As we know, smoking is the leading cause of heart disease and lung cancer in humans, but how are smokers’ pets affected? In this article we will be talking specifically about the concerns of smoking indoors in the same household as a pet. The consequences for your furry/feathered loved ones can be devastating, precautions must be taken for the health of your pet.
Cats, rabbits and birds are among the most sensitive to cigarette carcinogens. Cats and rabbits groom themselves regularly which results in ingestion of toxic particles found on the fur from exposure to smoke, this scenario can lead to mouth cancers. Birds are notorious to being sensitive to just about everything (including non-stick pan coating fumes), these fumes may cause an array of respiratory, skin, eye, and heart illnesses. They too groom themselves in a way that they are orally ingesting smoke carcinogens. Even when our pets are not directly inhaling smoke they still suffer from the lingering toxins.
All animals (even fish) present in a house where smoking is active indoors have a substantial risk of cancer, especially lung cancer. Long snouted dogs have a higher risk of nasal cancers if cohabitating with an active indoor smoker. Some studies have even suggested that cigarette smoke can effect an animal’s DNA, hindering the way the body fights cancer. Even in well ventilated conditions inhalation of cigarette smoke can having lasting effects on your pets’ health.
Many don’t think smoking while driving with a pet in your car is an issue but the same problems arise when you smoke indoors. Even if your pet is not present when smoking they can still be exposed when riding in the vehicle of an active smoker. It is important to be aware of the risks one takes when they smoke in a vehicle that transports an animal.
You can limit the amount of exposure by cleaning the carpets and furniture professionally after indoor smoking has ceased. Washing sheets and clothing is also recommended. Ideally you would also shower several times a day to keep the exposure to smoke carcinogens to a minimum for your pets. Obviously the best course of action would be to quit smoking altogether, if not for you do it for your pets.