Second Hand Smoke & Pets
Related Health Risks For Your Dog
By Margit Maxwell
I Am Not The People Police
No, I am not about to give you a lecture about the health risks associated with smoking for you. By now it is impossible for you not to already know of the health hazards associated with smoking. But perhaps you have not considered what effect your choice to smoke may have on your dog.
Second Hand Smoke
There are mountains of evidence showing us that second hand smoke is very toxic to other humans living in the same environment as a smoker but many people forget that your dog is also forced to breathe the same air as the humans in the household. Since your dog’s lungs function in exactly the same way that human lungs do, that also means that second hand smoke can also cause the same health problems in your dog as it does in humans.
Lungs Need Clean Air
It cannot be argued that exposing lung tissue, human and animal lungs, to continued second-hand smoke will affect the delicate lining of lung tissue over time. And when the lung tissue is scarred with lesions or fibroids, then the lungs can no longer do their job of air exchange. Getting lung cancer from second hand smoke is a very real possibility for dogs living in homes with smokers.
Symptoms Associated with Second Hand Smoke Inhalation
There are numerous lesser breathing related symptoms associated with exposure to second hand smoke that can plague a dog who lives with a smoker. Asthma, chronic bronchitis, and even allergies can often be traced back to dogs breathing in their owner’s second hand smoke. If more than one person in the house smokes, the level of toxicity contained in the poor quality of the air has even a greater impact on tender lung tissues of innocent by-standers.
If your dog exhibits the following symptoms and someone in your house smokes, then chances are very good that second hand smoke could be causing your dog to be sick.
Asthma and frequent asthma attacks,
Allergic Lung Disease,
Chronic Bronchitis with a hacking cough,
Difficulty breathing during or after exercise.
Another hazard for dogs living with smokers is the ingestion of cigarettes and used cigarette filters. Packs of cigarettes and ashtrays containing discarded butts are often left down where dogs can easily get a hold of them. Did you know that a used cigarette filter still contains approximately 25% of the nicotine that was originally contained in the cigarette?
The ingestion of tobacco and nicotine will cause digestive distress and cause symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, and shaking. Very high doses of nicotine (remember that what constitutes a “high dose” is directly related to the body mass of the dog) will cause constricted pupils, nervousness, anxiety, possible seizures and even death.
If you suspect that your dog has ingested any part of a cigarette or loose tobacco, immediately call the emergency Vet Clinic for instructions for treating the poisoning. Do not induce vomiting without checking with a Vet first.
What You Can Do To Help Keep Your Dog Healthy
If you insist on smoking, please choose to go outside while you are smoking a cigarette. This helps to keep the second hand smoke from being in the air that your dog breathes indoors.
Don’t smoke in the car while your dog is in this confined space with you. And no, rolling your down window while you smoke in the car is not enough to keep your dog’s lungs safe. A certain amount of second hand smoke will still remain in the car with you even with the car window open.
Make sure that cigarette butts are not left out in ashtrays where dogs can ingest them.
Make sure that you don’t throw your cigarette butts on the ground outdoors where your dog can pick them up and eat them.
Margit Maxwell- A Dog Trainer (CPDT) and Canine Behaviour Specialist for The Divine Dog Project. She lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her Herd of two Siberian Huskies (Kaya and Angel) and an Alaskan Malamute (Skylar). She also has credentials in Psychology (Human and dog), Animal Sciences, Natural Medicine, Energy Medicine, and many alternative Healing Modalities.