Second-Hand Smoke and Dogs

Second-hand smoke isn’t good for humans, and it’s not good for dogs either.

You’ve heard all the stats and facts about the dangers of second-hand smoke for humans. But before you light up, have you ever stopped to think what it’s doing to your dog? Not only is the nasty habit cutting your lifespan short, it could also being killing your dog!

Second-hand smoke, which is also known as Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS), is produced by smoking cigars, cigarettes, and pipes. Because ETS is a carcinogen, it can cause cancer in both humans and dogs. And multiple studies have shown that over time, cigarette smoke has gruesome effect on dogs. Let’s talk about a few more reasons why you should butt out (or pass this along to other pet parents who smoke).

Respiratory Problems

If your dog has a flat face or suffers from asthma, allergies, or bronchitis, second-hand smoke can cause him to develop a dry hacking and progressive cough. Dogs that have asthma will be prone to more frequent asthma attacks and symptoms will be harder to manage medically. And pooches who have allergies will show severe symptoms all year long (instead of just seasonally). As soon as you quit, you’ll notice that your pet’s breathing will improve.

Lung Disease

According to Heather Wilson-Robles, an assistant professor at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science, exposure to second-hand smoke causes significant changes in the lung tissue of dogs over time. These run the gamut, ranging from fibrosis (scarring of the lung tissue) to the development of precancerous and cancerous lesions in the lungs and nasal sinus. It’s interesting to note that dog breeds with long muzzles are more at risk for developing nose and sinus cancers while dogs with shorter muzzles are more likely to develop lung cancer.

Ingestion of Tobacco

You may not think twice when you throw away that cigarette butt, but for some curious dog, it could be a death sentence. Those butts can be fatal as they contain 25 percent of the nicotine found in the cigarette. Your pet may also be put at risk by consuming drinking water that contains cigarette butts. Symptoms of tobacco poisoning, when ingested by dogs, include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, increased salivation, trembling, constricted pupils, odd behavior, seizures and even death.

Toxic Fur

Dogs and cats groom themselves—they lick their paws, rub their fur, repeat. That sounds harmless…and for pets that live in a non-smoking household, it is. But when you smoke in the same house as an animal, the toxic substances accumulate on their fur. Every time your pet has a personal grooming session, those toxins are being ingested. They’ll build up over time, leading to illness and a shorter lifespan.

What You Can Do To Protect Your Pet

Quit smoking! Now’s the time—you know that it’s a drain on your health and your bank account. And now that you know that it’s also a drain on your pet’s health, that’s just one more reason to give it up. This will protect your dogs and cats from second-hand smoke and coming into contact with cigarette butts and other tobacco products.

If quitting is not an option, take responsibility for your smoking habits. Always smoke outdoors away from your pet so the smoke doesn’t build up in your house. Once you’re done, dispose of cigarette butts properly. As well, wash your hands after smoking before you touch your pet so you’re not transferring any toxic substances to his coat.

Meet the Author: Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.

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