Pet owners warned over smoking
Smokers are being urged to think of the effects cigarette fumes can have on their pets.
The Darlington Primary Health Care Trust is releasing guidance to animal owners to help them reduce the risk of passive smoking.
Darcy Brown, the trust's Smoking Cessation Specialist, said it is easy to forget the impact on pets.
He said: "We should be very concerned.
"A lot of people have pets in the home and treat them as if they were humans, value them greatly, care for them, spend a lot of time and money looking after them and then don't realise the effects passive smoking can have upon those pets."
The trust has issued advice to pet owners which includes smoking away from their animals and being aware of the possible effects such as red eyes and changes in breathing.
Mr Brown said: "Children are often accorded the care and attention that they need with regard to second hand smoke and we advocate that more and more these days.
"But pets are often not considered to the same extent and pets are often sat next to their owners or even on their laps while their owners are smoking and therefore they get a lot of the chemicals."
He said the smaller size of animals' respiratory system can make them more vulnerable to the effects of smoke.