Did you know that second-hand smoke can be just as dangerous for your pets as it can be for humans? November 17, 2016 is Great American Smokeout Day, and in honor of this, here are some facts about how it affects your pets, from an article from HealthyPets.mercola.com:
- Even very small amounts of inhaled smoke can have damaging effects on your pets.
- A 2002 Tufts University study linked second-hand smoke to cancer in cats. The study found that cats living with smokers are twice as likely to develop malignant lymphoma—the most common feline cancer–as those in non-smoking households. Lymphoma kills 3 out of 4 afflicted cats within 12 months.
- One reason cats are so vulnerable to the carcinogens in tobacco smoke is they are meticulous groomers. Daily grooming over a long period of time can expose their delicate oral tissues to hazardous amounts of carcinogens.
- A 2007 University of Minnesota study showed that cats who live with smokers have nicotine and other toxins in their urine.
- A 2007 Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine study linked second-hand smoke to oral cancer in cats (squamous cell carcinoma.) Cats living with more than one smoker and cats exposed to environmental tobacco smoke for longer than five years had even higher rates of this cancer.
- A 1998 Colorado State University study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found a higher incidence of nasal tumors and cancer of the sinus in dogs living in a home with smokers, compared to those living in a smoke-free environment. The nasal/sinus tumors were specifically found among the long-nosed breeds such as retrievers and German shepherds. Unfortunately, dogs with nasal cancer do not usually survive more than one year.
- The same study showed higher lung cancer rates in short to medium nosed dogs who live with smokers, such as boxers and bulldogs. Their shorter nasal passages made it easier for cancer-causing particles to reach the lungs.
- Another study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that dogs in smoking households have a 60 percent greater risk of lung cancer.
Second-hand smoke isn’t the only thing pets have to worry about when they live with humans who smoke. There’s also the danger of third-hand smoke, which is the toxic particles and gases that cling to surfaces—carpet, bedding, fabric, and even pets’ fur, long after that cigarette has been put out. Pets lay on these items all day every day, they groom themselves constantly, and their exposure to third-hand smoke can be and is extremely dangerous.
Quitting smoking can be one of the most difficult challenges you’ll face, but if your own health doesn’t convince you to take the plunge, maybe the well-being of your pets will.