WASHINGTON — As smoke from wildfires in Canada continues to drift throughout the east coast, people are taking precautions before leaving the house. But what about our furry friends? How do we keep them safe during an air quality alert?
Just like people, our pets' health can be affected by poor air quality. Chances are, if you are feeling the effects of smoke, your pet probably is as well.
The Humane Rescue Alliance released a few tips and symptoms to keep in mind when it comes to making sure your pet is safe and when the air quality is poor.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR PET
HRA suggests pet owners keep their animals indoors, with the windows shut as much as possible, and to bring outdoor pets indoors to a room with good ventilation. Pet birds should not be allowed outside when smoke is present because they are especially susceptible, according to HRA.
When you have to bring your pet out, HRA says walks should be limited to bathroom breaks and urges owners to avoid intense outdoor exercise.
If your dog experiences boredom from the limited physical exercise, HRA suggests activities like playing fetch in a long hallway, using puzzle toys, or teaching your pet a new trick to provide mental stimulation.
Some animals are especially at risk during poor air quality events and should be closely monitored. HRA lists those animals as:
- Animals with heart or lung disease
- Older pets
- Brachycephalic dog breeds (breeds with short muzzles), such as French bulldogs, Pekingese, pugs, Boston terriers and boxers
SYMPTOMS TO LOOK FOR
HRA suggests owners consult a veterinarian if their pets show any of the signs of smoke irritation, including:
- Coughing or gagging
- Difficulty breathing, including open mouth breathing, increased noise when breathing, or fast breathing
- Red, watery, or irritated eyes
- Inflammation of the throat or mouth
- Nasal discharge
- Asthma-like symptoms
- Fatigue or weakness
- Disorientation and stumbling
- Reduced appetite and/or thirst
Millions of Americans are impacted by the smoke.