Kick Smoking For Your Pets

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Kick Smoking For Your Pets

December 30, 2013


Okay.  We know you’ve had the best intentions.  Maybe you’ve even been trying to kick the habit.  But have you considered the effect of your smoking habit not only on your pets as well as your human loved ones?  You should.


Vets across the world are redoubling their efforts to warn smokers of the effect their habit has on their pets.  The fact is, nicotine is poison to dogs and cats.  The ASPA and the American Legacy Foundation (a non-smoking group) have teamed up to spread the word to pet lovers around the globe. 


“The evidence is striking,” said Steven Hansen of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center.  “Most vets believe strongly secondhand smoke presents a strong danger to dogs and cats.  And why would you want to expose a healthy animal?”


Second hand smoke can cause lung and nasal cancer in dogs, according to a study at Colorado State University, long nosed breeds being the highest at risk.   According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, dogs are 60% more likely to develop lung cancer when regularly coming in contact with secondhand smoke. 


Smoking raises a cat’s predisposition to lymphoma by a whopping 50%.  Cats are particularly vulnerable because carcinogenic compounds in cigarettes settle on their fur, which is then ingested when the cat grooms.  A study at Tufts College of Veterinary Medicine backs this up, finding a higher rate in mouth cancer in animals who live with smokers. 

Need more reasons?  We’ve got ‘em. 


Allergies:  Many dogs are allergic to smoke.  Scratching, biting, chewing of the skin. It’s not’s your butts. 


Fire:  Happy tails can turn into devastating fires when they knock over a smoldering cigarette onto a combustible object.  It happens often, and so fast it will make your head spin.


Ingestion:  It’s laying around in an ashtray and it looks like food to your dog.  Dogs are curious and experience the world with their noses and their mouths.  Cigarettes are poison and you’ll be lucky to get your dog to the emergency clinic before cardiac arrhythmia and arrest occurs.


Note:  Nicotine gum has the same effect.  Keep it where your dog can’t find it---including the already chewed variety.  Dispose in a receptacle with a tight fitting, dog proof lid.


It’s not all bad news.  An online survey by researchers at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit found that of the 3,300 pet owners participating, 33% said they would be motivated to stop smoking for the sake of their pets.  Another web-based survey of smoking pet owners found that 37% believed smoking to be harmful to their pet and would motivate them to quit.


Quit smoking support groups abound throughout the U.S.  Maybe it’s time to take advantage and kick the habit once and for all...for you and that furry pal you love so much.  pz

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