Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | May 12, 2010

Smoke Free for Pets Sake

Zeus Supports Smoke Free

Hi my name is Zeus and I am a friendly, fun loving, and exuberant Boxer mix here at the Second Chance Shelter waiting for my new forever family to come get sloppy kisses from me.  To pass the time I have been catching up on my reading and came across an interesting article in the Downeast Dog News a publication out of the state of Maine.  The article was discussing the findings of a recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology that dogs whose owners smoke inside the home have a 60 percent higher risk of lung cancer than dogs in non-smoking households.

The article went on to state that nasal cancer in long-muzzled dogs like greyhounds and collies is also 50-percent more common in dogs from smoking households.  In addition to the threats to me and my canine friends, higher incidences of lymphoma, chronic upper respiratory infections, and asthma in felines have all been linked to exposure to secondhand smoke.  (Fyi, secondhand smoking is the inhalation of smoke from tobacco products used by others.)

Up until now, the public’s awareness of the consequences of secondhand smoke has been limited to the significant health risks it poses to humans.  Fortunately this is changing, for example over in the state of Maine, Nancy Laite, a Program Specialist with a county community health coalition and member of  the board of directors for her local  Animal Rescue League has been working to educate volunteers, staff, and potential adoptive families, about the effects secondhand smoke has on the animals they bring into their homes.

“There are no safe levels of secondhand smoke,” Laite told Downeast Dog News. “There are 5,000 chemicals in tobacco, and forty of those are carcinogenic, so, whether it’s four-legged or two-legged, living beings are still going to get the ill effects of the toxins from tobacco.”

Short of actually quitting smoking altogether, Laite advises people to make their homes smoke-free. This means not only refraining from smoking inside the home, but staying at least twenty feet from doors and windows. “People who go out on the back porch for a cigarette aren’t really helping the situation any because the smoke is still coming back in the home and people are still breathing it,” says Laite.

Following in the steps of Laite and her Animal Rescue League, Second Chance Humane Society will be putting together information on the impact of secondhand smoke on animals. That information will soon be distributed to adoptive families within their new adoption packet.

Individuals who would like to learn more about making their homes smoke-free can take the “Smoke Free Home” pledge at and get help through a variety of resources – many of which are available through   In the words of Nancy Laite, “If you’re not going to quit for yourself, maybe you’ll do it for your dog.”

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online:  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.


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