As air quality advisories come up across the province in light of the recent U.S. wildfires, the BC SPCA is offering advice on the precautions worth taking to ensure your pets are as comfortable as humans are in the haze and summer heat.
When air quality advisories are issued, many of the same warnings for humans tend to apply for cats, dogs and other animals. This would include avoiding any vigorous exercise, and continuing to stay cool and hydrated.
As most animals tend to spend their time closer to ground, they are usually spared – since smoke is likely to hover higher in the air. Certain animals like cats, can be exposed to smoke as they groom themselves, with smoke potentially sticking to their hair.
There are, however, certain dog breeds that are more prone to having issues in smoky conditions. One example includes dogs that are brachycephalic – these are dogs with shorter faces. Brachycephalic dogs are already at risk for respiratory complications, so anything that could compromise their breathing could be a serious concern.
In conditions like where heat and smoke are involved, if you must take your dog outside, it’s best to do so in the hours where the sun isn’t so high – be that early in the morning, or later on in the evening. Animals should always have access to fresh, potable water and plenty of shade, especially if they tend to spend much of their time outside.
You should also be watching for any unusual signs or behaviours. If you need more information, or have any concerns about your animal’s health, please contact your local veterinarian for assistance.
Download the BC SPCA emergency checklist to make sure you are pet-prepared at: https://spca.bc.ca/survey/send-emergency-checklist.