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Secondhand Smoke Affects Pets Too

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3 Ways to Keep Pets Healthy

Monitor Your Pet's Weight

Obesity is just as dangerous for pets as it is for people. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that 52.7 percent of dogs and 57.9 percent of cats are overweight or obese. Obesity can cause a variety of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, respiratory disease, kidney disease, and cancer. Make sure you do not overfeed your pet, and consult your veterinarian if you notice that your furry friend is packing on the pounds.

Encourage Exercise

Exercise is an excellent way to maintain your pet's heart and respiratory health, and keep bones and muscles strong. Give your dog plenty of opportunity to run and play outdoors. Daily walks or runs and vigorous session of fetch will help ensure that your pooch gets enough exercise. Encourage your indoor cat to be active by enticing him or her with a kitty fishing rod or operating a remote-controlled mouse. Some cats even enjoy outdoor walks on harnesses.

Do Not Skip Yearly Veterinary Visits

During your pet's yearly exam, his or her veterinarian can diagnose health problems, such as diabetes or skin conditions, and prescribe treatments to prevent the problem from worsening. He or she can also provide advice on maintaining a healthy weight and keeping older animals healthy and comfortable.

The effects of secondhand smoke on people are well-documented. Exposure to tobacco smoke causes a variety of serious health problems, including stroke, heart disease, and lung cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not surprisingly, secondhand smoke also increases the risk of health problems for your pet.

Dogs That Live with Smokers Are at Increased Risk of Nasal and Lung Cancers

Breathing in tobacco smoke can increase the chance that your dog will develop lung or nasal cancers. Nasal cancer is more common in long-nosed dogs, including collies, greyhounds, Afghan hounds, dachshunds, and borzois. Because more carcinogens can accumulate in their long noses, fewer carcinogens reach their lungs. In contrast, shorter-nosed dogs that live with smokers are more likely to develop lung cancer because their noses do not filter the carcinogens as effectively.

Unfortunately, the long-term survival rate for nasal cancer is low. Dogs that receive radiation treatment, the recommended treatment for nasal cancer, usually live an average eight to 19 months, according to the National Canine Cancer Foundation.

Exposure to smoke also increases the risk that your dog will develop asthma, bronchitis, or other respiratory problems.

Breathing in Carcinogens Isn't the Only Problem

If you have ever been in the home of a long-time smoker, you may have noticed that the walls were coated with a yellow, sticky residue from the tobacco smoke. Unfortunately, carcinogens do not just coat the walls, but also fall on your pets' fur. Since cats clean their fur by licking it, they are more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma in their mouths. The risk of developing the cancer increases if cats have lived in the environment for five years or longer. Cats exposed to secondhand smoke are also 2 1/2 times more likely to develop malignant lymphoma than cats that live in smoke-free homes.

Secondhand Smoke and Birds Don't Mix

Dogs and cats aren't the only pets that experience health problems when they live with tobacco smoke. Birds are particularly sensitive to smoke, chemicals, and other pollutants. When they are exposed to secondhand smoke, they are more likely to develop pneumonia, lung cancer, heart problems, skin and eye irritation, coughing, and sinusitis.

Smoke Isn't the Only Problem

Your cat is unlikely to think an ashtray full of cigarette butts looks tasty, but your dog might decide that they make a good snack. Eating butts can lead to nicotine poisoning, a condition that can cause death if your pet ingests enough nicotine.

Symptoms of nicotine poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Incoordination
  • Drooling

Your pet can also develop nicotine poisoning if it drinks water that contains cigarette or cigar butts, or eats nicotine gum or patches.

Preventing Exposure

The best way to prevent these serious health problems is to quit smoking and maintain a smoke-free environment for your pet. Although confining smoking to an outdoor area can help, your pet will be still be exposed to nicotine and carcinogens on your clothing, hair, and body. Vaping is touted as a better solution to smoking, but the e-cigarettes still produce chemicals that can be toxic.

We are here to help your pet stay strong and healthy. Give us a call if it's time for your pet's annual exam, or if you are concerned about a possible health problem.

Sources:

Science Daily: Secondhand Smoke is a Threat to Pets, 09/03/07

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070831123420.htm

PetMD: Risks of Second Hand Smoke for Dogs and Cats, 06/23/14

http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2014/june/risks-second-hand-smoke-dogs-and-cats-31821

American Journal of Epidemiology: Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Risk of Malignant Lymphoma in Pet Cats, 04/17/02

http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/156/3/268.full

Association for Pet Obesity Prevention: 2014 Obesity Facts and Risks

http://www.petobesityprevention.org/pet-obesity-fact-risks/

American Journal of Veterinary Research: Urinary Biomarkers to Assess Exposure of Cats to Environmental Tobacco Smoke, 04/07

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17397288

Healthy Pets: How Cigarettes and Smoking Impact Your Pet’s Health, 09/17/09

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2009/09/17/how-cigarettes-and-smoking-impact-your-pets-health.aspx

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke, 02/17/16

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2009/09/17/how-cigarettes-and-smoking-impact-your-pets-health.aspx

National Canine Cancer Foundation: Nasosinal Tumors

http://wearethecure.org/learn-more-about-canince-cancer/canine-cancer-library/nasosinal-tumors/

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  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

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    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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