Does Second-Hand Smoke Affect Pets?


By Ruthie Bently

Second-hand smoke (also known as ETS or environmental tobacco smoke) comes from anything that is smoked: cigarettes, cigars and pipes. Second-hand smoke is a carcinogen that can cause cancer in both dogs and cats. Dogs that live with smokers in a building that is not well ventilated have a higher risk of not only lung cancer but nasal cancer as well. Dogs with short noses like Pugs, French and English Bulldogs and Boxers are susceptible to lung cancer, while dogs with long noses like Afghans, Collies and Labrador Retrievers are susceptible to nasal cancer. The difference is where the carcinogens accumulate in a dog’s body.

Second-hand smoke can also be associated with cardiovascular and respiratory disease, chronic lung infections, asthma, and eye problems. ETS has been extensively researched where humans are concerned, but not as many studies have been done for our companion animals. Studies have shown that tobacco smoke contains up to twenty different carcinogens which can be inhaled by non-smoking bystanders. ETS consists of the smoke released by a burning cigar, cigarette or pipe as well as the smoke exhaled by the smoker themselves. There are over 4,000 chemicals contained in second-hand smoke including arsenic, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, nickel, benzene, chromium and vinyl chloride.

If you are not ready to quit smoking, or are having a hard time accomplishing it, there are several things you can do to help minimize the dangers to your pet. Using air purifiers around the house and air filters on your furnace will help but not alleviate the problem as it takes so long for ETS to clear. Consider smoking outside the house, or make a smoke-free room or two in your house where your pet can go to get away from the smoke.

If it is too cold for you to smoke outside, choose a room to smoke in that can be shut off from the rest of the house. Crack a window in your “smoking room” while you are smoking to help vent the ETS from the house faster. Another important way to help your pet is to brush and groom them regularly; this can remove the smoke residue that collects on their coat. They clean themselves with their tongues and can ingest the toxins as they are grooming their coats. Your veterinarian may suggest an anti-oxidant to minimize the cancer causing effects. If you are concerned and want to learn more about the dangers of second-hand smoke to pets, give your veterinarian a call.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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6 thoughts on “Does Second-Hand Smoke Affect Pets?

  1. I just lost my 20 month old golden retreiver to cancer just before new years It was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced. It started as a limp in November and progressively got worse over the month. We were at the vets 2 to 3 times a week trying to determine the cause of the limp. We went to a neurologist and finally, after an entire month and a half of tests, we found out it was cancer that completely took over his lungs. I question whether it had to do with the breeders home. When we went to get him at 8 weeks old, the breeders were both smoking in the house and the dogs were fully exposed. I wonder if that had some type of an effect. Please, be sure to see the puppys environment before making a purchase. I’m so glad we had him as long as we did. He was our angel. But I would hate to see someone suffer the loss we had.

    1. im sure your right, the smoke creeps in through the animals lungs, and the cancer it produces kills them faster than it kills us. i feel very bad for you, and i bless you in the name of the LORD, may he look down upon you.

  2. does anyone have any information about a possible connection between secondhand smoke and liver disease? a family lost their black lab 5 days after being diagnosed!! he was in close proximity to a heavy smoker albeit outside. they are getting a 4 month old puppy tomorrow and i’m trying to get the point across that secondhand smoke kills & that protective measures HAVE to be taken now!!
    thank you!!

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