Smoke in the air: Protecting your pets

Veterinarians say the smoky air is even worse for our pets – and some breeds are at higher risk than others.

John Craven

Jun 8, 2023, 9:26 PM

Updated 355 days ago

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This awful air quality isn't just dangerous for people. Veterinarians say the smoky air is even worse for our pets – and some breeds are at higher risk than others.
The Stamford Dog Park is usually packed on a summer day. But on Thursday, a chocolate Lab mix named Finn had the whole place to himself.
“It's great,” said his owner, Michael Kuchta. “You get some exercise. You know, I get out.”
But Dr. Diana Shattuck, a veterinarian at High Ridge Animal Hospital, said our furry friends need to stay out of the outdoors.
“No long walks. No playing fetch outside, frisbee,” she said. “All those fun things that we want to do. Going to the beach.”
Pet owners have been calling the clinic with plenty of questions.
Shattuck said pets should stay inside, except for bathroom breaks, and also stay in the air conditioning – with a clean HEPA filter – to circulate the air.
Some breeds are at even greater risk – like pugs, bulldogs and Boston terriers.
“The ‘smushed-faced’ breeds,” Shattuck said. “They can have shorter airways and elongated soft palates.”
In dogs, look out for coughing, gagging and labored breathing.
“Like, using more abdominal effort in your breathing,” said Shattuck.
The symptoms are different in cats. A sign that your feline is in distress is your cat will breathe with its mouth open.
“Whereas a dog will open their mouth to pant as part of their heat control mechanism, cats don't really do that,” said Shattuck.
Back at the dog park, Kuchta is limiting his best friend’s time outdoors.
“He still needs his exercise, so yeah, there's some concerns,” he said. “But I'd still rather he be running around.”
For more information on protecting pets and livestock, click here.
To check the air quality in your area, click here.


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