Smoke is harmful to your pets, too
Dear Karen: Two weeks ago, my husband and I went to look at exotic birds at an area farm where the birds are actually hatched. When we entered the small room with hatchlings, it was filled with smoke. The owner was smoking while feeding newborn chicks on
We aren't smokers and don't mind if anyone does smoke, but got to wondering about the effects of second-hand smoke on any pet, including cats and dogs. People seem to think because pets' lives are shorter, it doesn't hurt them. We thought you may know.
Tami of Allentown
Dear Tami: Evidence is mounting as to the dangers of secondhand smoke on pets. After all, our animal friends don't just inhale the smoke. Toxic residue trapped in fur and feathers is often ingested during self-grooming.
In a study titled "Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Risk of Malignant Lymphoma in Pet Cats," conducted in 2002 by Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, researchers found kitties living indoors with a smoker are twice as likely to contract cancer as those in a nonsmoking environment.
Another study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that dogs in smoking households had a 60 percent greater risk of lung cancer. An additional study in the same publication showed that long-nosed dogs, such as collies and greyhounds, are twice as likely to develop nasal cancer if they live with smokers.
A variety of skin maladies and allergies in pets have also been linked to secondhand smoke.
While no formal study has been conducted on birds, the highly developed respiratory tract of our feathered friends makes them even more susceptible to pollutants in the air than humans. Avian specialists at Tufts point to numerous case studies of birds dying in cages after inhaling fumes of cleaning products nontoxic to humans.
Pet owners have a choice about whether to smoke. But common sense says if you smoke, do so in a properly ventilated area, sparing Fido and Fluffy harm or discomfort. Trapping pets in a smoke-filled car or room is unfair and unnecessary.
Dear Karen: Thank you so much for your articles on puppy mills and brokers. A dog is a major life commitment, yet most people research the purchase of a washing machine more than this living part of their family.
I wish people would be more realistic and recognize their lifestyle might not fit dog ownership. I have many friends in two-income families. They get a puppy and the poor thing spends most of its life in a crate. When they let the dog out of the crate, they complain it's too hyper and gets into everything, so they stick the poor dog back in the crate. This often ends up in frustration with the dog being surrendered to the Humane Society or resold.
Please emphasize the importance of purebred rescue groups. Everyone is so fixated on getting a puppy they might not realize that most rescue dogs are housebroken, fixed, microchipped, have updated shots and any needed vet care.
Thank you again for this excellent column and all you do to make life better for our four-legged friends!
Sheri of Etters