Second-hand Smoke and Your Pets

30 09 2010

We’ve all heard of the effects second-hand smoke has on people, but what about the affects it has on our animals. Think it affects them differently or not all? Think again.

If you’ve used every excuse in the book to NOT quit smoking, maybe after reading this you’ll be compelled to revisit your decision. New studies have shown ample evidence that inhaling second-hand smoke can cause cancer in our pets. For starters, A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that dogs in smoking households had a 60 percent greater risk of lung cancer; a different study published in the same journal showed that long-nosed dogs, such as collies or greyhounds, were twice as likely to develop nasal cancer if they lived with smokers, while our shorter snouted pets, like pugs, are more likely to develop lung cancer. Sadly, dogs who are inflicted with nasal cancer rarely survive more than a year.

Still not convinced? A separate study done by Tuft’s University shows that cats who live in a home with smokers are three times as likely to develop lymphoma – the most common of feline cancers.

Pet birds are also affected by second-hand smoke, as their respiratory systems are extremely sensitive to ANY airborne pollutants.

The smoke is not only inhaled by your pets, but it also is absorbed by their fur. One of the reason cats are so susceptible to the affects of second-hand smoke is because of their grooming habits. Cats constantly lick themselves when grooming, which means they are ingesting the cancer-causing agents from the smoke right from their fur.

Inhaling isn’t the only problem. Cats, especially, are naturally curious and can eat cigarettes or other tobacco products if they are not kept out of reach. If ingested, this can cause nicotine poisoning which is almost always fatal.

The lack of awareness of the effects of second-hand smoke on our pets is astonishing. Veterinarians aren’t talking to their patients about the effects of second-hand smoke on their companion animals. In fact, according to recent articles in various journals, most veterinarians aren’t even aware of the study done by Tuft’s University or in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Warning signs that your pet may be in danger are chronic coughing, unexplained weight loss, sneezing, abnormal fatigue, nasal discharge or swelling in the nose or sinus area.

The obvious choice, of course, is not to smoke. If you’re not ready to quit, then do your pets a favor and don’t smoke near them, go outside.



One response

2 10 2010
H Wolf

Excellent article…

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