We all know the dangerous effects smoking has on our own bodies, but have you ever stopped to think how your smoking might be affecting your pet?
Numerous studies have been done on the effects that second hand smoke can have on animals, and the results are frightening. As a veterinarian in Egg Harbor Township, NJ, we have seen firsthand the sad effects second hand smoke can have on animals. If you’re a smoker and a pet owner, here are a few things you should know.
Your pet’s anatomy is not that different from your own
Although people think of their pet as family, they don’t always think of their pet’s body as “human.” Of course your dog’s or cat’s anatomy is different from your own, but your pet still has a heart and lungs just like you. While burning, cigarettes release a whopping 7,000 chemicals into the air. When your pet breathes in these toxins, it can lead to a variety of health risks, including breathing difficulties, lung cancer and heart disease. Although not enough research has been done for us to understand all the health risks involved, it’s important to remember that your pet can suffer the same side effects from second hand smoke as you.
Third hand smoke is also a concern
Some people think that shooing their pet out of the room while they are smoking will protect them, but unfortunately this is not the case. There is still the danger of third hand smoke. The toxins in the smoke from your cigarettes never actually go away. They settle on furniture, in the carpeting and even on your clothes and hair. These toxins can then get trapped in your pet’s fur and, because animals lick themselves to stay clean, your pet is actually now licking all of those 7,000 toxins from his fur.
Cigarette butts can be a danger, too
Even without your realizing it, your pet may pick up a cigarette butt from the ground outside, the floor or even out of the trash. This is dangerous as well because, again, your pet is now digesting all the toxins within the cigarette. The effects of swallowing a cigarette butt can include lack of coordination, salivation, weakness, respiratory failure, tremors and even death. If your dog ever shows any of these symptoms, bring them to your veterinarian in Egg Harbor Township, NJ immediately.
We know you love your pet like family and you would never want to do anything to put them at risk. The best way to protect your pet from the dangerous toxins from cigarettes is to stop smoking, but we understand that’s easier said than done. If you are a smoker living with a pet, try to always smoke outside or in areas where your pet never goes, and be sure to dispose of your cigarette butts wisely. If your pet should show symptoms of health problems caused by second hand smoke, remember that we are always here to help. Contact Newkirk Family Veterinarians today for more information.