Smoking & Dogs ~ The Effects of Smoking On Our Dogs

posted in: Dog Health, Dogs | 28

Do You Smoke? Do You Have Dogs?

Today is National No Smoking Day in the UK

Smoking & Dogs ~ Effects of Smoking On Our Dogs {Dogs and Smoking} #DogHealth #DogsandSmoking #PetHealth #SecondHandSmoking www.scruffylittleterrier.comNo Smoking Day is an annual health awareness day, which started in 1984 to help smokers who want to quit smoking.

It is really great to learn that of the 28 EU Countries, the UK has the second lowest prevalence of smoking in adults, alongside Sweden at 17% (according to the National Statistics, NHS Statistics on Smoking published in 2017). The highest rate of smoking in EU Countries, with rates above 30%, are Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.

In 2000, 26.8% of adults (over 16) in the UK were smoking, this has decreased to 15.5% in June 2017 down from 19.9% in 2010. It is perhaps heartening to read that there has been a steady decrease, over time, in the proportion of secondary school pupils who thought it was OK to try smoking from 54% in 1999 to 26% in 2014.

Effects of Smoking

Everyone knows the effects of smoking on our health, everyone knows that it is bad for you, especially since the advertising on cigarette packets becomes more gruesome every year.

Smoking & Dogs ~ Effects of Smoking On Our Dogs {Dogs and Smoking} #DogHealth #DogsandSmoking #PetHealth #SecondHandSmoking www.scruffylittleterrier.comBut have you ever thought about how smoking affects our pets? I have, because my husband is a smoker and I am not. Yes, I hate it but he smoked when I met him and has smoked since he was a boy, he enjoys smoking and has no inclination to give it up. It does amaze me that he smokes, he is real germophobe and very hygienic. Smoking, to me, is dirty and smelly (the ash, the smell, the yellowy tinge) it doesn’t conjure up cleanliness and healthy environment!

When we first met it wasn’t really a problem for me, as we didn’t live together, when we rented our first flat, he didn’t really smoke in the flat so I never really noticed it at all. Now we have our own house, he smokes only in the kitchen, but it really is noticeable to me, especially during the winter months because we can’t leave the doors and windows open all day, like we do in the summer.

I hate it because the smoke seems to permeate everything and everywhere, no matter what I try to do! We have scented candles burning, open the window (even in the winter) and have a massive air purifier going all the time, but it still manages to seep upstairs, into my clothes and my hair (I’m sure people must think I smoke!).

Also, I really notice it when the dogs come upstairs, first thing in the morning, for a cuddle with me in bed. Their fur really stinks of smoke, it got me wondering what are the second-hand effects of smoking on dogs? Does anyone know?

The Effects of Second-Hand Smoking on Dogs

If smoking is harmful to humans, it would make sense to suggest that second-hand smoking could have an adverse effect on our pets in the home. A study, by the University of Glasgow, shows a direct link between the effect on pets living in a smoking environment and a higher risk of health problems, because they spend more time in the home and are closer to carpets where carcinogenic particles can linger.

Besides second-hand smoke, the ingestion of nicotine, which can be dangerous in itself. Additional health risks are associated with ‘third-hand smoke’, a term describing the invisible, yet toxic gases and particles clinging to smokers’ hair, clothing, in cars and carpeting which lingers long after second-hand smoke has cleared the room. If you can ‘smell’ the smoke then you are surrounded by third-hand smoke and third-hand smoke particles are thought to be more carcinogenic than second-hand smoke.

Effects of Smoking On Our Dogs {Dogs and Smoking} #DogHealth #DogsandSmoking #PetHealth #SecondHandSmoking

Professor Clare Knottenbelt at the University of Glasgow’s Small Animal Hospital, said, “Our findings show that exposure to smoke in the house is having a direct impact on pets.”

Smoking and Dogs

All of the above factors suggest that pets are probably exposed to greater amounts of passive smoke than humans.

Findings at The University of Glasgow show that pets who have exposure to smoke are at risk of ongoing cell damage which could increase the risk of;

  • Certain cancers such as nasal cancer, lung cancer, long bone cancer,
  • Heart disease,
  • Allergic skin reactions,
  • Respiratory illnesses such as an allergy to tobacco smoke and
  • Weight gain.

They observed that dogs living with a smoker gained more weight, after neutering, than those in a non-smoking household. By examining the testicles of male dogs, after they were castrated, a gene that acts as a marker of cell damage was high in dogs living in smoking home than those that did not. The effect on the gene was reduced when owners chose to smoke outside to reduce their pet’s exposure but didn’t eradicate the effects completely.

Protecting Your Pet

Whilst the best thing for you, other members of the household and your dog, is to stop smoking altogether, this is not as easy for some to do. I struggle to understand why you wouldn’t want to stop, after learning how second, and third, hand smoking is more dangerous for your dog, than it is for you. Especially, as we already know the effects it has on humans.

Effects of Smoking On Our Dogs {Dogs and Smoking} #DogHealth #DogsandSmoking #PetHealth #SecondHandSmoking

So to lower the risks to you and your dog, whilst you are trying to quit smoking, you can take the following steps to minimise the presence of second, and third, hand smoke in the home;

  • Do not smoke in the house, or car, anymore, smoking outside will prevent a great deal of smoke particles from settling in the home or car, reducing the toxic load greatly on your dog.
  • Do not smoke whilst cuddling your pet.
  • Use a high-quality air purifier in your home (we use this one, but there are smaller ones, do research on the right size for your house).
  • Change your clothes, wash them frequently or air them outside.
  • Wash your hands after smoking and before touching your dog.
  • Wash your hair frequently and bathe your dog frequently to remove any residue from their fur.
  • Keep ashtrays clean, and away from dogs.
  • Dispose of cigarettes etc in bins that can’t be accessed by dogs.

Whilst all of the above will reduce your dog’s exposure to the effects of smoking, the best option is to stop smoking completely, for you and your dog’s health and wellbeing. The good news is that the damage from smoking lessens with time once you have stopped.

So what are you waiting for?

Get me well so I can get on television and tell people to stop smoking ~ Nat King Cole



28 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Sweet Purrfections

    This definitely makes sense. I read an article a few years ago about the effect of second hand smoke with cats, especially if they are indoors all the time. My previous cat, Praline, didn’t like smokers. If one would come in my house, she’d totally ignore them.

    • Avatar

      She sounds like a clever cat indeed, it can be worse for cats too because they groom their fur so much more!

  2. Avatar
    Cathy Armato

    Great post! I’m amazed that the UK has made such progress helping people be aware of the health hazards of smoking and trying to encourage them to quit. HABRI (the Human Animal Bond Research Institute) spoke at a BlogPaws conference a couple of years ago and reported that many people have stopped smoking due to the dangers of second hand smoke to their pets. I don’t all think smokers are aware of how dangerous it is to both children and pets. sharing.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • Avatar

      I bet that was an interesting speech, I agree, I don’t think smokers are aware, I know I wasn’t till I wrote this post.

  3. Avatar

    It drives me insane to see people smoking in cars when their dogs are trapped in there with them. Regardless, of whether or not the windows are open a crack! I had no idea there was such a thing as third-hand smoke.

    • Avatar

      Me neither, and it is worse for pets than second-hand smoke!

  4. Avatar

    When I was a professional groomer, the dogs that lived in smoker homes always had yellow coats instead of white coats and they seemed to collect the most dirt. I felt really bad for the Shih Tsu that had a much harder time breathing with that short snout. Candles are also dangerous so I am glad you are using purifiers to help clear the air.

    • Avatar

      I do my best, at least the weather is a getting better so all the windows and garden door will be open all day!

  5. Avatar
    Sonja Lishchynski

    We are health nuts so … no smoking here. And when we visit the grandma … we NEVER let her even near the tiny itty bitty lungs with a cigarette … even just after a smoke as it lingers on her. yuck.

  6. Avatar

    I smoked until 2009, so I’ve been nicotine-free for about 8.5 years. I never smoked in the house and I would like to think I was a considerate smoker staying in smoker-designated areas, but there were times where I’d be walking outside. Now that it’s been a while since I quit, I can’t stand the smell of smoke. I try to avoid smokers while also remembering how hard it was to quit. It’s the people who smoke in the dog park who irritate me. I just leave because I’m not capable of engaging in that conversation without sounding accusatory.

  7. Avatar
    Ruth Epstein

    I am at this moment giving up and one thing I have never done around Layla is smoke, I do not in the house or when I am with her to protect her from second hand smoke. I am hoping by the end of the year it will be finished for ever – it is hard but I am determined

    • Avatar

      Good for you Ruth! I totally appreciate it is a tough addiction to quit, keep going, you will get there!

  8. Avatar

    If smoking is bad for humans and an unborn baby , the same can apply to our pets. I live in the USA, however I’m happy to learn UK has a national no smoking day to call attention to the issues around smoking. Never smoked a day in my life and that’s a deal breaker for me.

    • Avatar

      It affects everything, that’s for sure, paint on the walls turns yellow, the murky grim on windows, so if its doing that to windows, what is it doing to our insides?

  9. Avatar

    I think when people start smoking, they realize the possible side effects for themselves, but they don’t think about how it will affect others. Hopefully, this will encourage people to quit smoking.

    • Avatar

      I think it used to be very fashionable to smoke, not so much now and young people seem to understand the risks more than we did!

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  11. Avatar
    Heather Wallace

    Dogs noses are extremely sensitive. If you are a smoker your olfactory senses are deadened and you may not notice that the nicotine is clinging to you. These are great guidelines for smokers to follow, but more I’m glad to see the research that smoking has become less popular.

    • Avatar

      That is a great point Heather, about dogs noses being extremely sensitive, I didn’t even think of that! It is heartening to see smoking is becoming less popular!

  12. Avatar
    Jana Rade

    Yes, we are guilty being smokers. We always go smoke outside, though, never indoors where the dog(s) are.

    • Avatar

      I wish I could get my husband to always smoke outside, it’s a constant battle!

  13. Avatar

    I’m so glad neither me nor my wife smoke. I hated it when my parents smoked growing up, especially in the house.

    • Avatar

      Both my parents smoked, I remember when you were allowed to smoke on planes and in the office, I couldn’t image that now!

  14. Avatar
    Amy Shojai, CABC

    I’m so glad you wrote about this! People often say, “It’s my body, I can smoke if I want.” But truly, it affects those around us, too — our family, our kids and our pets. Human family members may have the choice to leave the house. Dogs, though, are at our mercy.

  15. Avatar

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