How to Protect Your Pets in Poor Air Quality Conditions

| CJ Silvasi

Air quality will have an impact on all pets. Learn some simple measures that protect your home and family so everyone can breathe better when air quality is poor.

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Unfortunately, wildfires have become more common in North America in recent years. When a forest is blazing, the smoke can spread for hundreds, if not thousands, of miles and impact the air quality for millions of people and their pets. How can you keep your family and pets safe when the air quality becomes hazardous from smoke?

Who Is Affected by Poor Air Quality?

The smoke-filled air is going to have an impact on everyone. Healthy people and animals may experience mild to moderate issues with breathing with little to no impact on their day-to-day lives. However, senior pets or those with current breathing issues like allergies and asthma will experience more severe breathing issues as the smoke persists. Pets with flat noses or brachycephalic dog breeds are particularly susceptible to changes in air quality.

How Can I Protect My Pet from Smoke in the Air?

Your proximity to the fires will have a direct impact on the amount of smoke in the air. You can learn about the air quality in your area through the air quality index calculated on This site monitors air quality across the United States and is searchable by zip code, city, or state, so you can get an update on the air quality near you.

Once you have an idea of the concentration of particulates in the air, you can adjust your daily routine for your pet’s health. For example, on days when the air quality is at its worst, stay indoors as much as possible. Reduce physical activity and keep your windows and doors closed. Pollution levels are typically lower early in the morning, so if you must be physically active outdoors, try to limit it to the morning hours.

While a pet-safe mask may seem like a good idea, it is recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association that masks not be used when air quality is already poor. They can create undue stress and confusion in your pet and make it even more difficult to breathe.

Prepare Your Home for Poor Air Quality

Invest in high-quality weather stripping to help seal windows and doors. This is an excellent way to keep pollutants out of your home year-round. While you’re working on your home, consider investing in an air purifier. They will pull particulates out of the air and help everyone in your family breathe better.

When to Contact Your Vet Because of Breathing Issues

While you will likely feel the difference in air quality in a noticeable way, your pet won’t know what’s going on and can’t express their symptoms to you in words. You will need to monitor their actions and be alert for signs that they are struggling more than usual. Take your pet to the vet if you notice an increase or new onset of:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Coughing

  • Watery eyes

  • Irritation or redness in their eyes

  • Fatigue 

  • Confusion 

  • Reduced appetite or thirst

While air quality issues are typically temporary, there are always particulates and allergens in the air. You can take some small, simple measures to protect your home and family so everyone can breathe better. 

Don’t wait until the last minute to protect your pets. Take the measures listed above now and protect your pet moving forward with pet insurance coverage, so you can breathe easy knowing you've got support for expenses related to accidents and illnesses. Get a customized quote today through AKC Pet Insurance (underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company).

CJ Silvasi

CJ has always wanted to be a writer. She even threatened to drop out after her first day of kindergarten when they weren’t immediately going to teach her to read and write. Fortunately, she stayed in school, earned her degree in Creative Writing from Christopher Newport University, and now gets to live her best life with her husband, 3 Japanese Chins, and cat writing for AKC Pet Insurance.