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The pressure to quit smoking can feel overwhelming in the modern age, but there are so many reasons why it is a good idea to quit. Plus, you now have an extra reason; your dog’s health.
FDA studies suggest that 58 million adults who do not smoke are exposed to tobacco smoke yearly. Figures might be even higher for pets.
Some studies even suggest that pets are at a higher risk from passive smoke. This makes sense when you think about it. The furry friends spend a lot of time on the floor and the particles from smoke linger in these areas. This is called “third-hand” smoke. This sort of residual smoke lingers on surfaces in your home, as well as fabric and carpets, and even animal fur.
Of course, if you are a smoker, you won’t need us to tell you that it is a good idea to quit. If you’re finding it difficult you can find help, and if you decide to keep smoking, there are things you can do to mitigate risks.
Increased Risk of Serious Disease in Pets Who Live With Smokers
Research that took place at the University of Glasgow showed a number of health problems that were linked with pets living with smokers. A higher cancer risk was shown, but also cell damage and obesity were more frequent in pets living with owners who smoke tobacco.
Another interesting and unexpected finding was that the dogs living with passive smoke had a higher risk of weight gain after being neutered or spayed. Researchers found that a gene that shows cellular damage was higher in smokers’ dogs rather than nonsmokers’. This gene is also closely linked to cancer.
The evidence for second and third-hand smoke harming dogs is not new, either. A study published in 1992 showed dogs from households where they were exposed to smoke had a 60 percent higher risk of lung cancer. Other studies have shown higher risks of asthma and bronchitis, the same sort of respiratory diseases that can be triggered in humans from second-hand smoke. A particularly worrying study from Colorado State University found that nasal tumors were more common in dogs living with smoking owners. These tumors were found more frequently in breeds such as retrievers, with longer noses. This type of cancer kills most dogs within a year of being diagnosed.
Passive Smoking Harms Other Pets, Too
Cats are also at risk when exposed to smoke. Studies have found that cats with smokers in the home are twice as likely to get some forms of lymphoma. Long-term exposure can also lead to nicotine being found in cats’ urine.
It seems that cats’ grooming habits contribute, too. They are more likely to lick their fur, which can hold onto the third-hand smoke. It’s also worth mentioning the fact that passive smoke is often fatal to birds. If you smoke near a pet bird then there is every chance they will develop health problems. If you have a bird and you smoke, even if you smoke outdoors, you should disinfect your hands before interacting with a bird.
Quit if You Can — If Not, Minimize Risk
It isn’t possible to totally mitigate any of the risks and ensure that your pets are safe when they are exposed to smoke. Undeniably, the best thing to do is to quit. There is a lot of support available for those who want to quit smoking.
However, it’s not easy to quit. If you carry on smoking, try to reduce your own intake. On top of that, smoke outdoors and as far away from your pets as you can. Plus, wash your hands straight away afterward. This does not totally take the risk away, and smoke can still transfer from your clothes to your pet. It helps, and reduces risk, but not as much as quitting altogether.
Helping your dog stay as strong and healthy as possible is also the right thing to do. As well as keeping a healthy diet, you can supplement their food with The One by Front Of The Pack. This boosts disease- fighting cells and can help your dog to stay healthy. There is no substitute for quitting.
Your Dog Can Be Harmed in Other Ways By Smoking
Your pet may be exposed to other tobacco products that can be poisonous to dogs:
- Drinking water that has been contaminated by tobacco or even a cigarette butt.
- By eating a tobacco product.
- By finding and eating nicotine gums, patches, or refills.
Simply put, nicotine is toxic. Keep it away from your pets at all costs. If your dog has smaller pupils, seizures, or starts vomiting or drooling then these can be signs of poisoning. Your dog will need to see a vet ASAP.
There are loads of different ways in which a dog can be harmed by a smoking habit. Though smokers may well be sick of being told all the reasons to quit (there are many) this is one that might just help them to kick the habit. Remembering that you could be harming your four-legged friend might be the incentive you need.