cigarette in ashtray
Credit: CDC (PHIL) - Public domain

It is a living fact that secondhand smoke is detrimental to a nonsmoker's health. But, did you know that this can cause serious health problems for your beloved dogs and other household pets? Yes, they may seem fine, but in reality, their body is slowly deteriorating when exposed to nicotine.

With that, to give you a better perspective regarding this issue, here is a list of effects of nicotine and secondhand smoke on dogs and ways on how you can resolve it.

What studies have to say?

The effects of nicotine and secondhand smoke on dogs has long been documented and published. To be exact, a 1998 study done at Colorado State University showed substantial evidence that nicotine can gravely harm your dog’s health and lifespan.

In their study, they found-out that dogs with long noses have a higher risk of sinus or nasal cancer when continuously exposed to a smoker’s environment.

What about dogs with short noses? Compared to long-nosed dogs, airborne chemicals found in cigarette smoke is not accumulated in their nasal passages. The problem with this is that the smoke goes straight  into their lungs. Hence, short to medium nosed dog breeds have a higher risk of developing lung cancer.

Either way, once your dog is diagnosed with cancer whether it’s a lung or sinus, he may have an average of one year to live.

Aside from that, the problem about the negative effects of exposure to nicotine does not end there. Nicotine poisoning may also be fatal for your dogs especially if they ingested cigarette butts.

Nicotine gums and patches can also poison your dogs. Although these products are not as lethal as cigarette butts, it will still make your dog sick. Hence, any nicotine containing substances or objects should be kept beyond your pet’s reach. 

Signs of nicotine poisoning in dogs

Always keep in mind that it is strongly advised to immediately seek veterinary help or the Animal Poison Control Center once your dog ingested any nicotine-containing products. But, how will you know if your pet is suffering from nicotine poisoning? 

Here is a list of the signs and symptoms that your dog will manifest if he ingested any items with nicotine.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excitement
  • Excessive salivation or drooling
  • If your dog is agitated, shivering or trembling
  • Hallucination both visual and auditory

Solutions to the problem

dog in a parkCredit: - public domain

Clearly, the best solution to this problem is to stop smoking or avoid exposing your dog to nicotine or secondhand smoke.

If you are in the process of quitting, you can use an air purifier to eliminate airborne toxins. If you are going to smoke, you have to do it outdoors. You should also wear smoke-free clothes and wash your hands before handling your canine-friend. Lastly, you should always dispose and keep nicotine-containing products including ashtrays away from your pets.

If you are not a smoker, good for you. However, you should always avoid smoking areas not only for your dog, but for your health as well. During walks, you must watch the streets for any cigarette butts or small objects that may harm your pets.

Remember, the effects of nicotine and secondhand smoke is not only limited to your household, but to your dog’s overall environment. 

Training video: Teaching your Dog to "take it" and "drop it"

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