Secondhand Smoke and Pets: What’s Really Going On?

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We hear everywhere about the negative affects of smoking on our family, friends, and anyone else around us, but what about secondhand smoke and pets?

With cigarettes, it’s no secret that the smoke is toxic to your pets, But many smokers don’t realize the hidden danger that the secondhand smoke holds. It’s time to recognize that secondhand smoke is just as damaging as smoking, and pet owners who smoke need to take action and be more responsible around their pets.

Pet owners beware — it doesn’t matter if you’re smoking cigarettes, cigars, or e-cigarettes, if you’re smoking around your pets, they’re at risk.

Secondhand Smoke and Pets —Dangerous for Everyone

Cigarette smoke has been proven to have serious consequences for pets. Whether you have a dog, cat, or even a bird, secondhand smoke and pets is a bad combination. Dogs are at risk for allergies, birds can get eye, skin, and respiratory problems, and both dogs and cats are at a higher risk of developing certain cancers.

Cats find themselves in a particularly dangerous situation if their owner smokes because of the way they groom themselves. Besides having a two and a half times higher risk of developing cancer like lymphoma, cats exposed to tobacco smoke also have an incredibly high chance of getting mouth cancer. Secondhand smoke is one thing, but thirdhand smoke, meaning the residue leftover in fur, carpets, and walls, can also be a big issue. The smoke in your cat’s fur stays there, and when she grooms herself she’s ingesting it and doing harm to her body.

Your dog can get nose or lung cancer from cigarette smoke. Depending on the breed, your dog might be more at risk for one or the other. Dogs with longer noses have been shown to be more susceptible to nose cancer, whereas dogs with shorter noses are at a higher risk for lung cancer.

Birds are incredibly sensitive to the quality of the air. If they’re exposed to secondhand smoke, they can develop serious health issues. Most serious would be the chance of contracting pneumonia or cancer. The toxins in cigarette smoke can also cause birds to suffer from a myriad of problems with their eyes, skin, and respiratory systems.

If you’re a smoker and you have pets, you need to consider the harm you’re inevitably causing them. Just like your family, secondhand smoke and pets don’t go well together.

Secondhand Smoke and Pets — E-Cigarettes Count, Too

Many e-cigarette users don’t believe that their vaporizers can be toxic to pets because they’re meant to be a step down from cigarettes, but unfortunately, they’re very wrong. E-cigarettes are just as dangerous as cigarettes, if not more.

The liquid often still contains nicotine, and actually contains a higher concentration than traditional cigarettes. Nicotine is a dangerous poison for pets, and if ingested can quickly end your pet’s life.

The vapor from e-cigarettes isn’t as toxic as cigarette smoke, but there are still chemicals lingering that can be harmful to your pet. The real danger is the actual e-cigarette itself. The cartridges that contain the liquid are full of the concentrated nicotine, and can kill your pet in under an hour.

As e-cigarettes are becoming more popular, the number of nicotine poisonings is on the rise. The flavors that are often added are interesting to pets; they’re drawn by the scent and can end up ingesting it. Because the nicotine is so concentrated, even the tiniest amount can do serious damage and potentially kill your pet. Typical packets contain 6mg to 24mg of nicotine, which is double the amount in the average cigarette.

Symptoms of nicotine poisoning can appear as quickly as 15 minutes to an hour, and include vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, elevations in heart rate and respiration rate, depression, tremors, ataxia, weakness, seizures, cyanosis, coma, and cardiac arrest.

There are also plenty of other questionable chemicals inside the packets used with e-cigarettes, including diethylene glycol, the same chemical in antifreeze. Antifreeze is a well-known poison for pets, and if you knew it was in an e-cigarette, would you actually bring it around your pets? Propylene glycol was also found and can be very dangerous for cats. Cats can get Heinz body from this chemical which can cause a number of health problems.

The best way to keep your pets safe is to keep e-cigarettes and cigarettes as far away from them as possible. Keep it outside, or if you have to be inside, make a designated area of the house where your pets aren’t present. The best thing you can do for your pets is to stop smoking altogether, so you both can live long and healthy lives.

If you suspect your pet has ingested nicotine or any other part of a cigarette or e-cigarette, call your veterinarian immediately or the Pet Poison Control Helpline at 1-800-213-6680.

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