Play inside: Veterinarian explains how poor air quality affects our pets

Play inside: Veterinarian explains how poor air quality affects our pets

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- When the fallout from wildfire smoke becomes severe, the air quality can affect both us and our animals.

Veterinarians say the symptoms are similar for people and pets, and the solution is similar, too: keep your dogs indoors as much as possible.

"Try to limit it for like, 10, 15 minutes if possible. Some might even need a little shorter," said Dr. Jen Gajeski with Silver Spring Animal Wellness Center.

Dr. Gajeski said air quality concerns are just as risky for dogs as they are for humans and can present similar symptoms.

"Coughing, they can get a runny nose, watery eyes, depending on how severe it is, they can have a lot of panting, increased respiratory rate," Gajeski said. 

Like humans, dogs with pre-existing conditions are at higher risk when the air quality is hazardous.

"If your animal has been diagnosed with a heart murmur, that would be a concerning pre-existing issue. If they already have allergies, if they have asthma, those are kind of the big ones," Gajeski said.

Poor air quality can also be extra tough on breeds with short snouts, like pugs or bulldogs.

"They are already having respiratory issues, because that's just how they're made. So, they should be taking extra precautions," Gajeski said.

CBS 58 reached out to several doggy day cares in the Milwaukee area on Tuesday. Most said they were limiting outdoor playtime for pets in their care.

Indoor play areas can help dogs beat the haze, while still burning off energy.

For example, Mac's Pet Depot in Bay View opened their new Bark Park this month - an indoor, supervised play space.

"The point was to give someplace easy, fun, safe, clean, where you and your dog can have some fun," said the owner, Keri Torgerson.

Click here to learn more about Mac's Pet Depot Bark Park.

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