It is well documented by the Surgeon General and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that secondhand smoke exposure causes heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults and children.
But did you know that secondhand smoke can also harm pets?
In several studies conducted at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, dogs that live with smokers were more likely to have cancer than dogs that lived with non-smokers.
What Does the Length of the Nose Matter?
Longer-nosed dogs were more prone to cancer in the nose, but shorter-nosed dogs showed a higher incidence of lung cancer.
According to Carolynn MacAllister, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service veterinarian,
“longer nosed breeds of dogs have a great surface area in their noses that is exposed to the carcinogens. The carcinogens tend to build up on the mucous membranes of long nosed dogs so not as much reaches the lungs.
The reason short and medium nose dogs have a higher occurrence of lung cancer is because their shorter nasal passages aren’t as effective at accumulating the inhaled secondhand smoke carcinogens,” she said. “This results in more carcinogens reaching the lungs.”
If You Smoke
If you do smoke, keep tobacco products out of the reach of pets as cigarettes, cigarette butts and other forms of tobacco can cause nicotine poising if ingested. Secondhand smoke harms pets and others living in your household, smoke outside or ensure there is adequate ventilation where you smoke.
The best solution to ensure your health and the health of your loved ones and pets is to quit. So if you need another reason to quit smoking, remember that secondhand smoke is harmful to both your family and your pets.
Secondhand Smoke Harms Pets
(Source: The American Lung Association; www.nhlung.org)
• Dogs that inhale secondhand smoke are three times more likely to develop lung or nasal cancer than dogs living in a smoke-free environment.
• Dogs can experience allergic reactions to secondhand smoke. Common symptoms are scratching, biting, and chewing of their skin – which owners often confuse with fleas or food allergies.
• Cigarette butt consumption can be deadly; just two cigarettes, if eaten by a puppy, can be deadly.
• Cats exposed to secondhand smoke in the home have a higher rate of oral cancer. This may be due to the poisons from the smoke that have settled on the fur, which they ingest during grooming.
• Cats exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher rate of feline lymphoma, a deadly form of cat cancer, than cats not exposed to secondhand smoke.
• Cats can develop respiratory problems, lung inflammation, and asthma as a result of secondhand smoke.
Note: This story has been adapted from material provided by Oklahoma State University, and Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Secondhand smoke harms pets and people