Animal security amidst Western U.S. wildfires

As wildfires continue to burn throughout the Western United States, here’s what animal moms and dads should know about smoke inhalation and heatstroke. Historic wildfires have ravaged California in recent weeks, leaving an amazing 3.3 million acres burned in less than a month.
Throughout California, it is approximated that 29 significant wildfires are still burning, and more than 16,750 firefighters are struggling to fight them back. Washington and Oregon are also seeing widespread destruction from the fires– which have actually been amplified due to dry, windy climate condition.
As wildfires continue to spread throughout western U.S. states, affecting air quality and triggering wildlife to leave to security, it is necessary for family pet parents to be familiar with the possible threats for animals. We are providing medical recommendations to animal caretakers relating to heat and air quality as it associates with their animal’s health, most of which is aimed towards those with family pets suffering from underlying respiratory conditions or allergies. We are also advising family pet parents to avoid exposing pets to excessive heat– considering that high temperatures have been concurrent with fires– at peak times daily.
Tips to assist keep family pets safe throughout the fires
1. Limitation direct exposure to smoke
The wildfires are anticipated to continue to gush out large plumes of smoke in the coming days. This smoke can damage your family pet in numerous ways, including causing inflammation to eyes and respiratory system, as well as aggravating chronic heart and lung illness. Whether your animal is healthy or has a heart or lung condition like asthma or bronchitis, it is essential to restrict their direct exposure to smoke.


If a wildfire occurs in your location, pay attention to local air quality reports and the United States Air Quality Index External, and expect main health warnings about smoke. Take additional safety measures such as avoiding hanging out outdoors. If your family pet has lung or cardiovascular disease, follow your veterinarian’s advice regarding your pet’s disease management plan.

Signs of smoke inhalation Agitation Uncoordinated gait Seizures Problem breathing Increased breathing rate Coughing Facial swelling Squinting of eyes Skin burns Sluggish reaction time Even if your pet appears to be doing fine after smoke exposure, they need to be seen by a veterinarian.

Throughout the very first 24 hours following smoke direct exposure, breathing problem may gradually worsen.

The treatment following smoke inhalation is oxygen therapy; nevertheless, some animals might need intubation– a procedure in which a tube is put in the mouth, down the trachea, to keep the respiratory tract open.

2. Watch out for heat fatigue

In our practice, we frequently see canines can be found in with heat exhaustion, or animal heatstroke. Heatstroke happens when a pet’s body takes in more heat than it can dissipate, either through exercise or exposure. If possible, walk your dog in the early morning or night to prevent the hottest hours of the day, and keep them inside on hot days. Even if your backyard has shady areas, keep in mind, temperatures can shift throughout the day. Constantly have water available and keep animals well groomed. If the coat is matted and tangled the fur might trap heat in. If you do take them on a walk, keep walks at a slow speed, and if your family pet appears tired, rest or stop the activity. If you think your canine is having a heatstroke , soak your family pet’s body with towels and water , and put them in front of fan; then right away give them to a veterinarian medical facility.

3. Keep a watch out for displaced wildlife

Some Northern California areas are understood to be Mountain Lion and Bobcat territory. As the fires spread out, these big felines and other wildlife are being displaced. Predatory animals are pushed down hills, far from fires, however closer to houses. Due to this, we’re recommending caretakers to keep pets and cats inside around dawn and sunset, and to assist regional wildlife by leaving water out for them. Family pets that have actually been exposed to smoke and/or fire require immediate medical attention from a veterinarian.

If scientific signs of heatstroke or smoke inhalation develop and/or get worse, immediately call your veterinarian for guidance on next steps or bring your pet into a veterinary healthcare facility for evaluation. This prompt care can suggest the distinction between life and death for your animal.