Poor air quality could affect your dog or cat: Tips to avoiding respiratory stress in pets

Photo from Richard Bartz

PORTLAND, Ore. – All the wildfire smoke moving into Western Oregon has significantly deteriorated the air quality, causing concern for pets.

Veterinarians at Dove Lewis issued a health warning Tuesday as dogs and cats could be in danger of respiratory distress.

Certain animals are especially at risk for health issues, including puppies and older dogs, pets with asthma and bronchitis, and dogs with rounder faces and shorter noses (bulldogs, Boston terriers, etc.) – Dove Lewis

Symptoms for smoke inhalation in pets are disorientation and confusion, fainting, lethargy, and seizures. If your pet has any of those symptoms seek immediate veterinary care.

Veterinarians offered these tips to help keep your pet safe from the smoke:

  • Keep pets indoors with the windows closed
  • Use air conditioning to further filter the air, if possible
  • Outdoor bathroom breaks should be kept short
  • Avoid prolonged exercise
  • Keep pets well hydrated
  • Look for signs of respiratory stress and eye inflammation. If pets show symptoms, see a veterinarian immediately
  • Urban farm animals (goats, chickens, rabbits) are less likely to become ill, as they are used to dusty conditions. However, it’s important to monitor them for abnormal behavior or symptoms of illness. Be sure to keep them sheltered from heat
  • For homes that are smoky indoors due to the proximity to fires, consider keeping pets at a doggy day care or with a trusted friend who lives away from the area

Below are the signs of respiratory stress in your pet:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unusual or excessive coughing, sneezing, vomiting or loss of appetite
  • Swelling or inflammation of the mouth, eyes, skin or upper airway
  • Open-mouthed breathing, especially in cats
  • Weakness/lethargy
  • Uncoordinated walking/unable to stand
  • Increased salivation
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