Smoking is known to be bad for people, but have we been neglecting its effects on our pets’ health? According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), pets are in more danger than smokers realize.
“If 58 million non-smoking adults and children are exposed to tobacco smoke, imagine how many pets are exposed at the same time,” FDA veterinarian Carmela Stamper, D.V. M, said in an FDA consumer update.
One area of concern is third-hand smoke, when residue like nicotine gets left behind on skin, clothes, furniture, carpets and other household items.
“Like children, dogs and cats spend a lot of time on or near the floor, where tobacco smoke residue concentrates in house dust, carpets and rugs. Then, it gets on their fur,” Stamper said in the update, which was released in November 2016. “Dogs, cats and children not only breathe these harmful substances in, but pets can also ingest them by licking their owner’s hair, skin, and clothes.”
When a cat or dog grooms itself or another animal, he ingests those residues as well.
Smoking isn’t just a concern for cats and dogs— birds, guinea pigs, and even fish are also at risk.
The FDA’s website notes that there is a lack of information on the effect of smoking on pets, compared to the amount of research available for people.