PET owners are being warned to stop lighting up around their pets - because the toxic fumes could harm or kill them.

To coincide with National No Smoking Day on March 14, vet charity PDSA is urging owners to quit the bad habit for their pets’ sake.

Second-hand smoke has been long been linked to fatal diseases in humans, including lung cancer and heart disease.

However, PDSA says the impact of passive smoking on pets is just as serious and just as avoidable.

PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan described how many pet owners are unaware of the risks, adding :”If they knew, I’m sure they would want to protect them.”

She continued: “Our vets and nurses regularly see the devastating impact smoking can have on pets.

“Problems range from issues like asthma and chronic coughing through to fatal conditions. Cancers such as lymphoma, for example, are twice as likely in cats exposed to cigarette smoke.

“Recent studies highlight this is a really serious issue. We want pet owners to know they can make a real difference by simply choosing to smoke outdoors away from their pets.

“Thanks to funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we’ve launched a campaign to raise awareness of the issue.

“We want pet owners to realise that, if they smoke, their pets smoke too.”

According to PDSA, different pets are affected in different ways by the effects of passive smoking.

Dogs are prone to smoking-related breathing problems and there are links between smoke and difficult-to-treat nasal and sinus cancers in longer nosed dogs.

In cats, their grooming habits mean smoke lands on their fur and, as they groom, they lick off the cancer-causing chemicals, which can be a factor in the development of mouth cancers.

Cigarette smoke can also be harmful to pet birds and small pets - such as rabbits and guinea pigs - as they have very sensitive respiratory systems.

For more information and advice on how to keep pets safe, visit