How to Keep Your Dog Safe When the Air Quality Is Dangerous

woman with mask on and dog outside

As more than 400 wildfires continue to rage in Canada, the US is grappling with major air quality issues, with some areas reporting the worst air quality on record.

Because these wildfires are not only burning trees and brush, but other materials, too, like pipes, batteries, and plastic, the emissions they produce are toxic pollutants that are a threat to both us and our beloved four-legged friends. The pollutants can impact our health, including causing coughing, wheezing, throat burning, eye irritation, sinus issues and worsening asthma, along with exasperating other respiratory problems. Similar issues arise in our dogs, too.

To keep our pups safe, here are a few tips on how to protect our them when air quality is dangerous.

Restrict walks

When air conditions resemble a smog-like post-apocalyptic landscape, it’s crucial to limit your dog’s outdoor activities. Skip the dog parks and play time. Keep walks brief and consider early mornings or late evenings when air quality might be slightly better. (You can also check out the Air Quality Index on your phone to see when is the best time to get out for a quick spin.)

Get creative indoors

If venturing outside becomes unhealthy for your dog, it’s time to channel your creativity and provide indoor enrichment activities for your bestie. Engage them in interactive games, like hide and seek and treasure hunts. You can also provide stimulating puzzles and toys to keep their minds sharp and their spirits high. And if you are feeling really ambitious, consider teaching them that command or trick you have been putting off. All of these mental activities can help your dog remain stimulated (and hopefully tire her out), when outside exercise is not an option.

Related: 7 DIY Dog Puzzles for Your Bored Pup

Consider a mask for your dog

When it comes to poor air quality, we can put on a mask to reduce pollutants. And apparently your dog can, too. Some people swear by dog air filter masks to help shield against airborne particles, such as smoke, dust, and pollutants, and reduce the risk of respiratory issues. Keep in mind, these masks can take some time for dogs to adjust to wearing them, so gradually introduce the mask and ensure it fits snugly without causing anxiety or discomfort.

Keep Indoor Air Clean

Creating a safe haven within your home becomes essential during these air-quality crises — for you and your dog. Invest in an air purifiers that effectively eliminate pollutants, allergens, and irritants. Place these filters throughout your living spaces, paying particular attention to areas where you both spend a lot of time. Regularly clean or replace filters to maintain their efficiency in purifying the air.

Watch for Signs

Watch out for any signs of health issues caused by harmful air conditions. Some symptoms include coughing, wheezing, excessive panting, or a sudden decrease in activity levels. If your dog is experiencing any of these, seek immediate veterinary advice for care and guidance.

With these simple steps, your dog can stay healthy, happy, and protected, even when the great outdoors isn’t so great.

By Andrea Huspeni

Andrea Huspeni is the founder and CEO of This Dog's Life. Her mission it to help dogs live a happier, healthier and longer life. When she isn't working, she spends time with her two dogs, Lola and Milo. She resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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