The majority of people are aware of the dangers of smoking. Every time they light up, they are aware of the potential health concerns. They are probably aware that their risks extend to those who breathe in their second-hand smoke.
Do they realize, however, that secondhand smoke can also harm their dogs? Do they realize that pets might be exposed to the harmful effects of tobacco products simply by breathing the air that circulates when smoking occurs?
Inhalation of Second-Hand Smoke
People who inhale tobacco smoke are inhaling “first-hand” smoke into their lungs. Nonsmokers absorb second-hand smoke from one of two sources: the smoke created by the burning end of a cigarette, cigar, or pipe OR the smoke exhaled by the smoker who originally breathed it. To not be exposed to the risks of smoking, no direct contact with a tobacco product is required.
Why do we care about second-hand smoke? Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic or cause cancer.
Simply inhaling the air in the same room as an active smoker exposes you to these harmful substances. Second-hand smoke has an influence on human health, but dog owners should be aware that second-hand smoke has an impact on their dogs as well.
The Effects of Second-Hand Smoke
Secondhand smoking has been linked to a variety of respiratory issues in adults, from coughing and sneezing to asthma and shortness of breath. In addition, those who inhale tobacco-related chemicals are more likely to develop respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia. An increased chance of lung cancer, stroke, and heart disease is among the dangers.
Second-hand smoke isn’t just dangerous for people…it’s also dangerous for our dogs. Living in a house with a smoker puts dogs, cats, and especially birds at greater risk of many health problems.
Secondhand smoke causes greater eye infections, allergies, and respiratory problems, including lung cancer, in dogs. Research has found that dogs living in smoking surroundings had a higher rate of nasal cancer. Surprisingly, the length of a dog’s nose is linked to the type of cancer caused by secondhand smoke inhalation.
Long-nosed dogs are prone to nasal cancer while short-nosed dogs often get lung cancer. Long-nosed dogs including Collies, Labradors, and Dobermans have increased surface area in their nasal canals that traps inhaled particles.
Toxins and carcinogens in tobacco smoke build-up in nasal mucus, making long-nosed dogs more susceptible to cancers in their snouts. In fact, nasal cancers are 250 percent more common in long-nosed canines who live in smoke-filled surroundings.
Short noses aren’t effective “trappers” and allow more inhaled particles and carcinogens to reach the lungs. That’s why short-nosed dogs like Pugs, Shih Tzus, and Pekingese develop more lung cancer than their long-nosed friends.
Find the Will to Quit Smoking
Our dogs inspire us to undertake a variety of actions that have a positive impact on our health. When they are hungry, we put down our forks and stop eating to fill their food bowls. When they need a toilet break, we interrupt our favorite television show to take them for a stroll. In other words, our dogs encourage us to eat less and exercise more! What does that say about your health? What do they do for us?
They boost our health even more by encouraging us to quit smoking. Knowing that smoking is hazardous for our health may not be enough to motivate us to quit, but knowing that it can harm our dogs’ health could be just the motivation we need to quit.