Pets at risk of developing health problems due to passive smoking

Smokers are being urged to give up smoking for the sake of the health of their pets.

An ongoing study has found that pets that are exposed to second-hand smoke are more at risk of developing certain health problems.

Scientists at the University of Glasgow discovered links between pets in a smoking in environment and animal illnesses such as cancer, cell damage and weight gain.

The researchers found that cats were more at risk than dogs from passive smoking, because of extensive self-grooming.

The study found that smoking can risk ongoing cell damage and contribute to weight gain in pets. Credit: PA Images

Dogs which had been castrated were found to be more likely to put on weight than those in a smoke-free home.

Clare Knottenbelt, Professor of Small Animal Medicine and Oncology at the university's Small Animal Hospital, said that the findings show that exposure to smoke in the home has a direct impact on animals.

The study found dogs living with a smoker owner gained more weight after neutering than those in a non-smoking household. Credit: PA Images

Victoria Smith, who is investigating the links between passive smoking and lymphoma, a cancer of the blood cells in cats, said that pet owners who smoke away from their cats reduce, but do not eradicate the risk.

She said that stopping smoking completely was the best option for the future health and well-being of pets.

The study is ongoing and the research paper is expected to be published in 2016.