Poor Air Quality and Pet Safety


With the unfortunate wildfires recently occurring in both Northern and Southern California, we want to make sure that you and your pets are safe from the poor air quality outdoors. Not only is it detrimental for humans to inhale, our pets can suffer from the dangerous effects as well!

Inhaling smoky air can lead to respiratory symptoms, lung injuries, blocked airways, or even death in severe cases. Brachycephalic dogs, such as Pugs, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and Boxers are at a higher risk of respiratory problems due to their short noses and snouts. These breeds will need extra attention and care during extreme air conditions. Being exposed to vast quantities increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases as well.

While we hope the wildfires will be completely contained soon, here are some ways we can protect our pets:

  1. Keep them indoors, and be sure to keep the windows shut. If your pet eliminates outdoors, limit the time they have outside and keep walks short. If you have an air conditioner, try to run it to help filter the air inside your home.

  2. Keep physical activity to a minimum, when possible. It may seem impossible for some pets, but do the best you can to limit their activity, and keep them inside if possible.

  3. Be sure to provide a bowl of fresh water. This is so important! Always keep them hydrated.

  4. If you pet is older, or is experiencing serious distress from the air quality, have them wear a pet mask. These will work if your pet allows for it to stay on his or her face. Pet masks will protect them from inhaling particles in the air, smoke, chemicals and allergens. Depending on your pet’s face structure, be sure to find a size and style that is most suitable for his or her nose. Every breed is different.

  5. Watch for any signs of respiratory distress. This includes:

·         Increased salivation

·       Lethargy

·         Excessive coughing, gagging

·         Difficulty breathing

·         Inflammation in the eyes

REMINDER: Always have a plan. If you are asked to be evacuated from your home, never leave your pets behind. They will not be able to survive on their own! Bring the necessities for your pet to survive. Find out what is important to pack in an emergency kit here. Locate pet-friendly hotels, or ask to stay at a friend’s or relative’s place who will allow you to bring your pet over.

When you see your pet acting differently or notice signs of distress, please seek veterinary attention for immediate care. If a dog is suffering from inhaling too much smoke, the dog may experience seizures, confusion, fainting, and will be unable to walk. Immediately take the dog to the emergency hospital, and he or she will advise you for the next steps towards recovery.

These occurrences are always unexpected and can happen at anywhere and anytime around the world. Please keep these tips in mind in case a natural disaster strikes in your area. Read more about pet fire safety here.

Winnie Goh