The detrimental effects smoking has on humans are well known, and recent studies have shown that second-hand smoke affects our pets just as badly, or worse.
Did you know?
1. Dogs that inhale secondhand smoke are three times more likely to develop lung or nasal cancer
than dogs living in smoke-free homes.
According to this article, another study done at Colorado State University showed that dogs exposed to secondhand smoke had a 1.6 greater chance of getting cancer. In dogs with long noses, the most common type of cancer associated with second hand smoke was nasal cancer. This is thought to be due to the larger surface area on which carcinogens may be deposited before reaching the lungs in dogs with long noses. In short-nosed dogs, lung cancer was seen most often. Shorter nasal passages mean more carcinogens make their way to the lungs of short-nosed dogs.
2. Dogs can experience allergic reactions to secondhand smoke. Common symptoms of this allergic reaction are the scratching, biting, and chewing of their skin. Owners often confuse this reaction with fleas or food allergies.
3. Cigarette butts can also be deadly. Two butts, if eaten by a puppy, can cause death in a relatively short period of time.
4. Birds can react badly to secondhand smoke and may develop eye problems, as well as other respiratory problems like coughing and wheezing.
According to this article, birds are especially susceptible to the effects of smoke due to their sensitive respiratory systems. Secondhand smoke causes lung irritations that may lead to pneumonia and lung cancer, heart disease, infertility, and eye problems.
5. Birds that sit on a smoker’s hand can experience contact dermatitis from the nicotine that remains on the smoker’s hand. This can cause them to pull out their feathers.
6. Cats exposed to secondhand smoke in the home have a higher rate of an oral cancer called squamous cell carcinoma, which may be due to the way cats groom themselves. When cats groom themselves they eat the poisons from secondhand smoke that have settled on their fur.
According to this article, research done at Tufts University and the University of Massachusetts demonstrated a direct link between the number of smokers living in a home and the incidence of lymphoma, or lymph node cancer, in cats. Cats exposed to secondhand smoke developed lymphoma twice as often as cats in smoke-free homes. In cats who had lived with smokers for five years or more, the risk was tripled. In houses with two smokers, the risk increased four times. Three out of four cats that have lymphoma die within the first year of diagnosis.
This study also showed a strong correlation between smoke exposure and an oral cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, in cats. Because cats groom themselves often, they lick the carcinogens that have been deposited on their fur. Daily grooming over a long period of time exposes the mouth to a large number of carcinogens, making oral cancer more likely. Squamous cell carcinoma is an aggressive and painful disease.
7. Cats exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher rate of feline lymphoma, a deadly form of cancer, than cats not exposed to secondhand smoke.
8. Cats can develop respiratory problems, lung inflammation, and asthma as a result of secondhand smoke. There are 4,000 chemicals in secondhand smoke, and 43 are known to cause cancer.