Winter is almost here, and if you live in Lahore, that can mean many things – snuggling into your bed after a long day of work, drinking hot chocolate and tea, and finally, the everlasting smog that covers everything, and presents a lot of problems. So how does smog affect your pet and how can you limit that effect? Well, to start, you’ll need to understand what smog is.

What is smog?

Smog is a word that came about after the combination of the words “smoke” and “fog”. These come together to describe a kind of pollution which is thick and often has a strong smell too. The combination of these two things create highly irritating and dangerous air which can result in a number of problems for both humans and their furry friends.

What causes smog?

You must be wondering, what can cause this smog to come about in the first place? Well, smog can be created from a reaction between the molecules in the air and the emissions from cars and industries. In countries that rely on agriculture like Pakistan, the smog may even be caused because of stubble burning in some rural farms.

How does smog harm pets?

As a pet owner, it is understandable that your first question after reading all of this will be, “how does it affect my pet?” – well, there are a number of answers to this question.

  • Low energy levels: Generally, many pet owners might detect lowered energy levels in pets as a result of the pollutants in the air. You might see that your pet isn’t playing as often as they do, or is being uncharacteristically low-energy.
  • Eye Infections: The irritating pollutants in the smog can actually cause problems for pets especially when it concerns their eyes and their vision.
  • Allergies: You may notice your pet starting to cough and sneeze more as a result of the smog, this may be an indicator for allergies.
    Respiratory illnesses: As with humans, pets don’t do too well when they breathe in the harmful polluted air, and can develop bronchitis or other diseases.
  • Cardiac Arrest: Some pets, especially dogs, have been seen to be at risk of cardiac arrest because of constant exposure to the smog.
  • Tumours: In some studies, it has also been shown that the tumor development in pets may be linked to the smog levels.
  • Deaths: Incidences in the United States have shown that the presence of pollution made pets sicker, resulting in some deaths and critical visits to the vet.

If you notice any symptoms that you feel are resulting from exposure to smog in your pets, you need to visit a vet as soon as possible.

How can I protect my pet from the smog?

If you are a pet owner and you’ve been hit with a bout of smog, don’t start panicking just yet. There are a couple of tricks and tips that you can try out to lessen the impact of the polluted air for your pet inside your home.

Select their outdoor times:

With your pets, especially dogs, you’re gonna need to go and take them out for a walk eventually. One way that you can reduce the total impact from the smog and polluted air is to control when you take your pets outside. Most pets will need some kind of exercise anyway, but if you take them out in times when the smog is less, and in areas that have low traffic, you may not be able to avoid the smog, but you may still be able to lower the exposure.

So it’s a good idea to avoid times very early in the morning or in the evening, when the traffic is at its peak. There is no hard and fast rule for determining when to take your pet outside. Look around the area you live and you’ll be able to figure out what time works best based on the temperature, traffic, and the people who live there.

But remember, if you’re limiting the exercise outside of the house, you’ll need to get your pets some alternative inside the house so they can burn off their energy. You can invest in some interesting toys for your pets, especially for dogs who’ll be pretty unhappy if they don’t get to jump around. You can also play with your pets and come up with interesting activities.

Filtered Air Systems:

If you live in an area where smog is common, a worthwhile investment for you is to purchase a filtrated air system for your home. Not only will this help you breathe easier when the smog is at its worst, but it’ll also be a great help for indoor animals like cats.

Using this system, you can make sure that the air inside your home is safer and cleaner than the air outside. You should also keep your pets inside for most of the time during the day to make sure they can take proper advantage of this system!

Use Air Purifiers and Indoor Plants

If a complete filtration system is a bit out of reach, there are a lot of alternatives you can use to make the air inside your home more pet-friendly. Purifiers are affordable and easy to use, and when used along with certain indoor houseplants, can help make the air cleaner.

This is an especially good tip if you have indoor animals and want to make sure they’re breathing clean air. Remember, some indoor plants may be toxic for your pet, so it is a good idea to make sure the plants you are using are safe and have no adverse effects. Some good options include the money plant and bamboo.

Check on the weather

You won’t be able to tell whether it’s the right time to take your pet out or not if you don’t know what the weather is like. Going out can help you get a feel of the local trends, but the best way to keep ahead of any changes is to check the forecast daily and be prepared!

Inexpensive masks

If your pet is cooperative, a really good trick to use is to get them to wear home-made masks. These can help reduce the level of unfiltered air reaching them and will definitely help them through the smog season. Although the product isn’t available yet, some companies are currently working on masks, especially for dogs so they can easily go outside for the very necessary walks.

Don’t smoke inside

Smog can be difficult enough for your pets, but indoor smoking may make things worse. In any case, smog or not, you should try and keep the smoking outdoors (and away from the home) so it doesn’t affect your pets in any way. This effect may worsen any kind of allergic reaction in your pets because of the smog.

Demand better

One last thing that you can do with your local representative or even your landlord, is to demand that the right steps are taken to lessen the levels of smog. Many cities and countries around the world have come up with effective laws to help regulate smog.

Smog is the kind of thing we just can’t control. How much people use their cars, or if they burn crops is something we can’t take up or down. However, you can take effective steps as someone with a pet you love to help reduce the potential damage to your furry friend.

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