Dangers of Smoke Inhalation in Dogs

Dangers of Smoke Inhalation in Dogs

Dangers of Smoke Inhalation in Dogs posses the same risk as human does. It can expose your dog to various conditions such as cancers and chronic bronchitis. Did you know that dogs also suffer from smoke inhalation as passive smokers do? A recent study revealed that smoke from tobacco products can expose your dog to various conditions such as nasal cancer or lung cancer.

When dogs stay in a smoke-filled environment for a long time, they can also develop chronic bronchitis. Smoke contains dangerous chemicals that irritate the airway causing inflammation.

What is Smoke Inhalation?

Smoke inhalation refers to the process of breathing harmful smoke particles and gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and cyanide. Inhalation of these harmful gases can lead to the inflammation of your dog’s lungs and airway, causing them to swell and block oxygen.

Dogs just like every other land animal require oxygen to survive. When deprived of this vital gas, they can suffer serious respiratory problems.  Smoke inhalation for pets occurs when they are trapped in a contained area. This can be at home near fire such as the kitchen. Pets can also suffer from second-hand smoke. By inhaling the smoke from tobacco products, your dog can develop smoke-related injuries. 

Factors that play a role in Smoke Inhalation

These are the substances that negatively affect your dog’s airways when it inhales smoke:

Carbon Monoxide

This is a clear and odorless gas that is produced due to incomplete combustion of fuels. Due to its odorless property, carbon monoxide cannot be detected. When dogs are exposed to carbon monoxide, the carbon monoxide gas replaces the oxygen in their bodies causing poisoning.

Hydrogen Cyanide

This chemical is probably a leading killer among gases produced during a fire outbreak. Cyanide is found in materials such as plastic, cotton, silk, and paper. When these materials burn, hydrogen cyanide is released, harming your dog’s body after inhalation.  


Smoke is made up of particles that irritate the lining of the airways and the lungs of your dog. They cause inflammation of your dog’s airways resulting in breathing difficulties and other reactions.

Heat Burns

The heat from the smoke particles burns the airway whenever your dog is exposed to smoke.

Signs & Symptoms of Smoke Inhalation

Here are the visible signs to notice in your dog when checking for smoke inhalation:

  • Agitation
  • Faster breathing rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Facial swelling
  • Uncoordinated gait
  • Squinting of the eyes
  • Seizures
  • Skin burns

Dr. Lewellyn from the University of Illinois says that the pet may exhibit changes in the mental state ranging from being quieter than normal to being in comatose for the severely affected ones.

Dangers of Smoke Inhalation in Dogs

Sources of Toxicity from Smoke Inhalation

Every day dangerous gases are produced from appliances that you use in your home. If you have poorly ventilated rooms, then these gases end up concentrating within the house for a longer time before escaping outside. If your dog gets exposed to these gases, it may suffer from smoke inhalation. Here are the sources of the dangerous gases present in smoke:

  • Gas boilers and heaters
  • Gasoline-powered generators within a poorly ventilated spaces
  • Car exhaust
  • Charcoal grills
  • Cigarettes
  • Charcoal grills

Second-hand Smoke and your Dog’s Health

The person who directly consumes a cigar is known as a first-hand smoker. The person or animal that inhales either the smoke coming from the burning cigar or the smoke exhaled by the first-hand smoker is known as the second-hand smoker.  Tobacco smoke contains more than 7000 harmful chemicals that expose passive smokers including your lovely dog to chronic diseases such as cancer. A study conducted by Colorado State University indicated that dogs living in smoky environments were more likely to develop nasal cancer. What’s more, the length of your dog’s nose determines the type of cancer it is exposed to. Dogs with long noses are prone to getting to nasal cancers while those with short noses get lung cancers when they stay in smoke-filled environments for a long time

Chronic Bronchitis and Smoke

Chronic bronchitis is a condition that affects the airways of mammals including your dog. It refers to the inflammation of the airway due to irritation by dangerous chemicals. Exposure of your dog to tobacco smoke compounds over a long time exposes them to bronchitis. The most common sign of chronic bronchitis is a harsh productive or unproductive cough. A productive cough refers to one that contains clear mucus and other foreign materials from the airway while an unproductive cough doesn’t release anything.


Smoke inhalation is dangerous to your dog. It exposes your dog to various conditions such as cancers and chronic bronchitis. If you care about your dog’s health, then you should avoid smoking tobacco products in its presence to reduce the effects of inhalation as a passive smoker. Invest in a properly ventilated environment for your dogs. This ensures that all the dangerous gases produced by appliances in your home escape outside as quickly as possible.

Author: Vincent Otieno

Author bio - Vincent Otieno

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