Urban Dogs & Pollution
Pollution doesn’t just affect humans – it also affects pets.
Environmental pollution impacts the whole planet and it is harming all life in its various forms. Whether humans or animals, inhabitants of big cities are usually most affected as the air pollution in those areas tends to be higher. The vast amount of cars, busses and motorcycles lead to city air being heavy in pollutants from exhausts. Pollutants, such as lead, accumulate on the very ground our dogs are sniffing day in and day out.
Dogs have a respiratory system similar to that of humans and both humans and dogs are affected by pollution. However, as dogs spend more time closer to the ground, they suffer more than us city humans. Through nose and mouth, pollutants are inhaled into and start cruising through the body. A study by Calderón-Garcidueñas et al. (2008) compared dogs living in the highly polluted Mexico City to those living in a lower-polluted city. Brain development in young dogs was found to be hindered in association with the pollution and proteins associated with Alzheimer’s in humans were increased in those exposed to more pollution.
Another pollution that is prevalent in cities is noise. The city never sleeps and being able to hear higher frequency and things further away in comparison to humans, the constant auditory stimulation can be overwhelming to dogs. Consistent noise can increase the dog’s blood pressure (Silva & Fontes, 2019) and lead to displays of anxiety and fear (Carrieri-Rocha, et al., 2020). Increasing the body’s cortisol levels, the stress can negatively impact the immune system, limiting how the body deals with issues such as inflammation and wound healing (Glaser & Kiecolt-Glaser, 2005). To what degree noise pollution affects your dog depends largely on socialisation both in their young years and on an on-going level. Having been exposed to a variety of different noises and situations as a puppy will ensure a healthy development and ability to self-sooth and deal with stress – but that’s a topic for another blog post!
If you live in the city, it is impossible to completely avoid air pollution (unless you barricade yourself in a clean room and never leave!). What you can do is look after your health and help your immune system stay strong through a balanced, nutritious diet. This is true for your dog, too.
A diet rich in Omega 3 & 6 is important in helping your pooch navigate
city life and air pollution.
Our nutritionist makes sure our high-quality food contains all the right essential fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins to help our London doggies live their best life.
Calderón-Garcidueñas, L., et al. (2008) Air pollution, cognitive deficits and brain abnormalities: A pilot study with children and dogs. Brain and Cognition, 68 (2), 117-127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2008.04.008
Carrieri-Rocha, V.M., Duarte, M.H.L., & da Silva Vasconcellos, A. (2020). Acoustic stress in domestic dogs (canis familiaris) living around football stadiums. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 37, 27-35.
Glaser, R., & Kiecolt-Glaser, J. (2005). Stress-induced immune dysfunction: implications for health. Nature Reviews Immunology, 5, 243-251.
Silva, C. C., & Fontes, M. A. P. (2019). Cardiovascular reactivity to emotional stress: The hidden challenge for pets in the urbanized environment. Physiology & Behavior, 207, 151-158. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2019.05.014