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YOU COULD BE KILLING YOUR PET: The Effects of Second-Hand Smoke on Their Health

Sometimes, what we won't do for ourselves, we will do for our pet. Hopefully, giving up smoking is one of them.

Living with a smoker puts your dog, cat, and/or bird at much greater risk for health problems.

The chances of nasal cancer in long-nosed dogs, who have more surface area for the carcinogens to accumulate, are 250% higher than dogs living in non-smoking homes. Short nose dogs have less surface area, so they develop lung cancer instead. Both are more likely to have eye infections, respiratory problems, and allergies than dogs living in smoke free homes.

Cats also have short noses, and, like their canine counterparts are more likely to develop lung cancer. Unlike dogs, cats chances for developing lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes) greatly increases when living in a smoky environment.

Cats also have the added problem of "third-hand" smoke. The carcinogen-filled residue and smoke coats the furniture, carpet, and even your cat's fur. Since cats are frequent groomers, the carcinogens enter their mouths, causing oral squamous cell carcinoma, an aggressive mouth cancer. Cats can also get COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) just like humans.

Some of the dangerous chemicals found in cigarette smoke include:

  • Nicotine

  • Hydrogen cyanide

  • Formaldehyde

  • Lead

  • Arsenic

  • Ammonia

  • Radioactive elements, such as polonium-210

  • Benzene

  • Carbon monoxide

Second-hand smoke doesn't affect only dogs and cats, but birds, small mammals/pocket pets, aquarium fish, reptiles and herps (frogs, salamanders, etc).

Birds, who are sensitive to air pollution, are likely to develop pneumonia and are at a higher risk of skin, heart, eye, and fertility problems when living in a home with smokers.

Small mammals (rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice), reptiles and herps, also are susceptible to the effects of second and even third degree smoke (if they lick their pet parents clothing or skin). You simply cannot inhale a long list of carcinogens for a length of time and expect to be okay.

Scientists have found that even fish, especially aquarium fish) can be negatively affected by cigarettes. Nicotine, is water soluble, and can infect the tank. If it accumulates, it can cause muscle spasms, ridged fins, color loss and eventually, death from nicotine poisoning.

If we know that we are doing this to our pets (not to mention our children) it behooves us to get the determination to stop smoking. It will give you and your pet a better quality and of life and even more time to spend together.


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