We all know that the fire season is upon us. Especially the current fires coming from the North and West. The reality is that Utah is not new to experiencing wildfires. It is very common during the dry season. This has dropped our air quality dramatically in the last few weeks and has caused some of us to experience some respiratory issues. This is the same with your pets. They too breathe in the same air we do. So if we are not sure whether the air quality is safe for you to be outside, then that means it is just as unsafe for your pets.
When our air is high with pollutants, this can adversely affect animals and their lungs. It can trigger asthma or bronchitis and possibly cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Air pollution can also increase the risk of acute cardiovascular events and develop into coronary artery disease. Some studies have shown that domesticated, ‘indoor’ animals have an increased risk of developing tumors when exposed to polluted air over an extended period of time.
During times of unsafe air quality, do as you would do by keeping your pets indoors with the windows and doors closed when possible. Avoid taking long walks during poor air quality times. Take short trips to the bathroom or use the litter box or pee pads.Try to filter the air using an air purifier in your home. And keep their bowls full of fresh, clean water at all times. Frequently check the weather app to know what the current air quality is at.
Some indications that your pet may be suffering from poor air quality would include labored breathing, excessive coughing or sneezing, loss of appetite or vomiting, lethargy, unusual discharge from the eyes and nose, redness of the eyes, increased salivation, swelling or inflammation of the eyes, mouth or skin and uncoordinated walking or inability to stand. Should you notice these symptoms, it is a good idea to give your veterinarian a call.
Please do not forget your pets during these times of poor air quality. They do not have a voice to speak up for themselves so it is up to you to be the responsible owner and advocate for them appropriately. At the end of the day, we want both you and your pets safe.