PROTECTING PETS FROM POOR AIR QUALITY
Dr. Julie Schell BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, ACVCHM, CVC
Calgary has very poor air quality due to forest fires up north sending severe amounts of smoke.
Protecting lung and nasal tissues is important. When the air is this bad, keep pets indoors as much as possible and give them indoor rather than outdoor exercise. Soft sponge-type balls and stuffies can be thrown indoors to play fetch. Humans need to wear air pollution masks if outside. There are even air pollution filtration masks for pets. Check it out:
Pet owners should also keep their pets well hydrated so their lung’s cilia cells can filter better. The cilia cells line the trachea (wind pipe) and help sweep particulate matter like smoke particles, dirt and mucus out of the lung. The immune system also works better when the body is properly nourished and hydrated. Therefore, fresh water needs to be available at all times for pets and they need to be fed balanced, nutritious diets.
Keeping your pet’s body in shape is also important. Excess fat cells release inflammatory mediators that decrease health and comfort of pets at many levels. They also insulate the pet, making them feel overheated, especially on hot, smoky summer days.
Here are some other interesting ways to help your pets stay healthy during smoky conditions:
- Provide a clean, healthy house for them. Hepa Filters are excellent ways to keep inside of your house free of excess dust. Humidifying the home may be helpful to prevent the home from being too dry. The lungs do not do well with environments that are too dry, too wet, too cold or too hot.
- Vacuum your house regularly to remove excess dirt, pet and human dander and fur. This decreases antigen exposure to your pets.
- Prevent excess drafts, fans and aggressive air conditioning. Drafts, especially along the back and the neck are challenging to the immune system. In Chinese Medicine, they are felt to cause Wind and Cold Invasion.
- Energetically warming teas with cinnamon, ginger, clove, and green tea for detoxification can be fed to pets. Check out directions: https://www.bowbottomvet.com/2015/06/12/new-article-how-to-make-green-tea-for-your-dog-or-cat/
- Diffusion of essential oils such as clove, cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus, pine spruce, lavender, cypress, peppermint, marjoram, rosemary which help support and soothe the respiratory system.
- Keep your pets away from cigarette smoke, cannabis smoke, firewood smoke and vape smoke. Those are known carcinogens and very hard for their lungs to tolerate.
- Bath your dog weekly to remove particulate matter like dirt and smoke particles that cling to the skin and causes immune system stimulation and irritation.
- Bring your pet to your veterinarian for diagnosis, and treatment. Veterinarians trained in Herbal medicine, chiropractic and acupuncture may prescribe immune tonifiers such as echinacea larch, reishi and cordyceps mushroom, atragalus, n-aetyl-cystein, Lung Yin tonifiers, andrograpis and Xiao Chai Hu Tang. Acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, topical essential oils and home cooked food can also help many pets.
- Asthmatic pets may require metered dose inhalers (puffers). Allergy testing can also be done by your veterinarian to help identify immune system needs and allergy desensitization therapy needs.
If you have any questions please contact us at www.bowbottomvet.com