Cats are also prone to feline asthma, which can make matters worse for them combined with the current air quality conditions. (Colleen Flanagan-The News)

Cats are also prone to feline asthma, which can make matters worse for them combined with the current air quality conditions. (Colleen Flanagan-The News)

Maple Ridge veterinarian advises to keep pets indoors

Current air quality conditions are affecting pets in much the same way as humans,

Keep your pets indoors is the main piece of advice a Maple Ridge veterinarian has for pet owners during the current air quality advisory.

A fine particulate matter advisory has been in place by Metro Vancouver since September 8, when smoke blanketed the region due to the Washington and Oregon States wildfires.

Pets are just as affected by the smoke as the human population, explained Dr. Adrian Walton, especially those that are immunocompromised, like elderly pets.

However, owners of brachycephalic breeds like pugs and bulldogs, as well as Persian and Himalayan cats, should be particularly vigilant.

“Their nasal passages are so small they can’t filter out a lot of the debris, it’s just going directly to their lungs,” said Walton adding that since their respiratory systems are already compromised, these conditions are even worse for them.

Cats, he said, are also prone to feline asthma, which can make matters worse.

Panting is one of the main symptoms that can be observed in an animal suffering from the current conditions. Also fatigue.

“Just being more lethargic,” Walton explained.

“If you can’t breathe you are not going to move around much. So you’ll just kind of see them in the corner if they are in distress. They might be breathing normally but they’re just not going to get up and have the gumption they normally would,” he said.

READ MORE: Air quality improves slightly in B.C. from U.S. wildfires

The current air quality conditions are also affecting wild bird populations.

Many wild birds in the United States have died as a direct result of the smoke from the wildfires, said Walton. Across Metro Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, he said, birds are hunkering down.

“You would normally see crows at night, we’re not seeing as much of that. I was on the Sunshine Coast and in an area where there would normally be tons of ravens and seagulls and we barely saw anything,” he said.

The BC SPCA has also issued warnings for pets including the avoidance of vigorous exercise and to make sure they are cool and hydrated.

Since most animals are closer to the ground they can be spared the affects of the smoky conditions, because smoke hovers higher in the air, said the animal rescue agency.

READ MORE: U.S. wildfire smoke blankets B.C., wafts east to Alberta, affecting air quality

However, cats can be exposed to the smoke when they groom themselves, as smoke can potentially stick to their hair.

If you must take your dog outside, the SPCA recommends taking them out in the morning or later in the evening when the sun isn’t so high in the sky.

In an advisory update on Wednesday, Sept. 16, by Metro Vancouver, the air quality has continued to improve.

However, the agency reported, although ground-level smoke is expected to remain throughout the week, a weather system forecast for Friday is expected to bring further improvements this weekend.

Walton’s advice is to keep pets indoors, if possible, especially if there is air conditioning.

Reduce walk times for dogs and keep them on a leash instead of letting them tear around.

Although, Walton said, dogs will generally self limit themselves if they have respiratory issues.

“If you exert yourself at all in this situation, it’s not a pleasant feeling.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

air qualityPets and People

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

First time author Stacey Chomiak is releasing Still Stace in October, 2021. (Special to The News)
First time Maple Ridge author illustrates and writes about reconciling her faith and sexuality

Stacey Chomiak is branching out from a successful career in animation

The speculation and vacancy tax declaration must be filled out by the end of March. (The News files)
SVT declaration packages en route to homeowners in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

A penalty will apply to those, not exempted, who don’t pay by due date

COVID-19. (Pixabay)
COVID-19 exposure at Westview in Maple Ridge

Third high school reporting virus in 2021

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Rent dropped to 2019 rates across parts of Metro Vancouver in December: report

Rent costs have declined since May, a trend expected to continue due in part to the COVID pandemic

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Most Read