Secondhand Smoke Is Toxic To Your Manor Lake Australian Labradoodle

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Secondhand smoke is toxic for pets too

The American Legacy Foundation is challenging pet parents to quit smoking during the month of April, which is also Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. Research shows there are no safe levels of exposure to secondhand smoke for humans — and that goes for animals as well. One new study reveals that nearly 30 percent of pets live in a home with at least one smoker.

“Secondhand smoke doesn’t just affect people,” says Dr. Cheryl G. Healton, president of the American Legacy Foundation.

An estimated 50,000 Americans lose their lives to secondhand smoke annually and 4 million children and teens are exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes. A number of studies have linked respiratory problems, allergies and even nasal and lung cancer in dogs and lymphoma in cats to second-hand smoke exposure. Not surprisingly, the ASPCA lists tobacco smoke as a toxin dangerous to pets.

And our furry friends don’t just inhale the smoke. Particles can also get trapped in their fur and be ingested when pets groom themselves. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that dogs in smoking households had a 60 percent greater risk of lung cancer. A different study published in the same journal showed that long-nosed dogs, such as collies and greyhounds, were twice as likely to develop nasal cancer if they lived with smokers. In yet another study, vets from Tufts University found that cats whose owners smoked were three times as likely to develop lymphoma, the most common feline cancer!

“Nicotine from secondhand smoke can have detrimental effects to the nervous systems of cats and dogs,” says Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, medical director for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. “Environmental tobacco smoke has been shown to contain numerous cancer-causing compounds. Owners should avoid exposing their pets to secondhand smoke to help minimize the risk of their pets developing lung disease or cancer.”

According to a study published in the February 2009 edition of Tobacco Control, 28 percent of pet owners who smoke reported that knowing about the dangers of secondhand smoke to their pets would help motivate them to try to quit smoking.

To better protect our pets, the American Legacy Foundation and ASPCA recommend that smokers “take it outside” when they light up. The foundation also provides resources to support smokers in their decision to quit, including BecomeAnEX.org, an interactive website with free tools and tips to help smokers develop a personalized plan for kicking the habit — for good!

Posted By: Amelia Glynn | April 13 2009 at 01:22 PM

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