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Your pets and second hand smoke

By February 23, 2017 February 28th, 2019 Uncategorized

Are you concerned about your pet being exposed to secondhand smoke?  The veterinarians in Markham want you to know smoking’s not only harmful to people; it’s harmful to our furkids as well.  Several studies show that tobacco and secondhand smoke, are not only hazardous to other people around you, but also to our beloved pets. In fact, secondhand smoke from tobacco cigarettes has been associated with different types of cancers in dogs as well as cats. Moreover, the veterinarian’s in Markham see several allergies, eye issues, skin diseases and respiratory problems in dogs, cats, and birds that have also been associated with secondhand smoke.

Research shows just how dangerous second and third hand smoke is to the animals who live with us. Second hand smoke is defined as “smoke that is exhaled or otherwise escapes into the air and can be inhaled by non-smokers, including pets”. Third hand smoke is “the residue that remains on skin, fur, clothing, furniture, etc., even after the air has cleared”. Both of these categories can be combined under the term environmental tobacco smoke (ETS).

Pets can be affected by a smoking habit in many ways, including:

  • inhaling secondhand smoke.
  • eating cigarette/cigar butts, which contain a huge amount of tar, nicotine, and other hazardous toxins.
  • eating nicotine replacement patches or gums or drinking e-liquids.
  • drinking water contaminated by cigar or cigarette butts.
  • licking their fur that contains chemicals from cigarette/cigar smoke.

Not only do pets share our homes and breathe the same air as we do, but their grooming behavior and more homebody-like lifestyles may increase the intensity and duration of their exposure to smoke compared to that of the humans in the household.  Nicotine levels in dogs routinely exposed to secondhand smoke were found to be similar to those of humans routinely exposed to secondhand smoke. Unfortunately, dogs and cats not only inhale our cigarette smoke, but they also receive a double dose of nicotine when they clean their fur, ingesting nicotine that is on and in the hair.  Additionally, pets live lower to the ground than we do and are exposed to smoke residue that has settled out of the environment and adhered to carpets, upholstery and bedding as they sleep in various spots in the house over the course of a day.

Side effects of secondhand smoke for pets include:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Lymphoma in cats
  • Lung cancer in dogs
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Abnormalities in respiratory system
  • Asthmatic-like symptoms
  • Cardiovascular abnormalities
  • Obesity (especially in dogs)
  • Reproductive disorders
  • Excitement and increased heartbeat
  • Tremors, twitching, or seizures

If you are struggling with quitting,  the veterinarians in Markham suggest taking some steps now to minimize the presence of secondhand smoke in your pet’s environment can help decrease your pet’s exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Steam clean your carpets, curtains and upholstery regularly to remove accumulated smoke from your home. Bathe your pet’s to remove any residue from her fur. Once you’ve cleaned everything and everyone, smoke outdoors away from your pet to prevent the re-accumulation of smoke on your pet and in your home. Especially remember not to smoke while cuddling your pet in your lap or while driving with your pet in the car. The good news is that we know if you stop smoking, the damage from cigarettes abates with time, so hopefully decreasing your pet’s exposure to secondhand smoke will do the same.

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Dr. Ernst Marsig, veterinarian in Markham

Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Markham for a Long and Happy Life of ALL Your Pets.

Animal Hospital of Unionville, a veterinary clinic on the north side of Hwy 7, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Stouffville, and North York since 1966. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, etc.), ferrets, and birds (budgies, cockatiel, parrots, amazon, cockatoo, love birds, conures, African greys, finches, canaries, etc.).

Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.

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