I’m sure that you are well aware of the devastating effects that second hand smoke has on the members of your family. However, did you know that your habit is also putting your pet at risk? According to the ASPCA, the nicotine present in the smoke emanated from cigarettes affects the central nervous systems of cats and dogs. In a way, this announcement does not come as a surprise considering that our furry friends share a rather common physiology with humans.
Your pet is the perfect victim
If you though second hand smoking was dangerous, wait till you hear about third hand smoke. A growing number of studies have revealed just how dangerous third hand smoke is for pets and nonsmokers. In case you didn’t know, third hand smoke represents that mixture of gases, particles and toxins that tend to cling on to smokers’ cloths, hair, furniture as well as anything in their proximity while they’re puffing.
As you can see, unless you have a “doggy door” that allows easy access in and out of the house for your pet, your cat or your dog is going to be trapped in a highly polluted environment. The dangers your pet is exposed do not come solely from the smoke filled air it is constantly inhaling. Considering that it will sit on the floor, furniture as well as in your lap and then start grooming itself, there is no denying the fact that they are also ingesting the harmful toxins presents there.
As a side note, recent research has revealed that cigarette smoke is also affecting birds mostly because their respiratory system is more sensitive to airborne pollutants. Therefore, constant expose to smoke can cause your bird to develop pneumonia, lung cancer, coughing, wheezing, fertility issues as well as eye, skin and heart problems.
And that’s not all!
In addition to the second and third hand effects of smoke, there are other more or less surprising ways you are slowly killing your pet with your habit. Therefore, if you normally keep the ashtray in a location that your pet can easily reach, then it is very probable that it will ingest the butts and ashes. This is particularly likely to happen to dog owners, since these faithful animals are not as pretentious as cats when it comes to “food”.
It is necessary to mention the fact that patches, gums and other products containing nicotine can be lethal for your beloved pet. Essentially, the concentration of 0.1 milligrams of nicotine commonly found in cigarettes and other tobacco products is not harmful for humans. However, the same concentration of nicotine ingested by a pet reported at its average body weight could mean around 10 milligrams, a fatal quantity for small pets. And, these numbers are just for the standard cigarette, not the butt that actually contains a high concentration of nicotine of between 4 and 8 grams, depending on the brand.
The pet health conditions associated with second hand smoking
Despite the fact that veterinarians have suspected it for a while now, the fact that second hand smoke is the leading factor for cancer in cats and dogs was only confirmed a few years ago. It all begins with minor signs like breathing problems and allergic reactions for dogs (similar to when they have flees) and asthma-like symptoms for cats. Most of the times, the aforementioned symptomatology is accompanied by more serious indicators that you cannot afford to ignore, such as excessive salivation, diarrhea, twitching, tremors, racing heart, hallucinations, overexcitement, etc.
If the pet continues to be exposed to smoke from cigarettes, cigars or pipes, then it will surely develop cancer in time. The most prevalent cancer for cats is the mouth carcinoma, which an abundance of studies show it is significantly higher for cats living in the same environment with smokers. As you most likely figured it out, this is mainly due to the cats’ grooming habits.
For dogs and particularly long nose breeds, the most common carcinoma due to second hand smoke is the nose cancer (a longer nose means a higher surface area that is exposed to carcinogen particles). However, the short and medium length nosed dogs are not completely safe either, as they are more prone to develop lung cancer.
Unfortunately for smokers, the only way you can efficiently protect your pet from all of the abovementioned health issues is to kick the habit altogether. Alternatively, you can consider an electronic cigarette for indoors.
Hello I’m Chad, a writer for optimagics.com and one of my latest interests consists of informing pet owners about the dangers of second hand smoke for their four legged buddies.