You care about your pets and want what is best for them. You carefully select their food, shop for toys, matching bowls and perhaps a special, comfy bed. You take care of them when they are sick, do your best to keep them well, play with them, enjoy them and spend quality time with them. You love them, and they love you! They are an important member of the family. For some of us, they're our only family.
We know the dangers of second hand smoke. Second hand smoke is especially harmful to children, as they are much smaller and more vulnerable than adults. What about the smallest family members of all - our pets?
Dogs and cats can become very sick from living in a smoking household. Dogs are affected by an increased risk for stomach, sinus, nasal and lung cancers, asthma and chronic ear and skin infections. Since dogs are already prone to allergies and skin issues, living in a home filled with second hand smoke will increase the likelihood of these health problems occurring.
Smoker's pets smell very strongly of stale smoke and may have dull coats, eye stains and yellowing teeth. Pets who live in smoking households are literally coated in second hand smoke and nicotine - not unlike your walls and windows! Their fur traps the nicotine, and while both dogs and cats get this smokey fur covering, cats spend a significant amount of time licking their fur. This puts them at greater risk for oral cancer from grooming themselves. They are also twice as likely to getlymphoma than cats not living in a smoking household. Cats are already prone to getting asthma, so a smoking household can accelerate the onset of symptoms. Both dogs and cats can get tumors as a direct result of daily, ongoing exposure to toxic, second hand smoke. Smoke irritation can cause watery eyes & sneezing.
Listen to your pets! Do your pets leave when you smoke? Do they jump off your lap or go in another room? If you quit smoking, do they seem happier to be around you now? Pets do not like smoke, and will usually leave to avoid it. Did they go through any symptoms when you quit smoking? Some people report their pet displayed coughing, congestion and other mild symptoms consistentwith withdrawal. While the probability of nicotine withdrawal occurring from second hand smoke exposure alone is not medically validated, there is speculation a possibility exists.
Nicotine is poisonous. Ingesting a cigarette, discarded butt, nicotine patch or lozenge can kill your pet. Some signs to look for include rapid breathing, vomiting, weakness, excitability and diarrhea. Call your vet right away if you suspect your dog or cat has gotten hold of a nicotine product.
Help you pets. If you do smoke, smoke outside to reduce your pet's risk of exposure - think of those tiny lungs! Be sure to wash your hands after smoking a cigarette. Avoid petting and handling pets or their food/treats with nicotine covered hands.
Save your pets! Quit for your health and theirs. Provide them with a happy, healthy environment and fresh air to live in. That way, you'll both be around to enjoy each other for many healthy, wonderful years. ~*~* KTQ ~*~*
Vikki Q CTTS-M
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist