The pet owner, Andrew White, took to Twitter on Wednesday to share a photo of his dog in the handmade mask. Speaking to Newsweek, White’s wife, Emily Uhde, noted that the face covering was made out of a hotel shower cap and a N95 respirator mask.
In the caption of his tweet, White wrote: “Lots of smoke today in Rochester. My wife made a mask for our dog though. Kind of incredible.”
During her conversation with Newsweek, Uhde also acknowledged how easy it was for her to make this mask.
“Because I had the elastic, that’s why I used the shower cap, then I could fit it right over my dog’s muzzle,” she said. “So, pretty simple, took maybe five minutes to make.”
Meanwhile, many Twitter users responded to White’s tweet by sympathising with the dog and making jokes about the face covering.
“That is both the saddest and the most heart-warming thing I saw today!” one wrote, while another added: “Protect Siggi and all other pets at all costs during these conditions.”
“If Bane had a dog to make Batman jealous, it would be that dog,” a third joked, referring to a villain in the DC Comics series.
Other Twitter users also claimed that Siggi should get a more protective mask. For example, K9 Masks sells face coverings that are fit for dogs and can be used to protect them from toxic air outside.
However, masks may not be needed to keep pets safe from wildfire smoke, according to pet-sitting site Rover. The publication notes that dogs should only wear a mask in severe situations, such “as being in direct proximity to a wildfire”.
“In non-severe situations, masks may present risks that are even more dangerous than breathing poor quality air,” the publication added.
The Independent has reached out to White for comment.
Lots of smoke today in Rochester. My wife made a mask for our dog though. Kind of incredible. pic.twitter.com/ma2G1Fg3QE
— Andrew White (@andrewwhite01) June 7, 2023
Throughout this last week, a majority of the tri-state area has been blanketed by smoke caused by raging wildfires in Canada. On 7 June, New York City was ranked number one for the worst air quality in the world, with the Air Quality Index (AQI) at 342 and air pollution levels described as “hazardous”.
Officials have since advised people to limit their time outdoors and wear masks to protect themselves from the smoke. Public schools have also cancelled outdoor activities, including recess and gym classes.
With the continuous alerts about the air quality in New York, pets could be in danger of getting fine particles found in air pollutants in their lungs. This could cause a series of health problems, eye irritation or respiratory problems. Some breeds, such as pugs and bulldogs, may be especially at risk of inhaling too much smoke, according to the American Kennel Club.
With that in mind, dog owners should be on the lookout for signs of health problems due to poor air quality. Some of the symptoms include coughing or gagging, red or watery eyes, inflammation of the throat or mouth, trouble breathing, fatigue or weakness, and reduced appetite or thirst, as noted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
If owners notice these symptoms, they should call their veterinarian right away. In addition, saturating a cotton ball with lukewarm water and squeezing it over an animal’s eyes can help with irritation and flush them out.