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Mary Ella’s Weekly Message
October 15, 2012
Secondhand Smoke and Pets
Early in FFS Online, we suggested you make a list of your reasons to quit smoking. One more reason to add to that list is the harmful effects that secondhand smoke can have on your pets.
If you’re like me, your pets are members of the family—the beloved ones! I’m pictured here with my Bichon Frisé, Jax. I adopted him from the local rescue organization and he turns 11 this month. In honor of Jax, I want to focus on what becoming smokefree has to do with pets.
A growing body of research shows that there are no safe levels of exposure to secondhand smoke for humans or animals, according to the ASPCA. Consider these facts:
- There is a higher incidence of nasal tumors in dogs living in a home with secondhand smoke than in dogs living in smokefree homes.
- Dogs can experience allergic reactions to secondhand smoke, such as scratching, biting and chewing of their skin. This can be confused with flea symptoms or food allergies.
- The most serious consequences of secondhand smoke for pet birds are pneumonia and lung cancer. Other risks include eye, skin, heart and fertility problems.
- Cats have a higher rate of oral cancer when exposed to secondhand smoke. This may be due to the way they groom themselves.
- Cats who are around secondhand smoke have a higher rate of feline lymphoma, a deadly form of cancer, than cats not exposed to secondhand smoke.
- Cats can develop respiratory problems, lung inflammation and asthma as a result of secondhand smoke.
If you are now smokefree but someone in your household still smokes and there’s a pet in the house, share this information with them. Ask them to keep the house smokefree. That will not only protect your pets, but any humans in the house as well.
Secondhand smoke is not the only danger pets experience when people smoke in the home. Pets can get nicotine poisoning if they ingest tobacco products. Eating one to five cigarettes or just a third of one cigar can be fatal to a pet. Drinking water that contains cigarette butts can also be harmful since toxins can leach out into the water.
Keep any nicotine replacement medications such as gum and patches out of the reach of pets and children. Put used gum, patches or other medications in closed trash receptacles so that curious pets can’t get into them. If you suspect that your pet may have ingested tobacco products or nicotine replacement medications, take your pet to the veterinarian immediately.
In honor of Jax’s birthday, enjoy the company of your pet this week as you become smokefree.
- If you get a strong urge to smoke, groom your pet instead.
- If you have a dog, take him for a walk. It’s good for both of you!
- Spend some quality time with your pet. If you have a cat or a lap dog, give them a good belly rub while they sit on your lap. Your pet will love you for it, and you’ll lower your blood pressure at the same time!
I’ll see you on the Message Boards! :-) Mary Ella
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