I love my home, but sometimes I smell something strange in the air. I move kind of close to the ground and even then, the smell seems to follow me.
I am your beloved little dog. I follow you everywhere, but sometimes I don’t feel well and I wish I could tell you that.
Even though you take good care of me, I still really worry about your health and mine.
You see, second-hand smoke affects pets as well as humans.
There are more than 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, and about 50 of them cause cancer. I breathe them in and also lick them off my fur and paws when I’m cleaning myself. This puts me at higher risk for cancer and breathing problems. Sometimes I even feel wheezy when I walk.
Could I ask you a favour? Would you consider not exposing me to second-hand smoke? Maybe you could go outside to smoke or we could go for a walk together — just you and me in the fresh air?
We know there has been a lot of research on how second-hand smoke affects humans and we are now learning that pets are at risk too.
Pets regularly exposed to tobacco smoke have a 60 per cent greater chance of developing lung cancer.
Oh, and one more thing, can you also make sure your tobacco products are out of my reach? Occasionally I poke my nose into places and eat things that are not healthy for me. It happens — I’m a dog. Eating cigarettes and cigars can be fatal to me because nicotine and the other chemicals are poisonous.
I know you love me and I know you want what’s best for both of us. I don’t want to get sick from second-hand smoke and I want to be with you for a very long time. Let’s make a plan to stay healthy and happy together by keeping our home smoke free.
Let me take you for walks to keep your mind off using tobacco and to focus your attention on other things. Maybe you will choose to be tobacco free for both you and me.
For more information on smoking and its effect on pets check out the Utah Tobacco Prevention and Control Program’s website: http://www.tobaccofreeutah.org/smokingpets.htm.
For information and support to help you quit smoking visit: www.quitnow.ca.
Cheryl Sidenberg is a Senior Tobacco Reduction Coordinator with Interior Health.