If you need another reason to kick the smoking habit, here’s one more. There is scientific evidence that second-hand cigarette smoke can cause asthma, cancer and allergies in our pets. If you think your pets are safe from indirect smoke, you’re wrong; they do not have to inhale the smoke, the smoke particles get trapped in their fur and ingested when they groom themselves. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that dogs in smoking households had a 60 percent greater risk of lung cancer; a different study published in the same journal showed that long-nosed dogs, such as collies or greyhounds, were twice as likely to develop nasal cancer if they lived with smokers. 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.
Cigarette butts can also be deadly. Two butts, if eaten by a puppy, can cause death in a relatively short period of time.
Dogs can have bronchitis because of cigarette smoke. Vets tend to see these pets with more frequency and have found them difficult to treat. If a pet is taken out of the home or the owner quits smoking, a pet can recover from the effects of cigarette smoke.
Even if you don’t smoke around your pets, or you are around other people that do, you can still put your pets at risk with what is called third-hand smoke. Third-hand smoke is the cigarette byproducts that cling to the smoker’s hair and clothing as well as to household fabrics, carpets and surfaces. These particles have been proven toxic. There can be up to 250 poisonous gases, chemicals, and metals including hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, butane, ammonia, toluene (found in paint thinners), arsenic, lead, chromium (used to make steel), cadmium (used to make batteries), and polonium-210 (highly radioactive carcinogen). Eleven of the compounds are classified as Group 1 carcinogens, the most dangerous.
Pets are especially susceptible to third-hand smoke exposure when they play on or touch and mouth contaminated surfaces. Third-hand smoke can remain indoors even long after the smoking has stopped. So if your pet walks across your carpet or couch, licks his feet, he can be contaminated by third-hand smoke. If you smoke away from your pet, your clothes are contaminated and when you hold your pet, they can be affected from the third-hand smoke.