How to protect your pet from poor air quality amid wildfire smoke


June 7, 2023 | 6.30pm

Keep Sparky away from Smokey!

New York City’s air was officially deemed more polluted than any other major city in the world on Wednesday, as thick smoke from wildfires burning hundreds of miles away in Canada crept into the city for a second day.

As clouds of smoke continue to choke much of the Northeast over the weekend, residents in affected areas are wondering how to protect themselves and their loved ones, including man’s best friend.

The air quality index already reached 343 on Wednesday afternoon, much worse than New Delhi’s 190 and New York’s normal index of 100.

The air was the worst since the 1980s, even after the 9/11 attacks, meteorologists said.

Rover’s pet experts are considering ways to protect pets from dangerous conditions, suggesting:

  • Close all windows
  • Use air conditioning if possible to help filter the air
  • Keep potty breaks short, avoid long walks and other prolonged outdoor exercise
  • Keep your dog well hydrated

A person walks dogs along the Brooklyn promenade Wednesday as the Manhattan skyline is shrouded in haze after smoke billows south from wildfires in Canada.

Times Square takes on an eerie orange glow in the wake of the wildfires in Canada.

Smoke inhalation in pets can be as serious a problem as it is in humans and can lead to increased or chronic coughing, sneezing and red, squinting or runny eyes.

In severe cases, some pets may experience disorientation or confusion, fainting, seizures, difficulty breathing, weakness or lethargy, uncoordinated walking/inability to stand, excessive salivation, prolonged open mouth breathing, swelling of the mouth or upper airways , vomiting or loss of appetite.

Experts advise pet lovers to watch out for signs of respiratory distress and eye inflammation. If a pet is showing symptoms, owners should call a veterinarian right away.

While pet parents may do their best to keep their four-legged friends safe and sound, some dogs are at an increased risk of suffering from respiratory problems, including dogs with asthma or bronchitis, puppies and older dogs, bulldogs, Boston terriers and pugs.

A lone person jogs a dog along the Hudson River shortly after dawn Wednesday. Smoke inhalation in pets can be as serious a problem as it is for humans, experts warn.

Bronx subway passengers wait for a train in the haze of smoke from the wildfires drifting down from Canada.
Getty Images

A person wears a mask as the Empire State Building is shrouded in smoke.

Fido isn’t the only one protected from bad weather.

Zoos in the Bronx, Central Park and Queens are all closing in an effort to protect the animals from the thick clouds of smoke.

Everything you need to know about smoke from NYC wildfires

New York City’s air has been heavily polluted with thick smoke from the Canadian wildfires burning hundreds of miles away.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams warned residents to stay inside to avoid exposure.

The haze wafting from Quebec posed a threat to healthy adults as well.

New York’s air quality has become one of the worst in the world as ominous orange smog from wildfires near Quebec, British Columbia and Nova Scotia continues to settle in the region, according to IQair.

Air quality is expected to remain hazardous throughout the weekend.


All five boroughs were under an air quality health alert through Thursday morning as winds drove southward smoke from more than 150 forest fires in Quebec, 110 of which were thought to be out of control .

Unhealthy air and smoke are expected to persist in the five boroughs through Sunday.

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