Portland’s Air Quality Is Getting Worse: How To Keep Your Pets Safe

If you woke up with a partially-to-completely locked-down respiratory system and a waft of “burning” in your nose, you aren’t alone. Due to a number of city, state, and continent-wide fires, air quality in the Pacific Northwest is again beginning to reach dangerous levels.

Via OBP.org:

Air quality in some areas around Portland and Vancouver became unhealthy Wednesday morning, due to smoke coming from an industrial fire in Longview, Washington … The National Weather Service reports the smoke will impact the air quality throughout the day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wildfire smoke can cause health problems such as coughing, shortness of breath, headaches and more. The harmful effects of wildfire smoke may be heightened in older adults, pregnant people, children and people with preexisting heart or lung conditions.

Those same symptoms can affect your Pet, so you might be asking, “I can hardly keep my own lungs safe, what should I do for my Pets?” Here are a few quick tips to keep your Pets from having to check into Hannah with respiratory distress over the next several weeks. This certainly won’t be the last airborne toxic event, so keep these tips in your back pocket for the future, as well.

Limit Those Outdoor Activities

This is your best and most obvious course of action. Your Pet may still have to go outside sometimes, but limiting exposure to contaminated air will help reduce the harmful impact of allergens and pollutants. If you do have to take them out, try to plan your trips around times of day when the air quality is best — early mornings, for example — and avoid running or other strenuous exercise. Pets can’t breath as deeply as humans, so getting them worked up in unhealthy conditions can result in bronchitis, asthma-like symptoms, and other difficulties breathing.

Clean Up When You Come In

Experts recommend wiping down your Pet’s paws, coat, and muzzle with a damp cloth after coming in from outside. Think of it like taking a shower after you’ve been at work all day. Make sure they (and you) are drinking fresh, clean water as often as possible.

Create A Safe Environment Indoors

This includes making sure your home is well-ventilated while keeping all windows and doors completely closed. Air purifiers and filters can be literal life-savers here, considering everything that comes along with wildfire smoke.

From CNN:

“A major difference between wildfires and, for example, a fire that you might burn in a backyard bonfire is that often there are synthetic materials being burned that produce compounds that can be dangerous like hydrogen cyanide,” said Dr. Bruce Kornreich, director of the Cornell Feline Health Center in Ithaca, New York. “Carbon monoxide can also get into the bloodstream, and those two interfere with the delivery of oxygen to organs. In some cases, these fires can also produce chemical irritants. So the chemicals can actually trigger inflammation in the airways.”

Monitor Your Pet And Know The Signs Of Respiratory Distress

Signs to look for include:

  • Open-mouth breathing, particularly in cats.
  • Continous panting or rapid breathing.
  • Long, drawn-out breaths.
  • Unusual body position, such as extending the neck with their elbows pointed outwards.
  • Exaggerated movement of the abdomen and chest while breathing.
  • Restlessness, and being unable to settle themselves.
  • Blue gums.
  • Loss of limb power, or collapsing.

Reach Out To Hannah With Any Questions Or Concerns

If you’ve stayed safe and still experience any problems, health concerns, or unusual activities in your Pet’s behavior, don’t hesitate to reach out to an expert at Hannah. You are your Pet’s best advocate, and we’re always here to listen. We’ve got your back!