By Mark Mathis
Smoking is a personal choice that everyone is free to decide for himself or herself. Those that smoke are aware of the risks, and make the decision to smoke freely. But what about smoking around your dog? Does it have an impact? We’ll look at the applicable research, tell you what the experts have to say, and explain some things that you may want to consider.
The research about the impact of cigarette smoke to humans is overwhelmingly clear. The body of research concerning pets is not nearly as large. John Reif with the Colorado State University Veterinarian hospital conducted two studies about the impact of second hand smoke on dogs.
The dogs exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes were significantly more likely to develop some types of cancers, and long nosed breeds like German Shepherds had even more problems than other breeds.
Additional research by CSU showed that the effects of secondhand smoke were long lasting. Measurable levels of carcinogens could be found in dog’s hair and urine for months after exposure.
Reif concluded, “People who choose to smoke should do so away from pets, outdoors.”
I was unable to find any specific research that discussed the effect of secondhand smoke on a dog’s olfactory ability. There is research that shows that human’s olfactory ability is reduced by smoking. It can be reasonably concluded that if human’s ability to smell is reduced by exposure to smoking that second hand smoke exposure would have an impact on our canine friends. This may matter to you if your dog’s nose is important for hunting or searching.
The experts that we polled were all of the opinion that smoking around a working dog most likely would have a negative impact. Most take steps to minimize the amount of smoke that their own dogs are around.
International Police Work Dog Master Trainer Richard McQueary said it would appear that, “smoking has the same effect on dogs as it does on humans, only magnified.” That sentiment is echoed by nearly every other working dog expert I’ve spoken with.
What should you do?
If you enjoy smoking this article certainly isn’t an attempt to get you to quit. However, you should attempt to minimize the impact it has on your dog. Your dog can potentially get exposed to a lot of smoke in your home, or while riding around with you in the car. If you must smoke in the car, keep your windows open to provide lots of fresh air for your dog. Better yet smoke outside, while your dog smells the changing landscape. If every time you burn a cigarette your dog spends some time outside, smoking just may make your dog even better!