Currently, scientists across the globe are now focusing on the negative effects of air pollution on animals, since humans are already experiencing the harmful effects of air pollutants.
Such effects include the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and respiratory symptoms like wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness of chest, chest pains, and persistent cough. In severe cases, air pollution can cause premature death of individuals belonging to at-risk groups comprising young children, elderly, and those with preexisting cardiovascular diseases.
How Air Pollution Affect Domesticated Animals
It has been revealed by scientific studies that domesticated pets living with owners who smoke are at greater risk of developing respiratory disorders than their owners. Mainly because animal companions spend most of their time on floors.
Findings have also established a correlation between poor animal health and carcinogens from human indoor activities that involve the use of cleaning products, smoking and other emissions. Of particular interest are the carcinogens that cause mesothelioma, lung, bladder, and nasal cancers in dogs.
A published report has shown that pets are also affected negatively by air pollution outside of homes. The researchers studied the brains of dogs found in Mexico City and compared them with dogs from cities that are not as polluted. Their findings revealed that the dogs in Mexico City had increased inflammation in their brains, as evidenced by clumps of protein, a critical sign of Alzheimer’s disease in humans.
Another study was carried out by by researchers from the Schools of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University Cummings and University of Massachusetts. Their study involved 700 dog owners as respondents who replied to questions about pesticide use
Part of the survey results showed that 33% of the dogs owned by the respondents were diagnosed with a form of cancer called canine malignant lymphoma. Their chances of getting lymphoma would go up by 70%,if their owners continue to use pesticides in their yard.
A Study concerning cats on the other hand, showed that one in ten of the subject felines have asthma because of both indoor and outdoor air pollutants. Similar to dogs, cats are also affected when their owners smoke or burn wood fires as the smoke impairs a cat’s lung function.
Ways to Reduce a Pet’s Exposure to Air Pollution
Since domesticated animals usually spend their time in the yard or indoors, the following tips actions can help protect your pet from air pollution:
- Use air purifiers, or if they are already in use, regularly change the air purifier filters;
- Frequently vacuum in order to remove indoor air pollutants such as pet hair;
- Refrain from smoking inside the house;
- Choose cleaning products and wall paints that have low or no VOC ingredients.
- Refrain from walking pets in areas with heavy traffic and choose places that are far from roadways, preferably in residential areas and parks;
- Choose your yard products wisely and always ask for less toxic alternatives for chemical pesticides.
Domestic Animal Care in South Korea
Recently, there has been a rise of pet owners in South Korea as a growing number of Koreans have shown interest in pet welfare. This country has animal laws that particularly focus on the protection of animals in all categories, which Korean citizens must strictly obey.
Animal Protection Act (2017) Article 32 of the Act defines companion animals as cats, rabbits, and dogs only. Both public officials and members of the public must make it their duty to protect animals.
South Korea’s act of animal protection includes minimizing, if not preventing the exposure of domesticated animals to outdoor and indoor pollution. That is why it is normal for Korean homes to have HEPA air purifiers not only for human use, but also for the welfare of their pets. Animal companions after all, are themselves a primary source of indoor air pollutants.
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