FDA: Smoking exposure kills dogs, cats

Smoking monkeys aren’t the only animals at risk of developing lung cancer.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), secondhand smoke is also harmful to household pets like dogs, cats, birds, fish, and guinea pigs who are exposed to it.

“If you’re a smoker, you probably realize the dangers smoking may pose to your health,” the FDA wrote Wednesday in a consumer update. “But have you ever thought about how the habit affects your pet?” 

The FDA has long warned that secondhand smoke can travel through the air and harm nearby people who breathe in the fumes. The agency is also concerned about thirdhand smoke, which leaves a residue that stains clothes, furniture, and carpets.

FDA veterinarian Carmela Stamper said 58 million people — and many more pets — who do not smoke are consistently exposed to secondhand or thirdhand smoke.

“Smoking's not only harmful to people, it's harmful to pets, too," Stamper said.

“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,” Stamper added. “Then, it gets on their fur. 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.”