At one point or another, we have all been told that smoking is bad for our health. We have been shown the impact of tar on human organs, we have been told about the many cancers that can result from smoking, and time after time we are informed of the dangers of secondhand smoke. Full of this knowledge on the health risks related to smoking, have you ever consider the impact that smoking may have on your pet?
Just as smoking may affect the people around you, studies have shown that it may also impact your pets. When someone smokes, toxins are released into the very same air that your pet breathes in. When breathing in air, the toxins move through your pet’s mouth, into their lungs, and throughout their circulation system. This process is repeated every time your furry friend takes a breath. Moreover, toxins that are released into the air come in contact with your pet’s fur and skin. When grooming themselves, pets lick their fur, fur on which toxins like nicotine and tar may collect. The nicotine and tar enters your pet’s mouth and digestive system each time they lick themselves.
Studies have shown that a few effects that second-hand smoke can have on your pet are:
- - Cancers: lymphoma, lung, and nasal
- - Respiratory problems
- - Allergies
- - Skin diseases
- - Eye infections
- - Vomiting
- - Salivation
It is common for us to hear the effects that smoking has upon humans, that we may forget to think about how our pets are impacted. Next time you think of lighting up near your pet, think about the effects that smoking might have on their health.
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When it comes to the health of our puppies, we all want to make sure we take the necessary steps to protect them but we also don’t want to cause unnecessary harm. Some medications are unsafe for puppies at different ages and some medical tests need to be done in a time sensitive matter. Unfortunately, for each medication or diagnostic test, the age and weight requirements for puppies can vary widely. Still, when it comes to shots and heartworm test and medication there are some clear guidelines that all pet owners should follow.
Puppies who feed off their mothers are naturally protected from disease until the age of six to sixteen weeks. Certain antibodies are passed to the puppies through the mother’s milk, but after this age puppies need to be protected through other measures. Unfortunately, the exact age when a puppy no longer get disease protection from their mothers is unclear. This is because the length and timing of disease susceptibility will vary between litters and even within individuals in a litter. Most puppies will begin to be vaccinated at around 6 weeks of age with boosters every 3 weeks until the puppy reaches 16 weeks of age.
As far as heartworm medications are concerned, veterinarians will recommend starting puppies on meds between 4 and 8 weeks of age to prevent infection. On the other hand, heartworm tests are not recommended until around 7 months of age. This is because it usually takes 4-6 months before heartworms are medically detectable meaning earlier tests could result in false negatives. Moreover, to keep your puppy safe from disease, you should avoid contact with stray or sick dogs and never board a puppy before it is at least 5 or 6 months of age.