FDA: Third-hand smoke can 'absolutely kill your pet'

Published: Feb. 8, 2017 at 4:10 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2017 at 11:58 AM EST
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(NPN/RNN) - There's a new warning surrounding smoking and how it can harm your pets.

Smoking and secondhand smoke have long been considered a dangerous and harmful activity for you, those around you and even your pets.

But third-hand smoke is a new danger, especially to your furry friends.

A result of smoking, third-hand smoke accumulates in places like your rug, floors and furniture. It differs from secondhand smoke in that it doesn't come directly from a lit cigarette.

"Second and third-hand smoke can absolutely kill your pet," said FDA Veterinarian Dr. Martine Hartogensis. "It can affect particularly animals that spend most of their time on the low levels on the floor, in and around the carpets and their bedding."

The chemical residue from smoking rubs off on pet fur and they ingest it when they groom or lick their coats. Studies show smoke has been linked to deadly cancers in pets.

Cats living in homes with smokers are twice as likely to develop oral tumors, while dogs with longer muzzles are more likely to develop nasal tumors.

"Nasal tumors are more prominent in long nosed dogs such as Dobermans, Collies, German Shepherds because they have an increased surface area in their nose and more exposure," Hartogensis. "Conversely shorter-nosed dogs like pugs and bull dogs are more associated with lung cancer because they have less filtration."

The FDA warning specifically discusses pets, but the American Academy of Pediatrics has previously warned about the risk of third-hand smoke for kids - especially babies and toddlers who crawl on rugs and have their faces near furniture.

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