Poor air quality does not just impact humans. Dogs, cats and other pets can also be affected when it becomes difficult to breathe.
Recently, concerned pet owners have been searching for how to protect their pets from poor air quality. The searches come as much of the Eastern U.S. is experiencing poor air quality, which has forced the cancellation and postponement of a number of events.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a guide on how to protect pets from wildfire smoke. The guide says “animals with heart or lung disease and older pets are especially at risk from smoke and should be closely watched during all periods of poor air quality.”
It recommends monitoring pets for the following symptoms:
• Coughing or gagging
• Red or watery eyes, nasal discharge, inflammation of throat or mouth, or reluctance to eat hard foods
• Trouble breathing, including open-mouth breathing, more noise when breathing, or fast breathing
• Fatigue or weakness, disorientation, uneven gait, stumbling
• Reduced appetite or thirst
The EPA recommends keeping pets indoors and reducing physical activity when air quality declines. It also recommends keeping indoor air quality clean by using filters and avoiding activities like burning candles or vacuuming.
The air quality in much of the Eastern U.S. is considered “unhealthy” as of Thursday morning. In some areas, particularly around New York and Philadelphia, the air quality has been considered “hazardous.” The poor air quality caused several major sporting events to be postponed Wednesday, and some Broadway shows were canceled.
The Environmental Protection Agency forecasts that air quality in Philadelphia and New York will gradually improve on Friday. Meanwhile, forecasters said the air quality will deteriorate in parts of the Southern U.S.
The EPA offers additional tips on how to improve air quality for humans and pets.
Brooklyn resident Amy Sagan, 51, is concerned about the air quality and her family’s pet, Cooper, a 9 year-old Norwich Terrier.
“I’m continuing to walk him, but very short walks,” said Sagan, who works from her home.
The family has taken precautions due to the air quality, masking up when outside. Her husband, who usually runs in the morning, is now skipping the outdoor exercise.