How Smoking Affects Your Pet

Sparky Steps - How Smoking Affects Your Pet

How Smoking Affects Your Pet

Smoking can have extremely adverse affects on your pet. The harmful substances found in cigarettes such as nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide cause animals to develop the same problems that can arise from smoking as humans do. Some of these conditions include respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis or asthma, heart disease, multiple forms of cancer and nasal tumors. There are a number of ways that toxins from cigarettes can make their way into your pet’s system. The first being secondhand smoke. Breathing in cigarette smoke isn’t good for your furry friend’s health, and can lead to a number of health problems. However, one of the most overlooked ways that your pet is exposed to these substances is third-hand smoke. Third-hand smoke refers to residue that lingers on clothing, skin, hair, flooring and other surfaces long after the smoke has cleared the room. Pets are then exposed to these toxins when they lay over the impacted area, or even when you pet them. That’s why it’s important for pet owners who do smoke to wash their hands and frequently sanitize their home, as it minimizes their pet’s exposure to third-hand smoke. There have been multiple studies that all show a correlation between smoking and a decrease in overall health in animals. For example, in 2002, a study conducted at Tufts University found that cats who have owners that smoke are twice as likely to be diagnosed with malignant lymphoma, a form of cancer found in felines. Another study found that dogs are 60% more likely to develop lung cancer when their owners are smokers. In the case of canines, the length of the snout actually affects how the dog will be impacted by cigarette smoke. Dogs with a long snout have an extremely increased risk of developing nasal passage cancer, while short- snouted dogs have an increased risk of lung cancer. Secondhand and third-hand smoke aren’t the only ways that tobacco can harm your pets. If your pet ingests a cigarette butt, it can have a number of repercussions. Some of the effects of an ingested cigarette butt are drooling, trembling, vomiting, diarrhea or seizures. These are all potential symptoms of nicotine poisoning, which can prove fatal for pets. If your pet has ingested a cigarette butt and/or is displaying some of the symptoms above, contact your local animal hospital or call the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. If you are a smoker and have pets, there are a number of steps you can take to protect them. Of course, the ideal solution would be for you to quit smoking. If for some reason that isn’t an option, there are a number of other precautions you can take.
  • Only smoke outside
  • Remove your pets from the room if you do smoke inside
  • Diligently sanitize your hands and home
  • Change your clothing after smoking
  • Invest in an air purifier to help remove toxins
  • Dispose of all your nicotine products so they can’t be ingested by your pets

 

Written by Christian Harvey

 

Sources:

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