Does air quality affect dogs?

In this blog post, we will discuss an exciting topic “does air quality affect dogs?” The article will first start with basic details of air pollution. Then, it will discuss the issue of air quality and its effect on dogs. In addition, the post will also provide you with the signs to find out whether your furry friends are breathing good air quality. In the end, the article will highlight tips to protect dogs and furry pets from air pollution. 

Does air quality affect dogs?

Yes, air quality can affect dogs. Poor air quality can cause the following effects on dogs:

  • Eyes inflammation
  • Respiratory ailments
  • Mental Disorders

But before proceeding ahead, let’s look at what air pollution is.

What is air pollution?

The introduction of harmful agents into the atmosphere is known as air pollution. The toxic agents are known as pollutants. These pollutants are derived from natural and human activities, and they can be chemical or biological.

Major pollutants present in the air are particulate matter (PM), ground-level ozone (O3), NO2, SO2, and CO. Air also has lead, allergens, bacteria, viruses and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Besides climate change, air pollution has become a significant environmental risk to human health. 

Therefore, striving towards minimising air pollution can also help to improve climate change mitigation efforts. In addition, reducing emissions will enhance the quality of air.

What is indoor and outdoor pollution?

Air pollution in the outside environment is called ambient pollution or outdoor pollution. Some of the examples are the transportation sector, energy generation, industries, dust storms, etc. Air pollution created inside any closed structure is called indoor pollution or household pollution. Cooking activities, cleaning and dusting of house, use of scents and perfumes, etc. Are some of the examples of indoor air pollution. 

 Let’s further see how air pollution affects dogs. 

How does air quality affect dogs?

Scientists have done many kinds of research on the adverse effects of air pollution on human health. For example, when exposed to dirty air, you can immediately experience irritation in the nose, throat and eyes. In addition, you may get chest congestion.

But then, what about your furry pals? Have you ever thought about whether your dogs pose the same threat as you? Well, yes, recent studies in air pollution have claimed that poor air quality levels can affect dogs.

Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has determined the air quality index (AQI) to know the air quality you inhale. The table given below will show how the air quality index looks like.

Air Quality Index (AQI)Levels of Health Concern
(When the AQI is in this range)(air quality conditions are)
0 to 50Good
51 to 100Moderate
101 to 150Unhealthy for Sensitive group
151 to 200Unhealthy
201 to 300Very Unhealthy
301 to 500Hazardous

EPA has designed the above given AQI table to protect public as well as animal health. That means you can follow these guidelines for your furry guys too.

As per EPA, AQI in the range of 101 to150 is termed unhealthy for the sensitive group. Such groups include puppies, senior doggies, or adult dogs with breathing problems such as asthma and bronchitis or heart problems. In addition, brachycephalic dogs like bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and pugs are also vulnerable to polluted air. Therefore, such sensitive groups should not go out during unhealthy levels of air. Instead, they should be kept inside clean indoor homes as much as possible.

However, if AQI goes above 151, it is considered unhealthy for all groups. This means all doggies and puppies should be at maximum times indoors and only should be taken out for short ‘nature calls’ or potty breaks. They should not indulge in vigorous outdoor exercise.

Recent studies in the field of cynology (the scientific study of the dogs and other canine buddies) have done a comparative analysis of the functioning of the brains of dogs living in Mexico City to the ones living in the other cities. Dogs from Mexico City were chosen because of heavy air pollution, whereas researchers selected cities with less air pollution. 

The study concluded that the Mexico City dogs’ brains showed a surge in inflammation. It also showed signs of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. These proteins serve as a preliminary marker for Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Thus it can be proven that bad air quality also messes up with dogs’ brains.

Just like humans, dogs can also get affected due to indoor air pollution. In addition, doggies can get ill effects from exposure to indoor activities such as smoking, cooking activities, cleaning agents or perfumes.

According to Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), pets, especially cats, living with smokers may suffer more than their owners. This is because they spend maximum time near the floors. Scientists have also concluded that household activities such as smoking or cleaning agents can dog in multiple ways. Such activities can also act as carcinogens for dogs; they can contract mesothelioma, bladder, lung and nasal cancer.

How can you find out whether your dogs are affected due to poor air quality?

Here are some signs and symptoms which your dogs show when they are not breathing good air. If you see your dogs having any of these, please consult a vet ASAP.

  • Those signs are as follows:
  • Loss of Appetite or vomiting
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Unusual or excess coughing, sneezing
  • Prolonged open-mouthed posture
  • Sluggish
  • Increased salvation
  • Inability to stand
  • Scratching of body and ears
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsy
  • Seizures

What precautions can you take to protect your dog from air pollution?

I will elaborate on some solutions to protect your doggies from poor air quality.

Dog Masks

You heard it right. Dog masks are available in the market now to protect them from air pollution. I suggest K 9 Mask ® for your doggies.

Why I recommend  K 9 Mask ® :

  • They have designed two different filters, namely Clean Breathe Air Filters and N95 Extreme Breathe Air Filters for different AQI levels.
  • These can filter up to 99% of airborne particles
  • Reduces ozone exposure by 90%

 Thus, if you are living in a polluted zone and going out is inevitable, then make your dogs wear their mask, and you wear yours.

Keep your dog active.

If your furry friend is healthy, active and fit, then it can keep its immune system strong. This can make a dog’s respiratory and cardiovascular systems healthy.

Observe their behaviour and signs

Small dogs, just like elders or babies, quickly react to changing air quality. Their tiny lungs can respond more to the poor air quality. Observe if they are having difficulty in breathing. Restrict their outdoor movements if ambient air quality is not healthy.

Bath Time!

Give your doggies a nice bath with hypoallergenic shampoo and conditioner. Pollens and allergens might get stuck in their fur and can be further absorbed by the skin. This can result in various infections. Keep them well-groomed

Anti-Allergy Supplements

You can add anti-allergy supplements for your dogs to decrease any inflammation caused due to air pollution. It also helps their brain development and relieves stomach and skin irritation. However, make sure you consult a proper veterinary doctor before going ahead. Also, never give any supplements to your dogs or other pets without any prescription. 

You can also protect your dogs by maintaining indoor air quality.

You can also help to keep all doggo world safe from air pollution by following these steps:

What can I do to protect myself from air pollution?

I will elaborate on some of the measures to protect yourself from air pollution.

Personal Hygiene

You can also fight the effects of air pollution by maintaining personal hygiene:

  • You can cut your nails short to avoid the accumulation of dirt. 
  • You can also practice mouth gargling after coming home to free your mouth from unwanted guests.
  • You can also brush twice a day to keep airborne infections at bay.
  • You can also take steam therapy at home to cleanse your lungs.

Quit Smoking

Smoking cigarettes, hookahs (shisha), electric vape or any other types of cigars are not at all suitable for your health. It’s best to stop smoking. Active and passive smoking provides the direct entry of harmful pollutants into your body. This causes the risk to your respiration and other organs dependent on it. 

Physical Exercise 

Physical activities have many benefits to your body. It not only improves your stamina and immunity levels but also helps to increase your lung capacity. Yoga, sanas, swimming, running, cycling, brisk walking and dancing are some of the best forms of exercise to improve your health.

Breathing Exercise 

The majority of people in the world don’t breathe properly. However, correct breathing techniques can keep illnesses due to air pollution at bay. A pranayama is a form of yoga asana which helps to improve breathing methods and lung functionality.

Some of the pranayama types that help you fight air pollution are Kapalbhati, Anulom Vilom, Chandra Nadi, Surya Nadi and Bhastrika. It is strongly recommended to learn this art of breath from a well-certified yoga trainer. 

You can also increase your lung muscles by simply taking a deep breath and holding it for a count of 10. Then, slowly breathe out the air. If you can keep your breath for a longer time, then you have good lungs health.

Good diet 

Always go for a well-balanced diet to remain fit and strong. Consistent eating of junk and fast food will increase the risk of obesity and other diseases. In addition, such people are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of air pollution. Instead, add more fresh veggies and fruits to your diet. Also, you can consume less meat to minimise carbon footprints.

You can also add anti-inflammatory foods as these types of food help to cleanse your lungs effectively. Anti-inflammatory foods which I recommend are: 

Immunity booster drinks

You can do your immunity booster drinks by using readily available items in your kitchen. Immunity booster drinks help to cleanse your lungs. Some of the DIY immunity booster drinks are as follows:

  • Take a glass of warm white milk. Add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder to it. Also, add two strands of saffron to it. Drink it at night before sleeping. You will get good sleep, and you will be relieved from chest congestion. 
  • Boil water by adding half cinnamon stick. Drink the spice-infused water once a day. Your sinuses would be cleared up. 
  • Buy an excellent green tea. Prepare a green tea by following the packet instructions. Have it whenever you feel irritation in your throat. 
  • Take some crushed 1 or 2 peppercorns, a half-inch of a blade of lemongrass and 1 inch of grated ginger and half a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Add everything in one glass of boiling water and reduce it to half a glass. Drink two tablespoons of this spice-infused warm water every after three hours. Adding honey is optional. 
  • You can also drink warm water and add honey if you want. Honey helps to relieve throat irritation.

Use Mask

Mask can prevent you from inhaling the polluted air. You would be able to work in contaminated areas without any fear of allergy infections and stress. 

Masks I recommend

Name Why I recommend it
BASE CAMP CROSSDUST MASKEAPI Filter Technology & Advanced NanotechnologyUser FriendlyMore Durable Six layers face maskFilter materials of the dust mask: Double-Layer Melt-blown with Electrostatic Adsorption Performance, Activated carbon, Non-woven Polypropylene
NIOSH approved N95 maskFour layers mask Flexible nose pad, dual strapsDisposable maskEasy to breathe
BASE CAMP Reusable Cloth Face MaskThree layers mask; 100% cotton Skin-friendly and breathablePocket to add additional filterReusable Mask

How can I individually reduce air pollution?

You can always try your level best to minimise air pollution. The following are the methods to reduce air pollution at an individual level.

Plant Trees

Encourage tree plantation drives amongst the communities. You can be a green saviour of your region. Trees are the natural air purifiers of the environment, and it supplies us with clean air.

Municipal councils or the local authorities can develop urban forests to increase the green cover of the locality. They can also plan to create vertical green walls to improve oxygen levels of the region naturally. But don’t forget to plant only indigenous trees. 

Human/ religious celebrations in eco-friendly ways 

Nowadays, many couples celebrate gender (of their baby) revealing parties by bursting firecrackers. But, unfortunately, these firecrackers can transform into massive wildfires if they are burst near trees.

Thus, you can celebrate such celebrations by planting trees in your nearby barren land. Bursting firecrackers on any religious, festive or personal occasion are only going to harm your loved ones. 

You can also celebrate Christmas by not cutting Christmas Trees. Instead, you can buy artificial ones and use them in the coming years too.

Discourage Plastic

Single-use plastic has been one of the major concerns in the environment. Plastic pollution indirectly contributes to the degradation of air quality. Plastic, when burned, releases various toxic gases such as dioxins into the air.

Encourage alternative use of the plastic product. For example, you can wear a cloth bag for shopping. You can also carry your travel cutlery set to a restaurant. Additionally, you can take your water bottle instead of purchasing a packaged drinking water bottle every time.

Use of public transportation 

Increase the use of public transport to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion. You can also try carpooling or the cab sharing option. Then, you can also use bicycles instead of scooters. Lastly, you can always opt for walking a shorter distance. 

Alternative use of fossil fuel

It would be best to try switching to other fuel alternatives. For example, don’t use wood for the fireplace. Instead, you can wear multiple layers of clothes for warmth. In this way, you can conserve energy. Additionally, you can also install solar panels on house roofs to convert solar energy into electricity. 

You can also buy electric and hybrid vehicles to minimise tailpipe emissions. Finally, propose or discuss a plan with your mayor or any relevant local authority to promote your region’s renewable energy sector.

Reduction of personal carbon footprints

You can also keep a check on your carbon footprints. For example, you can delete unwanted photos, videos or emails from clouds and email boxes as and when possible. Unfortunately, this unwanted stuff takes a lot of energy, which indirectly contributes to air pollution.

You can also switch off the lights and electrical appliances of the vacant rooms. Try buying local products instead of imported ones. Be vocal about them. You can also discover your own country rather than travelling to different ones.

Create Awareness

Air pollution is unpredictable; air pollution in your vicinity can affect people living in Asia and vice-a-versa. However, you can create public awareness about air pollution amongst your community by teaching and interacting with your kids about the importance of good air. 

Educate youth by telling them the ill effects of poor air quality. Then, let your country’s future know that they deserve a better place to live!

How can the local authorities improve the air quality of your region?

You can always observe the changes happening in your surrounding nature. If you experience bad air quality or any activities producing air pollution, you can always concern relevant local authorities or the mayor.

Here are some methods which local authorities can do.

Proper disposal of waste 

Improper solid waste management of an area is an invitation to many diseases and infections. In addition, burning solid waste in public can cause air pollution, although such practices are rare in the US. 

The wastes are mainly disposed of in the engineered landfills and recycled before final disposal to landfills and waste incinerators. 

In addition, waste incinerators help to convert waste into energy.

However, many researchers have claimed that gasification technology or waste-to-energy technology may release harmful gaseous contaminants. Thus, it is necessary that waste collectors rigorously segregate the waste before sending it to waste incinerators. 

The best solution is to minimise waste at a personal level. Statistically, 70% of the waste generated can be recycled effectively. Thus, strive to recycle your waste at a personal level as much as possible.

Reducing air pollution from agriculture

Stubble burning is still practised in some parts of the US. This event contributes to the degradation of air. Local authorities can help farmers convert this waste into cattle fodder or be transformed into pellets as fuel. In addition, farmers should stop the usage of harmful pesticides or fertilisers to decrease air pollution.

How can I reduce indoor air pollution?

Maintaining household or indoor hygiene

You can decrease poor air quality by adequately maintaining indoor hygiene. For example, you can frequently clean your cupboards and open decks to avoid an accumulation of dust particles. You can then vacuum your carpets and sofas at least twice a week. 

Make sure your doggies and cats are well-groomed. Use chimneys and exhaust fans in kitchens. You can also install an exhaust fan in washrooms. Always make sure you are keeping your house well ventilated. 

Keep doors and windows open when possible. Maintain the health of electric appliances such as heaters, humidifiers, AC, fans, air ducts and so on at regular intervals of the year. Avoid overuse of strong perfumes or strong scented candles indoors. You can additionally use indoor plants to make your indoors more lively and fresh.

Indoor plants

Indoor plants do the same work as outdoor ones- they help to purify indoor air naturally. These indoor plants are also easy to maintain.

The indoor plants which I recommend are as follows: 

Air purifiers

Air purifiers help to improve indoor air quality. The risk of getting air pollution-related diseases decreases due to the use of air purifiers. Air purifiers having good HEPA filters do an adequate job of filtering pollutants.

Air Purifiers I recommend are as follows:

NameWhy I recommend it
Blueair Pro XL Air Purifier99.7% of airborne pollutants such as mould, allergens, smoke particles and pollens are captured. 
AIRMEGA 400SReduction of 99.97% of particulates of 0.3 microns. Also responsible for reducing more than 99% of VOCs, NH3 and CH3CHO.Washable and permanent pre-filters are available 
Blueair Pure 121Includes 3-part filtration system. Captures 99% of common airborne PM 2.5 pollutants such as allergens, odours, smoke, mould spores, dust mites and pet dander.An activated carbon filter removes common odours caused by smoke, pets, and gases (VOCs) and smoke caused by wildfires.

Humidifiers

The humidity levels in the office should be maintained between 30 and 50% in the office. This range helps to keep dust mites, mould and other allergens under control. In addition, when AC or heater makes the air in the room dry, humidifiers can maintain correct humidity levels.

Humidifiers I recommend

Name Why I recommend it
Amazon Basics Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier 4 litre of tank capacityAuto shut-off feature and 12 or 24-hour timer settingsIt can be used in both seasons
MOVTIP HumidifierPortable Mini-humidifier500 ml capacity, still produces longer mistsEasy to operate
LEVOIT HumidifierIt can be used for both seasons6 litres of capacity Easy to clean and has a remote control

Dehumidifiers 

Dehumidifiers also work similarly to humidifiers. It controls the high levels of humidity in the office.

Dehumidifiers I recommend

Name Why I recommend it
Pro Breeze DehumidifierCan extract 50 pints of moisture a dayEnergy-saving auto-off systemBuilt-in Humidity sensor
HOmeLabs DehumidifierEliminates moistness, odour controllerEasy to cleanRemovable water tank
TCL Portable Dehumidifier20 pints of moisture removed per dayIt can be operated at low temperatures tooEasy to maintain

Other FAQs about Air Quality that you may be interested in.

How do dust storms affect air quality?

Does rain improve air quality?

Does Wearing a mask help with poor air quality?

Conclusion

In this blog post, we discussed an exciting topic “does air quality affect dogs?” The article first started with basic details of air pollution. Then, it addressed the issue of air quality and its effect on dogs. In addition, the post also provided you with the signs to find out whether your furry friends are breathing good air quality. In the end, the article highlighted tips to protect dogs and furry pets from air pollution. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Does air quality affect dogs?

Does terrible air quality affect dogs?

Yes, bad air quality can affect dogs. Air pollution can affect the respiratory system of dogs. Symptoms of air pollution are disorientation and confusion, dizziness, tiredness and seizures. If your pet is experiencing such issues, then immediately consult a vet.

Can dogs be outside in bad air quality?

If the air quality index (AQI) is between 100-150, then it’s probably okay for your dogs to go outdoors for some time, for example, for a loo break. If the air quality index is compromised, then it is advised that your dogs don’t indulge in vigorous exercise. Avoid prolonged exposure to such air pollution.

How do I protect my dog from bad air quality?

Things you can do to protect your dog from bad air quality are:

  • First, don’t take your pets out. Second, keep your pets inside the house as much as possible. Third, make sure that your indoor air quality is within safe limits.
  • Take your dog out, only if he needs to go to the bathroom
  • Avoid long walks and outdoor activities

Does poor air quality affect animals in general?

Yes, poor air quality affects all animals. Air pollution can pose an indirect risk to wildlife by changing plant communities. Air pollution can play with the plants’ growth and thus can affect animals depending on such sources. As a result, the food chain can get disturbed.

Are dogs sensitive to smoke?

Yes, dogs are sensitive to smoke. Dogs exposed to smoke and air pollution in general experience allergies, eye irritation, respiratory issues and lung cancer.

References

Guide Dogs for the Blind. 2021. Dogs and Poor Air Quality. [online] Available at https://www.guidedogs.com/blog/dogs-and-poor-air-quality

https://gasp-pgh.org. 2019. Yes, Poor Air Quality Affects Your Pets, Too | Group Against Smog and Pollution. [online] Available at https://gasp-pgh.org/2019/02/18/yes-poor-air-quality-affects-your-pets-too/

K9 Mask® by Good Air Team. 2021. Understanding Air Quality Index (AQI) Basics For Your Dog. [online] Available at  https://www.k9mask.com/blogs/news/understanding-air-quality-index-aqi-basics-for-your-dog 

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. 2016. Does air pollution affect our furry friends?. [online] Available at https://www.pca.state.mn.us/featured/does-air-pollution-affect-our-furry-friends  

The Dog People by Rover.com. 2021. How To Protect Your Dog From Wildfire Smoke and Poor Air Quality. [online] Available at https://www.rover.com/blog/protecting-your-dog-from-wildfire-smoke-and-poor-air-quality/

VanDyke, A., 2021. 6 Tips to Protect Pets from Unhealthy Air. [online] Alen | Store. Available at https://alen.com/blogs/articles/6-tips-to-protect-pets-from-unhealthy-air 

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Leave a Comment