By Ruthie Bently
Second-hand smoke (also known as ETS or environmental tobacco smoke)
comes from anything that is smoked: cigarettes, cigars and pipes.
Second-hand smoke is a carcinogen that can cause cancer in both dogs
and cats. Dogs that live with smokers in a building that is not well
ventilated have a higher risk of not only lung cancer but nasal cancer
as well. Dogs with short noses like Pugs, French and English Bulldogs
and Boxers are susceptible to lung cancer, while dogs with long noses
like Afghans, Collies and Labrador Retrievers are susceptible to nasal
cancer. The difference is where the carcinogens accumulate in a
Second-hand smoke can also be associated with cardiovascular and
respiratory disease, chronic lung infections, asthma, and eye problems.
ETS has been extensively researched where humans are concerned, but not
as many studies have been done for our companion animals. Studies have
shown that tobacco smoke contains up to twenty different carcinogens
which can be inhaled by non-smoking bystanders. ETS consists of the
smoke released by a burning cigar, cigarette or pipe as well as the
smoke exhaled by the smoker themselves. There are over 4,000 chemicals
contained in second-hand smoke including arsenic, formaldehyde, carbon
monoxide, nickel, benzene, chromium and vinyl chloride.
If you are not ready to quit smoking, or are having a hard time
accomplishing it, there are several things you can do to help minimize
the dangers to your pet. Using air purifiers around the house and air
filters on your furnace will help but not alleviate the problem as it
takes so long for ETS to clear. Consider smoking outside the house, or
make a smoke-free room or two in your house where your pet can go to
get away from the smoke.
If it is too cold for you to smoke outside, choose a room to smoke in
that can be shut off from the rest of the house. Crack a window in your
“smoking room” while you are smoking to help vent the ETS
from the house faster. Another important way to help your pet is to
brush and groom them regularly; this can remove the smoke residue that
collects on their coat. They clean themselves with their tongues and
can ingest the toxins as they are grooming their coats. Your
veterinarian may suggest an anti-oxidant to minimize the cancer causing
effects. If you are concerned and want to learn more about the dangers
of second-hand smoke to pets, give your veterinarian a call.
Read more articles by Ruthie Bently