Everyone knows smoking has detrimental effects to a person’s health, but did you know it also has profound health effects on the family pets as well? November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month to bring awareness to “the number-one disease-related killer of dogs and cats”, claiming millions of pets each year. One way you can help decrease your pet’s chance of cancer is to avoid smoking near your pet.
When you smoke, more than 4,000 chemicals are produced from the burning end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar. The secondhand smoke produced by these tobacco products are “associated with oral cancer and lymphoma in cats, lung and nasal cancer in dogs as well as lung cancer in birds.”
Not only do cats breathe in secondhand smoke, they are placing the cancer-causing carcinogens from the smoke directly in their mouths when they groom themselves. Cats living with smokers have higher instances of mouth cancer (squamous cell carcinoma), as well as lymph node cancer (malignant lymphoma).
Dogs living with smokers have higher rates of cancer of the nose and sinus area, and can develop lung cancer. Longer-nosed dogs are more likely to develop nasal cancer as they have more surface area inside the nose exposed to the carcinogens, and less of the smoke reaches the lungs. Breeds with short or medium noses lack the ability to filter out the carcinogens and the smoke is inhaled more directly into the lungs. Dogs also groom themselves, putting carcinogens directly into their body.
You can help your pet by checking it at home for any unusual lumps or bumps, and if you discover something new, make an appointment with the vet. And just like people, pets need an annual exam to keep them in tip top shape. One way to keep your pet safe and healthy on a daily basis is by quitting smoking or not smoking around them to keep their secondhand smoke exposure to a minimum.
This group of furry friends even got together to make a music video to fund lifesaving cancer research:
Click here for more information on cancer and your pet.