Singaporeans know the pains of suffering through the annual haze and of course, no one can forget the 2013 haze when psi levels hit 400. Unfortunately, our pets have to endure the bad air quality along with us and what’s worse is that they may be more sensitive to it than we are. To prevent your pet from falling ill during hazy periods, here are some measures you can take for the sake of your pet.
Air Quality Check
Whether or not you’re leaving your pet at home alone, keep the windows and doors closed to minimise the amount of bad air coming in. At the same time, make sure that you have a fan on to circulate the air and some form of ventilation. If possible, turn the air conditioning on as most air conditioning units contain a filter that can remove pollutants from the air. An air purifier or an air filtration device would be even better and it would make breathing a lot easier for your pet, reducing their chances of respiratory issues and eye irritation.
Changing Water Bowl
The dust particles from the air will settle in the water so do make sure you change drinking water frequently and encourage your pets to stay hydrated as much as possible. This is even more salient for aquatic pets so change the water in your tanks often and make it a point to wash the filter with extra care.
As much as possible, keep your pet indoors. If your dog requires going outside for toilet breaks, make it a quick one rather than a long walk. Instead, play games with it at home and give it activities to do indoors so that they can get their daily exercise without going out. The less contact they have with the haze, the better!
Your pet’s coat will likely have a layer of dust during the hazy periods. This might trigger skin irritation/eczema or be ingested if your pet licks itself. Do a daily wipe down of your pet’s fur with a wet cloth so that you keep them clean. You should also use artificial tears to wash away any pollutants in their eyes.
Know the Signs
Remain alert for any warning signs that your pet isn’t reacting well to the haze. Your pet should not have watering or red eyes and you shouldn’t notice any squinting or eye discharge. If you do, try to flush any irritants out with artificial tears. You should also monitor any wheezing, sneezing or coughing and if they seem to have difficulty breathing and their gums are pale or blue, send them to the vet immediately.
While many pet owners may be tempted to put a makeshift mask over their pet’s face to prevent them from breathing in too much haze, experts seriously advise against that as it may impede your pet’s ability to expel heat and cause a heat stroke. Remember to keep a lookout for your pets and be extra attentive to their needs in the haze!