VETS in Swindon have urged smokers to think again about their habit, not just for their own wellbeing but for that of their pets.

With the Stoptober quit smoking campaign now nearing its conclusion, many people will be making good progress towards putting the cigarettes down for good.

But the team at Eastcott Vets hope they can provide another push for those who need a little more inspiration.

Veterinary nurse and Eastcott Vets director Rachel Gowshall said: “All the research has shown that exposure to tobacco smoke in the home is having a direct harmful impact on household pets of all varieties.

“It risks ongoing cell damage and an increase in the risk of certain cancers.

“Pets spend much of their time within the home breathing in second-hand smoke and coming into contact with carcinogenic particles that can settle on the carpets and furniture.

“Dogs can take in significant amounts of smoke when living in a smoking household and research shows that cats are even more affected.

“This may be due to the extensive self-grooming that cats do, as this would increase the amount of smoke taken into the body.”

The team at Eastcott Vets know all too well what the repercussions of passive smoking in pets can be. They’ve seen dogs, cats and other animals pass through their doors having sustained damage at the hands of owners who had no idea of the harm they were doing to their beloved animals.

But they are not the only people to express concerns.

Professor Clare Knottenbelt, an expert in small animal medicine and oncology, has spent extensive periods studying the effects of smoking and the health impact it has on family dogs and cats.

“We are all aware of the risks to our health of smoking and it is important we do everything we can to encourage people to give up for good,” said Professor Knottenbelt.

“As well as the risk to the smoker, there is the danger of second-hand smoke to others.

“Pet owners often do not think about the impact that smoking could have on their pets.

“Whilst you can reduce the amount of smoke your pet is exposed to by smoking outdoors and by reducing the number of tobacco products smoked by the members of the household, stopping smoking completely is the best option for your pet’s future health and wellbeing.”