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Smoking Dogs-The Facts about Secondhand Smoke and Dogs!

Researchers agree that secondhand smoke hurts people.  We now have strong evidence that secondhand smoke hurts dogs, as well.

Secondhand smoke is the Environmental Tobacco Smoke (also know as ETS) that surrounds the smoker anytime he or she smokes a cigarette, pipe or cigar.  85% of the toxins from the smoke are released into the air, so any person or any animal near that smoke can be harmed.  Dogs are especially vulnerable.

Dogs age almost seven times faster than people, so the ETS effects can occur much more quickly  and the toxins in tobacco smoke have an even greater effect on smaller dogs.  Chemicals from tobacco smoke have been found in a dog’s body for months after one exposure. The more tobacco smoke that the dog is exposed to each day, the more severe his health problems will be.

Symptoms of problems that are caused by secondhand smoke can include wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath.  Environmental smoke can irritate lungs, eyes, nose, and throat, causing infections and asthma. Cancers are more common in dogs that are around tobacco smoke.  Dogs with long muzzles have more nasal cancers and dogs with shorter muzzles are more prone to lung cancer.  Warning signs are similar to those in humans and may include coughing, weight loss, a lack of energy, nasal swelling, sneezing, and bloody discharge. 

 Not all veterinarians are aware of the newest research that supports these findings, but many will be able to identify health problems that they see in their practice from secondhand smoke.  As an instructor and nurse, I have met some smoking-cessation participants who have come to my class because their pet’s veterinarian told them that their dog had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and would die from lack of oxygen if the owners did not stop smoking.  Another participant had a dog with heart problems that the vet blamed on ETS. Once the owners stop smoking, they often note that their dog no longer wheezes or gets colds.
The best way to prevent these health problems in animals and people is to not smoke around your dog, your children, or other non-smokers. wishes to thank the author, Jan Kilby RN, MS.
Ms. Kilby is an Education Specialist at Franklin Square Hospital Center in Baltimore , Maryland . She specializes in Tobacco Prevention and Intervention in adults and youths.
Jan has been a nurse for 35 years and she and her husband have raised two wonderful children, a son and a d aughter . She is also a special friend to all of the animals in her neighborhood ! Jan calls a herself a "real animal lover!"
She also developed a program entitled Pet Prep, to help parents-to-be prepare their pets for a new baby. To read her article: Pets Can Help Keep Children Healthier!, click HERE. For more information about this program, please visit the Franklin Square website:

Ms. Kilby has also written an article entitled Pets Can Help Keep Children Healthier! To read this article, click HERE.

Jan Kilby RN, MS
Community Health Education
Franklin Square Hospital Center
9000 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore , Maryland 21237
443) 777-7823

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