer causing carcinogens.
Dogs and cats aren't the only ones affected. Birds are extremely sensitive to air pollutants and are at risk for lung cancer and pneumonia when exposed to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke has also been found to cause heart problems in rabbits.
If you can't throw your stogies away there are a few things that can help.
Quit smoking around your pets and wash your hands after smoking before you touch your pet or anything it may come in contact with.
Nicotine in cigarettes is very toxic to pets if they ingest it so keeping cigarettes out of your house is always the best bet for everyone, pet owners included!