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How to keep your pets safe during dangerous air quality levels



There are many health risks that people can face when it comes to wildfire smoke. However, health problems brought on by the dangerous air quality levels are not just limited to humans — our beloved pets face them as well.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a good point of reference is if you can see or feel the effects of wildfires yourself, you should take precautions for your animals.

Just like humans who have heart and lung issues, animals with cardiovascular and/or respiratory diseases are most at risk when it comes to suffering effects of wildfire smoke.

Other signs of possible smoke or dust irritation in animals, include:

  • Coughing
  • Gagging
  • Difficulty breathing, including open mouth breathing and increased noise when breathing
  • Eye irritation and excessive watering
  • Inflammation of throat or mouth
  • Nasal discharge
  • Asthma-like symptoms
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Disorientation
  • Stumbling
  • Reduced appetite and/or thirst

The AVMA urges pet or livestock owners to watch animals during periods of poor air quality and remain vigilant. They should call a veterinarian if an animal presents any of the above signs.

Additionally, aside from informing the public what signs to look for in your pets that showcase smoke and dust irritation, the AVMA also provides tips on how to protect our animals during these instances.


Pet owners can follow these tips, provided by the AVMA, which include:

  • Keep pets indoors as much as possible, with windows shut.
  • Birds should not be allowed outside when smoke is present.
  • If air quality alerts are in effect, you should let your dogs and cats outside only for brief bathroom breaks.
  • Avoid intense outdoor exercise during periods of poor air quality.
  • Walk pets when dust and smoke has settled.
  • Have a pet evacuation kit ready.


The AVMA also provides specific tips on how to keep livestock safe. These tips include:

  • Exercise should be limited if smoke is visible. Don’t require animals to perform activities that increases lung airflow.
  • Provide plenty of fresh water near feeding areas.
  • Limit dust exposure by feeding low-dust or dust-free feeds and sprinkling livestock holding area.
  • Plan to give livestock 4 to 6 weeks to recuperate after air quality returns to normal levels.
  • Have a livestock evacuation plan ready in advance in case your need to quickly transport all animals.

Source: NBC New York

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