Smoking Around Your Dog is another one of the 7 mistakes that can take years off your pet's life. It seems to go without saying that smoking is a health hazard but what many people fail to realize is what a threat it poses to pets. In the U.S., there are 71 million pet owners. About one-fifth of those are also smokers.
Smoking is not just an extremely unhealthy and expensive habit, it's a powerful addiction. As you may have guessed, sImply having knowledge about the risks of smoking unfortunately does not usually lead to a change in behavior. Of the many reasons to quit smoking, the most common one is personal health and I think we all know someone who refuses to kick the habit even after a life-threatening health scare.
But what about quitting for the sake of your furry family members? If you won’t quit for yourself, will you do it for them? I was pleasantly surprised to learn that a recent survey, conducted by the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, found your pet’s health might be one's strongest motivator. Of the 3,293 U.S. pet owners surveyed, 28 percent said they would try to stop smoking based entirely on the knowledge that it was extremely harmful to their pets.
This would imply that educating pet owners about the risks it poses to their innocent animal companions could have a significant impact on reducing smoking rates, thereby greatly improving the health of both people and their pets alike. So here goes! This is my attempt at getting all you pet owning smokers to "KICK-BUTT" with some startling research and information that may surprise you: Studies Confirm, Tobacco Smoke is Very Bad News for Fido:
A recent study from Harvard Medical School, published Journal of Pediatrics, found additional health risks associated with what they termed “third-hand smoke,” describing the invisible yet toxic brew of gases and particles which cling to a smokers’ hair, clothing, cars, carpeting, furniture, and the like, lingering long after the second-hand smoke has cleared the room.
This Harvard study found small children to be uniquely susceptible to this toxic residue, and even more so can be said for your pets. The reason being, not only is your pet breathing smoke-filled air, but they are lying directly on the carpet, dog beds, blankets, furniture, or your lap as well as picking up anything clinging to it, -and most likely popping it in their mouth. Then they groom themselves, ingesting whatever toxic particles are present.
Unless you have a "doggie-door" your pets can’t escape from polluted air. Simply opening windows or running air conditioning or fans is not enough. Sadly, most animals are trapped, helpless victims of their owners’ habits. In addition to inhaling carcinogens, your smoking habit can harm pets in some other surprising ways:
Signs and symptoms of nicotine poisoning in your dog or cat include:
Fortunately my addiction is not to cigarettes but to "bad carbs", so I am not going to try and pretend I understand the difficulty in trying to quit. While you are doing your best to clean-up-your-act here are some things you can do in the meantime to protect your pet: