How to Keep Your Pets Safe from Poor Air Quality This Summer

How to Keep Your Pets Safe from Poor Air Quality This Summer

The summer season brings not only warmer temperatures but also the risk of poor air quality. High levels of pollutants, wildfires, and allergens can have an effect on the health and well-being of your pets. Just like humans, pets can suffer from respiratory and other health issues due to poor air quality. The following are some practical tips for keeping your pets safe from poor air quality this summer.

Understanding the Risks of Poor Air Quality

Poor air quality can stem from various sources, including vehicle emissions, industrial pollution, wildfires, and high pollen levels. These pollutants can cause respiratory distress and eye irritation and aggravate your pet’s existing health conditions. Animals with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma or heart disease, and brachycephalic breeds (like Bulldogs and Pugs) are particularly vulnerable.

Recognizing Signs of Poor Air Quality Impact on Pets

Before delving into preventive measures, it is crucial to recognize the signs that your pet might be affected by poor air quality:

  • Coughing or Wheezing: Frequent coughing or wheezing can indicate respiratory distress.
  • Labored Breathing: Difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, or panting excessively can be signs of respiratory issues.
  • Eye Irritation: Red, watery, or inflamed eyes can result from exposure to pollutants.
  • Lethargy: If your pet seems unusually tired or inactive, it could be due to poor air quality.
  • Nasal Discharge: Clear or colored discharge from the nose may indicate irritation or infection.
  • Behavioral Changes: Increased irritability, anxiety, or restlessness can also be signs of discomfort due to poor air quality.

Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe from Poor Air Quality

1. Monitor Air Quality

Stay informed about the air quality in your area through websites, apps, or weather reports. The Air Quality Indicator measures the concentration of pollutants and provides a rating scale from good to hazardous. On days when the air quality is poor, take extra precautions to protect your pets.

2. Limit Outdoor Activities

During periods of poor air quality, minimize your pet's time outdoors. Limit walks, playtime, and exercise to early mornings or late evenings when pollution levels are typically lower. Avoid strenuous activities that can increase your pet's respiratory rate and exposure to pollutants.

3. Create an Indoor Safe Haven

Ensure your home provides a safe and clean environment for your pets. Keep windows and doors closed to prevent outdoor pollutants from entering. Use air purifiers with HEPA filters to reduce indoor pollutants and allergens. Regularly clean and vacuum your home to remove dust, pet dander, and other particles.

4. Maintain Hydration

Proper hydration is essential for your pet's overall health, especially during hot and polluted days. Ensure your pets have access to fresh, clean water at all times. Staying hydrated helps maintain their respiratory function and reduces the risk of heat-related illnesses.

5. Grooming and Hygiene

Regular grooming can help remove pollutants and allergens from your pet's coat. Bathe your pets as needed and wipe their paws and fur after outdoor activities to minimize the amount of dirt and pollutants they bring into the house. Keeping your pets clean also reduces the risk of skin irritations and infections.

6. Provide a Cool Environment

High temperatures can increase the effects of poor air quality. Ensure your pets have a cool, comfortable space to rest indoors. Use fans, air conditioning, or cooling mats to help regulate their body temperature. Never leave your pets in a parked car, as temperatures can rise rapidly and pose serious health risks.

7. Use Protective Gear

For pets that need to go outside during poor air quality days, consider using protective gear. Pet-friendly masks or bandanas can help filter out some pollutants, although they may not be effective against all types of pollution. Consult with your veterinarian before using any protective gear to ensure it is safe and suitable for your pet.

8. Dietary Support

A healthy diet can support your pet's immune system and overall health. Consider incorporating antioxidant-rich foods and supplements, as recommended by your veterinarian, to help combat the effects of pollution. Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, can help reduce inflammation and support respiratory health.

9. Regular Veterinary Check-Ups

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for monitoring your pet's health and addressing any concerns related to poor air quality. If you notice any signs of respiratory distress or other health issues, seek veterinary care. Your vet can offer guidance to manage your pet's health during periods of poor air quality.


As summer brings the potential for poor air quality, it is important to take proactive steps to protect your pets. By monitoring air quality, limiting outdoor activities, creating a safe indoor environment, maintaining hydration, and seeking regular veterinary care, you can help ensure your pets stay healthy and comfortable. Remember, your pets rely on you to keep them safe, and with these tips, you can make a significant difference in their well-being during the summer months.