Secondhand smoke is harmful to others around you, but it may also be hurting your dog or cat. The effects of cigarette smoke on dogs and cats is becoming more well-known thanks to newer research. Understanding the types of diseases caused by smoking can help you take further steps to protect your dogs and cats.
Nasal Sinus Cancer
Smoking can increase the risk of nasal sinus cancer. Dogs with long nasal passages are more likely to develop tumors of the sinuses than dogs with shorter nasal passages. The longer nasal passages provide a larger surface area for carcinogens to be deposited. Also, since there are more cells, it is more likely that one of the cells will become mutated.
Smoking can increase the chances that your dog will develop lung cancer. When diagnosed with lung cancer, dogs are usually given one year to live. However, with treatment, your dog ma be able to live longer.
Cats are more vulnerable to smoking because they are not washed as often and aren't taken outside as frequently for fresh air. Cats exposed to cigarette smoke are at a greater risk of developing malignant melanoma.
The toxins from cigarette smoke can land on a cat's fur. Then, through the grooming process, the cat can ingest the carcinogens and develop mouth cancer. The mucous membranes of the mouth in particular are exposed the most. Fortunately, if caught early, mouth cancer can be removed. However, depending on the size of the tumor, it may be necessary to have part of your cat's jaw removed.
Puppies are especially vulnerable because they are prone to chewing on almost anything, including cigarettes and items that have cigarette smoke deposited on them. Though the taste of nicotine often stops dogs from chewing, only a small amount of nicotine is enough to harm the dog.
Besides cancer, both dogs and cats can suffer from eye irritation as a result of cigarette smoke. Then, you may need to see the vet (like those at Apple Valley Animal Hospital) to obtain a prescription to treat the symptoms of eye irritation. Very serious eye irritation may obstruct your dog's ability to see and make him or her miserable.
The best way to protect your pets from cigarette smoke is to stop smoking yourself. However, if you cannot quit, try smoking outside or in another room. Also, washing your cat more frequently and taking your cat outside will protect it from cigarette smoke.