COULD PASSIVE SMOKING BE HARMING YOUR PET?

Many pet owners would probably do anything they can to make sure that their cat or dog is feeling at their best. Whether it’s getting up in the early hours and going for walkies or letting your moggy hog the sofa, having a happy cat or dog could lead to a happy owner! However, there are certain things that might be having negative effects on your furry friend without you even realising it. Smoking is well known to cause potential health problems for us through second-hand smoke and it could well be the same for our beloved companions. At The Insurance Emporium, we want our pets to live a happy and healthy life and that’s why we’ve put together this guide on how passive smoking could be harming your dog or cat.

Exposing the dangers

The dangers of smoking are relatively well publicised and certain steps have been taken in recent years to protect people from the dangers posed by passive smoking. In England, the smoking ban, which was enforced in 2007, made it illegal to smoke in an enclosed work place or public place. However, it is still legal to smoke inside the home which could mean that our dogs and cats are being put at risk. One of the biggest causes of illness from second-hand smoke could be chronic exposure in poorly ventilated areas. This means that if you smoke at home and your faithful pooch or moggy is by your side, they could be taking in a whole host of poisonous gases and chemicals. It might be important to remember that your animal probably spends much more time in the house than you do, meaning that there is potentially a lot more chance of those lingering chemicals having negative effects on your pet and their health.

The differing risks

One of the big factors in determining how the effects of passive smoking manifest themselves in cats and dogs is the length of their nose. Research at Colorado State University has found that dogs with longer noses, such as Labradors and Collies, have an increased chance of developing nasal cancer when exposed to second-hand smoke. This is due to the fact that they have a longer nasal canal with a much larger surface area. Toxins and carcinogens are known to accumulate in the nasal mucus of the animal and, as such, create a greater risk. The research found that there is a much higher chance of nasal tumours developing in such dogs. For cats and dogs with smaller noses, the risk of lung cancer tends to be increased. Their smaller noses could mean that the nasal passages aren’t as effective at accumulating inhaled carcinogens, allowing these airborne chemicals to head straight for the lungs.

Third-hand threat

We’ve probably all heard of second-hand smoke but third-hand smoke could be another potential danger for our cats and dogs. This is a term to describe the residue that is left from smoking and clings to things such as furniture, rugs, clothes and fur. This could mean that, even if you smoke when your pet isn’t in the room or only do it outside, you could still be bringing toxins into their environment. This can be particularly risky for cats as they are known to be highly clean animals that groom regularly. When your cat licks these toxic particles from their fur, there could be an increased risk of them developing mouth tumours. These can come as a result of their mucous membranes being exposed to carcinogens that could cause oral tumours. The same can apply to dogs who might also find themselves ingesting these chemicals through grooming.

What are you going to do about it?

Research by the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit found that 28.4% of pet owners would quit smoking if they thought it might benefit their pet’s health. Quitting might be the best way to protect your favourite dog or cat from the dangers of passive smoking. If you don’t want to completely kick the habit then there could be steps to take that might help. Ensuring that you always smoke outside could limit your pets’ direct exposure to smoke but there is still the issue of third-hand smoke being brought back inside the home. If you make sure that you regularly brush and groom your pet then it could help to remove the smoke residue from their fur. Even a minimal exposure to the chemicals produced from smoking can have a negative impact on our cats and dogs, so the best way to keep your pet safe from smoking might well be to stop altogether!

It could be well worth considering the effects that smoking may be having on your pet, a change in habits or lifestyle could make a huge difference to your four-legged friend and their health! It might also be a good idea to purchase insurance for your cat or dog. At The Insurance Emporium, all of our new Pet Insurance policies all come with a 20% Introductory Discount* and offer a host of Elective Benefits to tweak your cover. Pop down to The Insurance Emporium today to find out more!

*20% Introductory Discount only available on brand new policies.

 

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