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Pets and Air Quality – Keep Pets Safe

Pets and Air Quality – Keep Pets Safe

Wildfire season is upon us. We know that poor air quality negatively affects us as humans, but how does it affect our pets? At EHS, we care about the health and safety of both you and your pets. Read on to find out how to keep your pets safe this wildfire season.

How Poor Air Quality Affects Pets

Poor air quality affects pets like humans in that they may experience an irritated throat and eyes, coughing and other smoke reactions.

Some dogs will experience more than these symptoms and may suffer more serious warning signs if they have any of the following predisposing factors:

  • Obesity
  • Juvenile or advanced age group
  • Pre-existing lung or heart disease
  • Brachycephalic conformation (short-nosed), including breeds such as pugs, French bulldogs, English bulldogs, Boston terriers, shih tzus, Pekingese and boxers.

Using the Air Quality Health Index

Use the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) to determine the day’s air quality before going out with your pet. When the AQHI is 7 or above, we recommend considering your pet’s overall condition and reducing or rescheduling outdoor activity, as needed. For example, if you have an older pet who already has respiratory concerns, their time outdoors when air quality is poor should be limited.

If the AQHI is 10 or 10+, we recommend avoiding activity outside and keeping time outside to a minimum. When the air quality is this poor, we do not recommend having your pet outside for more than 10 minutes and limiting their outside time to brief bathroom breaks.

Protecting Your Pet When There’s Poor Air Quality

To protect your pet when outside during poor air quality:

  • Limit time outside
  • Ensure your pet has access to fresh clean water and shade
  • Do not have your pet engage in strenuous exercise
  • Ensure smoke or particles don’t get stuck on your pet’s hair, and wipe or brush them after returning inside to ensure they don’t consume smoke or dust while grooming themselves

Here are some signs that your pet may be in distress:

  • Coughing or gagging
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Disorientation, stumbling and uneven gait that is abnormal for your pet
  • Discharge from their nose
  • Red and watery eyes
  • Reduced appetite or thirst

If you notice these signs, contact your veterinarian.

We have other resources that may be useful for you and your pets as we go through this wildfire season: