As a Singaporean listening to the radio the other day, This article was borne out of compulsion.This offering from one of Singapore’s radio deejays:
“I was on the road the other day and saw a mn walking his dog. He had on a face mask to protect himself from the toxins that come with the haze covering the country now. His dog wa not so lucky. Hi s nose touched the ground, totally unprotected.”
I empathized immediately with his point.
Singapore has been enveloped in the yearly haze that comes about because of the forest fires that are a result of the illegal slash and burn of the forests in Indonesia by recalcitrant logging companies. This inconsiderate logging on the part of these institutions has brought about hazardous ramifications for, not only the people of Indonesia but those of neighboring countries as well.
The Pollutant Standards Index, which measures air quality, hit a hazardous 400 and I was at home with a mask on. Cloudy, my West Highland and Misty, my elderly schnauzer were confined to an air conditioned room to ptevent smoke inhalation.
Yes, our fury companions are victims too. It is noted that birds are more at risk as they fly at higher altitudes with thinner air.
When pets in Singapore are brought out in these smoggy conditions, protection for them is often forgotten. This could largely be due to the fact that awareness and knowledge of how to properly defend pets in such trying situations can be limited.
Just how can we give our pets needed protection during this time? And which dog breeds are more at risk?
What threats does hazy weather pose?
A smoggy situation can indeed be threatening. How does it intrude into our lives and the lives of our pets?
Vets here noted that 2 out of 3 dogs brought into the clinic were there because of haze related illnesses. How exactly does it affect them?
Dust particles irritate the nose
A haze essentially results in dust particles irritating our noses, eyes, skin and throat. Dogs, with a large olfactory organ in their noses, are particularly susceptible to nose irritation.
The situation is compounded because they smell three times as well as we do! Note that dog breeds with shorter snouts are more likely to fall victim to haze related effects.
People and pets with respiratory problems are more prone to haze hazards.
People who have respiratory problems, asthma or a chronic cough are particularly at risk of the haze. The same concern applies, if not more, to our pets
Children and the elderly are likely to be affected.
Our children and the elderly are prone to the problems of the haze, being weaker in constitution.
So too, are young puppies and senior canines like Misty, who at one point during Singapore’s hazy developments was really languid and had a little trouble breathing.
Pets are likely to suffer from the burning of paws.
The hot air rising from the ground is likely to raze the paws of dogs and cats walking along pavements and on hot roads.
Signs that our pets are suffering the effects of the haze
This is not applicable to Singapore’s hazy situation alone. Those living in urban and smoggy conditions might find this information useful too.
How do we know when our pets are suffering the effects of the haze? Here are some signs to look out for.
1) Redness of the gums/pale gums
3) Wheezing or harsh breathing sounds
4) Increased intake of breath, labored breathing
5) Squinting and rubbing of the eyes
6) Discharge from the eyes or nose
7) Collapse or unconsciousness
8) Uncoordinated movements
All these mean that our pets are being affected by the haze.
What can we do to protect our pets from the haze?
We have in place measures to protect ourselves, and measures can be be put in place to protect our pets.
Take them out for quick walks.
In smoggy or hazy conditions, take our dogs only for quick toilet breaks. It is unadvisable to take them out if the air quality or PSI is above 200.
Use the air conditioner.
It would mean a slightly heavier electricity bill, but would benefit both you and your pet with better circulation of air.
Change water bowls regularly.
Make sure that your pet gets a regular supply of fresh water, as dust particles contribute to dehydration.
Use artificial tears
We use eye drops to flush out irritants that cause annoyance to our eyes. Pet have their own range of drops that can be used as well.
Protect the feet
Walking on hot pavements might raze the paws so it would be good to protect the feet with booties for short walks or make sure to wash them thoroughly later.
Try a home made remedy!
Those who are a littlemoreadventurous can try this on their dogs. Try adding two to three drops of lavender or eucalyptus oil to a basin of water and giving the dog a wipe. Try it on yourself and it might dissolve irritants on the skin.
News on the haze in Singapore
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In harsher weather, it is imperative that we give ourselves and our fur balls adequate protection. To a less hazy situation!
Grab some interesting books with tips on pet care!
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