Are you concerned about your pet being exposed to secondhand smoke? If your answer is "Yes," then you've come to the right place; this guide will help you ensure that they live a happy and healthy life.
We know that about 50,000 Americans lose their lives every year due to secondhand smoke, while a whopping 16% of youth live in a smoking household. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough statistics when it comes to your pets and secondhand smoke, all we know is that more than 30% of pet owners live in a household with at least one smoker.
Tobacco, Secondhand Smoke, and Pets – What Science Says?
Several recent studies show that tobacco and secondhand smoke, are not only hazardous to other people around you, but also to your beloved pets. In fact, secondhand smoke from tobacco cigarettes has been associated with different types of cancers in canines as well as felines. Moreover, several allergies and eye and skin diseases and respiratory problems in dogs, cats, and birds have been associated with secondhand smoke.
How does smoking affect pets?
Pets can be affected by a smoking habit in many ways, including by:
- inhaling secondhand smoke.
- eating cigarette cigar butts, which contain a huge amount of tar, nicotine, and other hazardous toxins.
- eating nicotine replacement patches or gums or drinking e-liquids.
- drinking water contaminated by cigar or cigarette butts.
- licking their fur that contains chemicals from cigarette smoke.
What are the side effects of secondhand smoke for pets?
Side effects of secondhand smoke for pets include:
- Excessive salivation
- Lymphoma in cats
- Lung cancer in dogs
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Abnormalities in respiratory system
- Asthmatic-like symptoms
- Cardiovascular abnormalities
- Obesity (especially in dogs)
- Reproductive disorders
- Excitement and increased heartbeat
- Tremors, twitching, or seizures
What are the dangers of secondhand smoke for dogs?
The most common issue dogs living in a smoking household face is cancer. Breeds with longer muzzles are more prone to sinus cancer, while breeds with shorter muzzles are more prone to lung cancer. Dogs that live with smokers are also comparatively more obese, and obesity can welcome a variety of other disorders.
What are the dangers of secondhand smoke for cats?
Cats can inhale secondhand smoke, but they can also lick up toxic substances accumulated on their fur from smoke when they groom themselves by licking their fur. This licking can result in ingestion of carcinogens and can cause mouth cancer. Cats living with smokers are at a higher risk of developing malignant lymphoma as well as squamous cell carcinoma.
What are the dangers of secondhand smoke for small animals?
Small animals such as rodents and birds are very sensitive to air pollution, including secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke can cause pneumonia, lung cancer, and respiratory issues in birds. A study conducted on rabbits living with smokers confirmed that they were at a higher risk of developing heart issues than the rabbits living in a smoke-free area.
The Good News
Everyone loves their pets, and many people make several changes in their lifestyle to make sure their pets are happy and healthy. In 2008, Tobacco Control published the results of a survey which revealed some interesting facts. According to the results, almost one-third of the participants said that after finding out that smoking is also bad for their pets, they are more motivated to quit. Almost 10%, after learning the potential risks of secondhand smoke to their pets, said they would ask their partners to quit.
How to Ensure Your Pet’s Safety… Until You Quit Smoking.
Quitting smoking is in your best interest, as well as the best interest of your pets and of the people around you. However, it may take a while to fully kick the habit. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that your smoking affects your pets as little as possible.
- If you must smoke, step outside and never do it in the presence of your pet.
- Never leave the pack of cigarettes/cigars, nicotine patches or gums, snuff, chewing tobacco, e-liquids, or the butts where you pets can have access. Always keep your ashtrays clean.
- Use a high-quality air purifier to get rid of excessive toxins.
- Even if you smoke outside, particles of smoke can get stuck into your clothes. Therefore, it’s good to wash them or at least air them before going near your pets.
- If you’ve smoked and are going to touch your pets, make sure to wash your hands.
- Likewise, washing your hair is also a good idea.
Taking these small precautions can go a long way when it comes to the well-being of your pets. They make your life more fun and more interesting, and you owe it to them not to endanger their health.