Poor air quality from Canadian wildfires impacting pets as much as their owners

The poor air quality conditions in western Massachusetts could have an impact on your pets.
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 2:26 PM EDT
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AGAWAM, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The poor air quality conditions in western Massachusetts could have an impact on your pets.

“I was out in California brief time during some wildfires out there, but I’ve never seen anything like what we have at home right now,” said Agawam Animal Control Officer Allison Strong.

Strong did not hold back her shock over how dense and poor the air quality conditions have been this week. Thanks to the wildfires burning in Canada, the hazy skies have created some health risks for humans. However, Strong told Western Mass News that our pet friends are also at risk.

“Our pets that may be elderly, overweight, already have cardiovascular issues or asthma and things like that, you’re going to start to potentially see them have a more difficult time,” Strong added.

Strong told us air quality between 101 and 150 is really bad for pets, especially cats and dogs. Symptoms from the conditions could include coughing, wheezing, and discharge from the nose. Western Mass News stopped by the Agawam dog park, where owners, like Jeff Johnson, took his dog, Fritz, to get some air despite the circumstances.

“He rubs his eyes a lot, but what else can we do? Dogs have to get outside and he seems to be okay,” Johnson said.

While Johnson and other dog owners want their pets to have that free time, they are taking measures to make sure nothing goes wrong, such as having an air conditioner or air purifier in their homes.

“I have both…(Fritz) stays inside most of the time, so he should be okay,” Johnson noted.

Until conditions improve, Strong said pet owners should only have pets outside for a couple of minutes, such as for a potty break. She also said windows should be kept shut and owners should monitor their pets at all times while also having special items handy.

“You always want to make sure that you have a pet evacuation kit on hand. You want to make sure that your pet has identification. Dogs have to be licensed in the state of Massachusetts. You want to make sure that is up to date,” Strong said.

Strong heavily advised that owners take their pets to their primary care providers if anything goes wrong during these poor air quality conditions.