Air quality alert! Remember to protect your pets.

One of the ways to protect your pet when air quality is bad: Keep your windows closed.

With the poor air quality we are experiencing in our region, it is important to take steps to protect ourselves and our families—including our pets. Just as extreme temperatures and other weather or environmental conditions impact people, our pets are impacted, too. The risk is even greater for animals with respiratory or cardiovascular disease, animals with flat faces (brachycephalic), like pugs, bulldogs and Persian cats, and animals that are very old or very young. Birds (e.g., parrots, cockatiels, parakeets) are particularly susceptible.

Here are some tips to help you protect your pets:

  • Keep them inside with doors and windows closed.
  • Let dogs and cats outside only for potty breaks.
  • Avoid intense outdoor exercise—there are lots of indoor activities for dogs when they can’t go for normal walks or play time outside.
  • For homes without air conditioning, utilize other cooling methods for animals.
    • Make sure fresh water is available at all times.
    • Provide fresh fruits and vegetables for pets such as birds, rabbits and guinea pigs.
    • Utilize ceiling or portable fans.
    • Offer your pet frozen treats like DIY popsicles.
    • When possible, keep animals in the cooler areas of the home.
  • If you have chickens and/or miniature goats:
    • If possible, use feed and bedding that produce less dust.
    • Make sure their water is fresh and clean at all times.
    • Be extra diligent in keeping pens and coops clean—this will help reduce dust and other irritant.s

Signs of respiratory distress include:

  • Unusual coughing, sneezing, gagging.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Unusual discharge or watering from eyes or nose.
  • Open mouthed breathing.
  • Lethargy or weakness.
  • Reduced appetite.

If you think your pet(s) may be suffering from the effects of poor air quality, they should be seen by a veterinarian right away. Take care of yourself and your pets—they count on you!

Keep Calm and Prepare for the Fireworks








July Fourth should be a day of fun and celebration—not fretting over an anxious pet. Here’s how to keep your pet calm and safe during Fourth of July festivities, or any time you expect loud noises.

Be prepared:

  • Update all tag, pet licensing and microchip information. Use July Fourth as your annual reminder to check that all your contact information is current.
  • It may go without saying, but don’t bring pets to fireworks displays. If you do decide to take your dog out during the fireworks, be sure, as always, to keep it on a leash.
  • Don’t underestimate your pet’s ability to get away in a panic by jumping fences it’s never jumped before, slipping out the door, crawling into walls/under beds, etc. Its heightened state of anxiety can make your pet faster and slinkier.
  • Keep your pet indoors in the quietest room in the house, with the doors and windows closed. Cover the windows or keep your pet in a room without any windows so it feels safe.
  • Play soothing music or turn on a TV or fan to drown out anxiety-producing sounds. Familiar indoor sounds will be a comfort to your pet.
  • Distract the pet with its favorite toy, treat or game.
  • If you know your pet is anxious on the Fourth of July or is sensitive to sounds in general, speak with your vet about anti-anxiety medications, and stay home with your pet to monitor its behavior.

Should your pet go missing, refer to the following search tips and techniques:

  • If your pet is microchipped, reach out to the company where the chip is registered.
  • Visit your local animal shelter with a flyer including your pet’s picture and your information. Check back every few days as animals are held for three days before being evaluated for adoption.
  • For pets lost in Seattle, visit the Seattle Animal Shelter website for found pets as well as animals available for adoption. You may also call the shelter’s Lost Pet Hotline at 206-386-7387. Be sure to visit the shelter too.
  • Post large, bright, colorful signs featuring a photo of your pet around your neighborhood. Also post signs at veterinarians’ offices and stores that offer community posts.
  • Think about places your pet may have gone that are familiar. A park you frequent on walks? A neighbor who leaves the door open or treats outside?
  • Be internet and social media savvy. Post an ad on Craigslist or a neighborhood website such as West Seattle Blog, Nextdoor, or My Ballard.
  • Post pictures of your missing pet on your preferred social media channel and encourage your friends to share the post.

Seattle Animal Shelter’s 11 tips for protecting pets from the cold

During this time of year, drops in temperature mean more than cranking up the heat in your home. Follow the Seattle Animal Shelter’s tips for protecting pets from the cold:

  1. Bring pets indoors and take them out only when necessary. Even on a sunny day, dogs and cats can get frostbitten ears, noses and feet if left outside.
  2. Help your elderly or arthritic pets when they need to go outside.
  3. Like people, dogs and cats are more susceptible to illnesses in the winter. Take your pet to your veterinarian if symptoms occur.
  4. If your cats or dogs get wet from rain or snow, gently towel or blow-dry them off, including their paws. This helps avoid tiny cuts and cracked pads. Remember that chemicals used to melt snow and ice on driveways and sidewalks can burn your pet, so check their paws, mouths and bellies after a walk.
  5. Do not leave your pet alone in a car. It gets too cold and can quickly become a freezer, causing hypothermia and possibly death.
  6. If you use antifreeze, clean up spills immediately, and watch for any left on the ground or in open containers. Pets love the smell and taste of antifreeze, and even a small amount can kill them.
  7. Be careful of fireplaces and portable heaters. Keep fireplaces screened and heaters out of reach, as pets may chew the cord or knock them over and cause a fire.


  1. If you have to leave your dog outside for a period of time, provide an elevated dog house with clean, dry bedding and a flap over the opening to keep drafts out. Face the doors away from the west or north to avoid cold winds. Better yet, if you have a garage, consider installing a doggie door. Check water bowls to make sure they are not frozen and avoid using metal bowls, as your pet’s tongue could stick to the frozen metal.
  2. Remember that when walking on snow, dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. A current Seattle pet license is your best insurance that your pet will be returned to you.
  3. Consider a sweater for short-coated breeds, such as pit-bull-type dogs and Chihuahuas. Choose wisely, as sweaters made from certain fibers, such as cotton, don’t insulate when they get wet and can actually remove heat from an animal’s body. Instead select wool and some synthetics that provide insulation, even when wet.


  1. Outdoor cats and kittens often nap on warm car engines and hoods. If your car was recently used, knock on the hood or honk the car horn before starting the engine.

The Seattle Animal Shelter is open Wednesday through Sunday, 1- 6 p.m. for adoptions and licensing. For more information, call 206-386-PETS (7387), or view animals available for adoption online at

Dogs and salmon don’t mix

Spawning salmon are a Northwest treasure but pose a real risk to dogs

Spawning salmon have returned to creeks in the Pacific Northwest, and one of the best viewing locations in Seattle is Piper’s Creek in Carkeek Park. Through the end of the year, this creek, and many others in Seattle, will host hundreds of salmon returning home. The Seattle Animal Shelter and Seattle Parks and Recreation remind dog owners to keep their dogs leashed and out of the creeks – for the safety of both the salmon and the dogs.

Spawning salmon and dogs pose unique hazards to each other in the Pacific Northwest, so it is best to leave Fido home during a visit to view the salmon. If dogs ingest raw salmon, they can become victims of salmon poisoning disease.

“Dogs can get salmon poisoning from eating raw salmon, trout, steelhead or salamanders that are infected with an internal parasite,” said Dr. Jennifer Bennett. “Dogs often get sick a week or more after ingestion. Without treatment, the disease is fatal in 90 percent of dogs.”

Dogs in creeks also pose hazards for the salmon. The trip up the creek is biologically stressful on the fish, and all energy is needed to simply swim. Dogs in creeks and waterways can negatively affect the fish, leading the salmon to not reach their spawning ground.

The Seattle Animal Shelter and Seattle Parks and Recreation are asking for your help to save the Pacific Northwest’s salmon and to protect your dogs. Always keep your dog on leash when not in an off-leash area, and avoid salmon spawning grounds if you have your dog along.

To protect the salmon and dogs, officers will be doing emphasis patrols in parks with spawning salmon. Off-leash fines can range from $54 to $162. To report off-leash dogs, please submit a service request at You can also contact the shelter or get more information by calling 206-386-PETS (7387) or visiting

For those wishing to view salmon in Piper’s Creek, the address is 950 NW Carkeek Road. Salmon Stewards will be at the park every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. until Dec. 3 to help visitors spot returning salmon and answer questions. Salmon Stewards is a community volunteer program funded and collaboratively run by Seattle Parks and Recreation and Seattle Public Utilities. To learn more about the program, visit or

The Seattle Animal Shelter (SAS) protects public safety and enforces all animal-related ordinances for the city of Seattle. SAS also cares for abandoned, abused and orphaned animals of Seattle. Located at 2061 15th Ave. W., SAS is open from noon-6 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday, for adoptions and licensing.

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is committed to healthy people, healthy environments and strong communities. SPR works to promote good stewardship of the land and manages a 6,414-acre park system of over 485 parks and extensive natural areas.

Seattle Animal Shelter reminding pet owners to protect pets from the heat

During a heat wave, make sure your pets have plenty of cool water.

The Seattle Animal Shelter is once again reminding pet owners to take proper precaution during the hot weather expected this week. With temperatures forecasted to reach the 90s, pet owners are encouraged to exercise good judgment and use common sense when it comes to protecting their pets from the heat.

Never leave your animal unattended in a vehicle, said Seattle Animal Shelter Acting Director Ann Graves. Even on a 70-degree day, cars left in the sun can turn into lethal ovens, reaching fatal temperatures of more than 100 degrees within just a few minutes. And with the movement of the sun, cars originally left in the shade can soon be in direct sunlight.

“Even dogs left locked in cars in the shade with the windows cracked on hot days are at risk of brain damage or death,” Graves said. “Our officers receive emergency calls every day about animals locked in cars. If the animal is in distress, officers will use all means possible to rescue the animal.”

The warm weather also creates hazards for cats. As many homes in the Northwest aren’t equipped with air conditioning due to the normally moderate climate, people leave their windows open during warm weather. The fresh air is essential to you and your pets, but be aware of the enticement and danger an open, screenless window can pose for cats.

“Make sure your window screens are secure, especially on second floors and above,” Graves said. “Open, screenless windows are an invitation for curious cats. They may be known for always landing on their feet, but those little paws are no match for the combination of hard ground and gravity when the fall begins six, or even two, stories up.”

Graves offered the following tips for protecting pets during hot weather:

·         Never leave your animal tethered or kenneled in direct sunlight. Provide a shady area for retreat, such as a dog house, porch or shady tree, and always provide access to plenty of cool water.

·         If you leave animals indoors, open the screened windows, keep a fan running, provide plenty of water and, if possible, leave them in a cool location like a basement.

·         Never leave dogs or cats unattended in a closed, locked vehicle.

·         If you must travel with your pet, carry water. If a trip requires you leave your pet in the car at any point, think about saving that for another day. It’s not worth the risk.

·         Avoid overexerting your animal in hot weather. Pavement can get especially hot, and obesity, old age, underlying disease and previous bouts of heat stroke can predispose an animal to the condition. If you are concerned, contact your veterinarian.

·         For birds, take caution and place the bird’s cage away from direct sunlight during the intense heat of the afternoon. Provide water and fruits and vegetables with high moisture content.

·         For rabbits and other small mammals, be sure to keep them cool. Avoid direct sunlight, and consider adding ice cubes to their water or giving them a frozen water bottle to snuggle up to.

If you see an animal that may be in need of assistance, or if you have questions, contact the Seattle Animal Shelter at 206-386-PETS (7387).