Smoking Around Pets Could Cause Health Issues for Dogs and Cats

Karen Pilawski took a long drag from a cigarette as she watched her dog, Roxie, scurry around a Fort Worth dog park.

She admits smoking is bad for her health, and the secondhand smoke probably isn’t good for her black Labrador either.

“To me, animals are like humans, so it makes sense,” she said. “They can be as damaged as we can.”

Veterinarians say secondhand smoke can be just as harmful to smokers’ pets as it is to people, and pets could develop chronic respiratory issues or cancer from smoke.

Fort Worth veterinarian Cynthia Jones said many owners aren’t aware of the dangers because they haven’t been properly educated.

“It is an irritant,” she said. “It’s a carcinogenic. All of those things can produce the same symptoms in dogs and cats as it can in people.”

Studies have linked secondhand smoke to lung and nasal cancer in dogs and cats, and the smoke can also cause pets to develop chronic respiratory issues, such as asthma and bronchitis.

Those issues can eventually become life-threatening conditions, Jones said.

“You just shouldn’t smoke in front of your pet,” she said. “If you do smoke, you should smoke outside.”

Jones said smokers often will reduce their smoking or stop altogether after being told about the dangers of smoking in front of their pet.

But she said others keep on smoking.

“They are still going to smoke,” she said.

Pilawski said she doesn’t think the danger of secondhand smoke will stop her from smoking, but she said it’s a new incentive to stop.

“It could put me over the top to stop,” she said. “We’ll see.”

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Posted: 05/23/2010 at 07:00 PM
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Posted: 05/23/2010 at 07:00 PM
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