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We’ve all heard of the dangers that smoking can have on not only ourselves, but also on how it can affect the health of those around us. But what about our pets? In a soon to be released study by The University of Glasgow, there is a direct link between pets who receive second-hand smoke and an increase in weight gain, cell damage and some animal cancers.
While this may sound alarming, it is actually not all the surprising. If we sit and think about it for a bit, then we can see how this can hold true. Pets spend majority of their days in the house where they are running around on the carpet, sleeping on the furniture and possibly even playing in our clothing. All of these places are harboring the toxic particles from cigarettes and whether our pets are inhaling these particles or ingesting them, the repercussions are frightening.
Professor Clare Knottenbelt, whom is a Professor of Small Animal Medicine & Oncology at The University of Glasgow has been researching the effects of second-hand smoke and the health impact it has on family pets.
“Our findings show that exposure to smoke in the home is having a direct impact on pets. It risks ongoing cell damage, increasing weight gain after castration and has previously been shown to increase the risk of certain cancers.” – Professor Clare Knottenbelt
Some of the other findings have shown that a dog who lives in a smoking household gained more weight after neutering than those who lived in a non-smoking environment.
What of the cancer aspect? Glasgow researchers examined the testicles of male dogs after they were neutered and what they found was of great concern. They found a gene, which acts as a marker of cell damage, was higher in dogs whom lived in smoking households than those who resided in non-smoking homes.
“The gene has been shown to be altered in some dog cancers in other studies, so the concern is this could be a worrying indicator. The effect on this gene was reduced when owners chose to smoke outside the home to reduce their pet’s exposure.” – The University of Glasgow
What is a smoking pet-parent to do? Going outside or smoking out of the home does decrease the amount of smoke taken in by animals but does not completely eliminate their exposure. The best course of action is to stop smoking altogether. Not only will this help improve your health, but it will also benefit and extend the health span of your beloved four legged family member.
This study is expected to be published sometime in 2016.