Secondhand Smoke Exposure in Household Pets
How to Protect Pets from Secondhand Smoke
Secondhand smoke is a serious hazard to your pet's health. It can impact their respiratory systems and cause a variety of cancers to develop.To avoid this damage to your pet's health, it is important to avoid smoking around them and to keep them away from other smokers. If you can do this, they are less likely to develop cigarette smoke associated diseases, such as lymphoma and respiratory diseases like pneumonia or bronchitis. You can help your pets life longer and healthier lives.
Keeping Pets Away From Smoke
Quit smoking.The easiest way to protect pets from secondhand smoke is to stop smoking yourself. If you smoke often, for instance in your home, and your pet is exposed to that smoke, then it can have very severe health consequences for both of you. Instead, work on quitting smoking so that both you and your pet can have longer, healthier lives.
- Quitting smoking can be very difficult. Get help from other people, such as family members and health professionals, and from smoking cessation products, such as patches and gum. It's important to use whatever tools you can and whatever is helpful in order to quit a habit that is so bad for your health.
Smoke away from pets.If you cannot quit smoking, then at the very least do it far away from your pets. If your pet could potentially smell the smoke, then you are too close to it and you are exposing it to secondhand smoke.
- The easiest way to smoke away from pets is to do it outside in an area that the pets do not go in. This will guarantee that the pets are not exposed to your smoke.
- Wherever you choose to smoke, make sure you completely extinguish your cigarette and dispose of the butt in a place where your pet cannot get to it. This will prevent them from trying to eat your cigarette butts.
- Although it has not been linked directly to causing diseases, some scientists argue that thirdhand smoke, meaning smoke particles that land on fabric, hair, and skin, is full of toxins that can affect other people, and pets, as well.If you are concerned about this, make sure to wash your hands and change your clothes after smoking and before snuggling with your pet.
- While electronic cigarettes do not pose the same threat of secondhand smoke to pets as traditional ones do, they do pose a small hazard. Make sure spent cartridges are kept away from pets, so that they do not chew or eat them.
Make sure that others are not smoking near your pets.Even if you have avoided exposing your pets to secondhand smoke, other people may do it without knowing that it could damage your pet's health. If you see someone smoking near your pet, move your pet far enough away so that you can no longer smell the smoke.
- If you hire a pet sitter or get friends to watch your pets, make sure that these people know to keep your pet away from secondhand smoke.
- Let guests and visitors know about your rules regarding smoking around your pets, too. For example, you could tell a friend staying the night, "We try not to smoke around the dog, so we've set up a smoking area outside on the patio."
- For parties or large gatherings, you can even post signs and reminders to smoke in designated areas.
Getting Rid of Smoke in the House
Purchase an air purifier for your home.You can get an air purifier for your whole home, or keep smaller models specifically in the rooms your pets frequent. Look for a purifier that is designed to help eliminate smoke. These should have a HEPA filtering system, as well as an activated carbon filter.
- The filtering system will help keep both harmful airborne particles and the smell of cigarettes away from your pets.
Open your windows daily to air out your house.Another way to help keep smoke out of your home is to open your windows daily to allow smoky air out and fresh air in. If possible, open nearby windows as you smoke. This will allow the smoke to travel out without sitting in your home.
- This method should be considered in addition to an air purifier. Since weather and other factors determine if and when you can open your windows, you should not rely on this alone.
Frequently clean your household textiles to remove smoking smells.Give your curtains, fabric furniture, rugs, drapes, and carpets a frequent deep clean to remove any lingering chemicals and smells around the house. How frequently this should be done will depend on how often you smoke. In an ideal situation, though, you should aim to have little to no residual smoking scents in your house.
- Deep cleaning has to go beyond simply vacuuming and dusting. For example, if you have carpet floors, they should be shampooed regularly.
- Look for drapes and curtains that can be washed in a standard home washing machine. Try to find a couch with cushion covers that can be washed at home, too. This will help make cleaning easier.
- Do not rely on commercial odor removing products. These simply mask the smell, which will return later when the product has worn off. They also do nothing to remove other residue and chemicals.
Understanding and Treating Second Smoke Damage
Learn what secondhand smoke is.Secondhand smoke is a combination of smoke coming straight off a cigarette or cigar and the smoke exhaled from a smoker's lungs. It can build up especially well in an enclosed room, such as when a smoker smokes inside their home, but can enter one's lungs if they are close to a smoker who is smoking outside.
- Secondhand smoke is emitted from all tobacco products that are burned, including both cigarettes and cigars. In fact, a cigar can put off as much secondhand smoke as an entire pack of cigarettes.
Find out about the toxic chemicals in secondhand smoke.There are a wide variety of chemicals in secondhand smoke, such as cyanide and arsenic. These chemicals are inhaled into the lungs and transferred into the bloodstream when one inhales secondhand smoke. These chemicals can be extremely toxic to pets and humans alike.
- There are actually more than 7,000 chemicals that have been identified in secondhand smoke.Many of these are cancer causing, while others can cause other illnesses.
Recognize the risk to your pet's health.Secondhand smoke does a variety of harmful things to your pet's health. It limits the ability of blood to get oxygen to the heart by limiting the oxygenation of blood, it introduces a wide variety of toxic chemicals into the body, and it promotes the growth of cancerous tumors, particularly in the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system.
- It has been scientifically proven that secondhand smoke is a known carcinogen, meaning that it causes cancer.While there has been much less testing on its impact on animals than its impact on humans, secondhand smoke is nonetheless extremely dangerous to their health as well.
- Smoke is also an irritant to your pet's lungs. This can make them more susceptible to lung infections, which will require vet visits, antibiotics, and extra time and energy to treat.
Know the signs of illness.Secondhand smoke can cause a wide variety of illnesses, including, but not limited to, diseases of the respiratory system. These include less serious illnesses, such as asthma or bronchitis, and more serious diseases, such as precancerous and cancerous lesions in the lungs. If you notice that your pet has a dry cough, has a cough that is getting progressively worse, or the pet is wheezing when it breathes, then it could be a sign that your cat needs veterinary care.
- Many less severe illnesses associated with secondhand smoke, such as bronchitis, can clear up on their own if the pet is no longer exposed to secondhand smoke.
Seek out treatment for your pet.If you suspect that your pet is suffering from a disease associated with secondhand smoke, then go to the veterinarian. Keep a record of its symptoms, including when they started, and bring that information with you to the veterinary office. The best thing you can do for your pet at this point is to get it good veterinary care.
- Your veterinarian will likely run a variety of tests on your pet. These could include a blood test, an x-ray, and a thorough examination of your pet's body. These tests will help the veterinarian to assess the animal's overall health and they will help him or her to locate any problems.
- Ask your vet about potential treatment plans for your pet. Always make sure to closely follow the vet's instructions.
Video: How Pets are Affected by Secondhand Smoke
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