Protect pets from secondhand smoke!

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Just two more days till World No Tobacco Day! Are you going to participate in any activity next May 31? Are you planning to quit smoking next Tuesday?

If you smoke, has your veterinary ever told you that when you light up a cigarette you can be putting your pet’s health at risk? Well, it’s true. Whether your pet is a cat, a dog, a rabbit, or a bird your loved animal will be affected too. Pets will suffer the distress of life-threatening cancer or chronic breathing difficulties just as persons do. Surprised? I was. But I wrote the story after watching Davi's reaction to secondhand smoke. Davis is my sister's shar-pei dog. It seemed very uncomfortable with it.

So here's the story on pets and secondhand smoke. Not a pretty one. Dogs can develop nasal and lung cancer and experience breathing and cardiac problems. Dogs are especially prone to secondhand smoke’s respiratory effects. Dogs can experience allergic reactions to secondhand smoke. How can you tell? They will scratch, bit,e and chew off their skin. Cigarette butts are also a danger if ingested. If eaten by a puppy can cause death. The same goes for nicotine replacement gum and patches. Cigarettes will kill a pet too if eaten. Sometimes pets may drink water that contains cigarette butts in it. This water is like poison to a pet. So keep the ashtrays clean.

Cats may get oral cancer. Cats constantly lick themselves. As they groom themselves they eat toxic particles and poisons from secondhand smoke that have settled on their fur. They can also develop respiratory problems, lung inflammation, and asthma.

A bird’s respiratory system is hypersensitive to any type of pollutant in the air. Birds may develop eye problems and respiratory problems like coughing and wheezing. And heart and fertility problems too. Some birds may pull out their feathers if they get dermatitis from nicotine. I had budgeted for a long time. These birds are likely to fly to our shoulders or hand. Nicotine can remain in the smoker's hand for a long time and thus affecting the bird. So, if you’re a smoker do not play with your birds unless you wash your hands very well. ( Do it also before petting other animals)

There are no safe levels of exposure to secondhand smoke for humans - and that goes for animals as well. If you like four-legged furry ones, well, they are just another reason for considering not smoking or quitting. Or adopt a fish instead.