Smoking and Pets
We all know that smoking is bad for us and can cause cancer, heart attacks, strokes and even death but many smokers don’t think about the effect on their beloved pets. However, research has continuously shown that pets can also be deeply affected by second hand smoke in the home. This leaves many smokers with a dilemma as to whether they should quit smoking or move their animal friends out of the home. Is this necessary though? Won’t moving to e-cigarettes reduce harm some ask? Different pets are affected in different ways and some that live in closed environments will not be affected at all. There are some warning signs you should be watching out for and some ways you can reduce the risk.
There are around 70 million dogs in the US and over 36% of households own at least one. They are the most popular domestic pet in America and are at significant risk of suffering nasal or lung cancer as a result of second-hand smoke. If you start to notice your dog has breathing problems, is salivating a lot, is vomiting or has an abnormal heartbeat than it is sign your dog could have been overexposed to tobacco smoke and is seriously ill. If your dog is suffering from nasal cancer than the usual prognosis is that it will not live beyond a year.
Tobacco can have an even worse effect on cats then dogs. According to a University of Glasgow study this is because of the increased grooming regime which means that cats will be more likely to lick the carcinogens found in tobacco off their fur. Cats will present similar symptoms to dogs but instead of breathing difficulties a cat will sound asthmatic. This is a result of lymphoma which is fatal amongst 3 in 4 cats.
Birds are hypersensitive to anything in the air, it’s part of the reason they were used for testing for carbon monoxide in coal mines. This means that they can be seriously affected by tobacco smoke in the air. Birds can suffer from pneumonia and lung cancer but are also at risk of eye, skin, fertility and heart conditions.
Reducing The Risk
Reducing the risk of harm to your pets should be high on any animal lover’s agenda but that doesn’t mean you need to cut all tobacco related products out of your life. To be safe you should smoke or vape out of a window, go outside or at the very least do it in a different room to where your pet is. This will further reduce the potential problem of them suffering from over-exposure to nicotine.
One of the worst ways for pets to be harmed by smoking is through eating the buts of cigarettes or consuming water with buts in it. Also, if you vape it is essential that you keep your e-cigarette and e-liquid in a safe location where there is no risk of your pets consuming them. If you spill e-liquid on the floor, then be sure to clean it up quickly and efficiently or they could easily lick it up and become sick.
Your hands are another key area that need to be nicotine and tobacco free before having any physical contact with your pet. These harmful chemicals can also be transferred through everyday petting. Clean your hands first to wash off tobacco residue.
It goes without saying that if your pet shows any signs of being unwell, a trip to the vet is advisable. This is the only way to ensure your four legged friend is healthy, if the vet does identify your pet as suffering from a smoking related disease or nicotine poisoning, treatment options may be available.
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