Air quality affects our health in a number of ways. From eye irritation to lung disease, it’s important to take precautions to avoid unhealthy air. Air quality affects animals, including our pets, as well. When considering how to protect yourself from poor air quality, it’s important to plan for your pets too.
Different types of animals have different considerations when it comes to air pollution. Just like with humans, pets that are young, old, or have pre-existing conditions are more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution.
With the nose being the first line of defense against coarse particulate matter (PM), short-nosed breeds of cats and dogs, like Persian cats or pugs, are at an elevated risk to the effects of PM. Birds, due to the large size of their lungs relative to their bodies, are especially vulnerable to the effects of all air pollution.
With various factors at play, it’s important to be aware of your pet’s lung and heart health, as some animals may feel the effects of poor air quality more than others.
You can protect your pet’s health by reducing their exposure just as you would for yourself. When the Air Quality Index shows air pollution is high, limit your pet’s access to outdoor air. The easiest way to do this is to keep your pet indoors with windows and doors closed.
When taking your pet outside is necessary, be sure to keep trips quick and take it easy by limiting running and jumping. If your pet shows symptoms such as coughing or gagging, fatigue, or trouble breathing, take them inside and contact your veterinarian.
Keep an eye on the AQI so both you and your furry friends can breathe easier.