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Secondhand Smoke and Your Pets: Understanding the Harmful Effects

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How Secondhand smoke can affect your pets.

This week, I spent most of my time at home with my dogs. Unfortunately, what started as a simple cough quickly turned into a cold. The cough was triggered when I visited the home of a smoker and the remaining smoke irritated my throat. Although anyone would have been uncomfortable in such a situation, it was particularly painful for me as I suffer from asthma. Consequently, I spent the whole day coughing.
As I was healing over the week, I came to realize that I was lucky because I was able to vocalize my pain and address it in different ways. However, the dog living in the smoker’s home couldn’t do the same. As humans, we are aware of how harmful secondhand smoke is to our health, but we tend to forget that it can be equally dangerous to our four-legged friends. Secondhand smoke and your pets can affect them in the same way it affects us, but since they can’t communicate their discomfort, it often goes unnoticed.

Secondhand Smoke and your pets: Harmful Effects

I understand that pets are an integral part of our lives, and we do everything we can to keep them healthy and happy. However, it is important to be aware that our furry friends can be adversely affected by secondhand smoke, just like us. 

For instance, dogs exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher likelihood of eye infections, allergies, and respiratory issues, such as lung cancer. This is especially concerning as dogs have a superior sense of smell. A study done at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Grafton, Colorado State University and other schools revealed that dogs living in smoking environments had a higher incidence of nasal cancer. 

Long-nosed dogs are more prone to nasal cancer, while short-nosed dogs are more susceptible to lung cancer. Long-nosed dogs have a more extensive surface area in their nasal canals, which traps inhaled particles. The toxins and carcinogens in tobacco smoke accumulate in their nasal mucus, increasing the risk of tumors in their snouts. On the other hand, short-nosed dogs allow more inhaled particles and carcinogens to reach their lungs, making them more vulnerable to lung cancer.

Cats that live in smoke-filled environments are at greater risk of developing asthma and lung cancer, which can be a cause of concern for pet owners. Cats exposed to secondhand smoke also have a higher incidence of lymphoma, which carries a poor prognosis for survival. The risk of lymphoma increases with the length of time a cat lives in a smoky household.

Birds are not immune to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. They have incredibly sensitive respiratory systems and are likely to develop respiratory problems, pneumonia, and lung cancer when exposed to secondhand smoke. Furthermore, these pets are also at higher risk of skin, heart, eye, and fertility problems when housed in smoky environments. 

Let’s be mindful of our furry friend’s health and well-being. By creating a smoke-free environment for our pets, we can ensure that they live long, healthy, and happy lives.

To read more about how the air pollution can affect our fur friends check out my blog on air quality and the affects.





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