Air quality alert! Remember to protect your pets.

One of the ways to protect your pet when air quality is bad: Keep your windows closed.

With the poor air quality we are experiencing in our region, it is important to take steps to protect ourselves and our families—including our pets. Just as extreme temperatures and other weather or environmental conditions impact people, our pets are impacted, too. The risk is even greater for animals with respiratory or cardiovascular disease, animals with flat faces (brachycephalic), like pugs, bulldogs and Persian cats, and animals that are very old or very young. Birds (e.g., parrots, cockatiels, parakeets) are particularly susceptible.

Here are some tips to help you protect your pets:

  • Keep them inside with doors and windows closed.
  • Let dogs and cats outside only for potty breaks.
  • Avoid intense outdoor exercise—there are lots of indoor activities for dogs when they can’t go for normal walks or play time outside.
  • For homes without air conditioning, utilize other cooling methods for animals.
    • Make sure fresh water is available at all times.
    • Provide fresh fruits and vegetables for pets such as birds, rabbits and guinea pigs.
    • Utilize ceiling or portable fans.
    • Offer your pet frozen treats like DIY popsicles.
    • When possible, keep animals in the cooler areas of the home.
  • If you have chickens and/or miniature goats:
    • If possible, use feed and bedding that produce less dust.
    • Make sure their water is fresh and clean at all times.
    • Be extra diligent in keeping pens and coops clean—this will help reduce dust and other irritant.s

Signs of respiratory distress include:

  • Unusual coughing, sneezing, gagging.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Unusual discharge or watering from eyes or nose.
  • Open mouthed breathing.
  • Lethargy or weakness.
  • Reduced appetite.

If you think your pet(s) may be suffering from the effects of poor air quality, they should be seen by a veterinarian right away. Take care of yourself and your pets—they count on you!