CULVER CITY, Calif. – Smoke and smog in the air that we breathe can be a real problem, especially for people who are particularly sensitive to those types of particles in the air. However, air quality is not just problematic for humans.
One veterinarian said pets may be even more susceptible to poor air quality.
"The respiratory tract for a human and for a dog or cat -- it's the same. It's a respiratory tract," said Dr. Georgina Marquez, a veterinarian in Yorba Linda, California. "So anything that affects a human is going to affect a dog or a cat, but potentially even in a more severe way because they're smaller, and again, they're closer to the ground. So they're inhaling a lot more stuff, a lot more particles."
Marquez said there are several signs that indicate your pet may be having problems stemming from polluted air.
"Owners should look out for coughing, sneezing, breathing a little bit faster than normal," she said.
Marquez said that if you notice any of those issues, contact your vet.
"There's a lot that we can do, from helping you control air quality at home to medications," Marquez said. "We can use inhalers, we can use pills, we can give injections. We can do so much to help them. We just need to know there's a problem."
To prevent problems in the first place, Marquez said it’s important to know the air quality ahead of time and plan accordingly.
"When there's bad air quality, when we know there's allergies, there's fires, pollution is up, whatever – treat the pet the same as you would yourself," Marquez said. "Turn on the A/C. Turn on the air filters. Don't let him outside."
Checking air quality
The FOX Weather app gives you the latest air quality information for your current location. It’s available for both iOS and Android devices.
You can also track the air quality for your location at airnow.gov.