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Keeping Your Dog Safe from Wildfire Smoke and Poor Air Quality



Because wildfires and smoke travel swiftly, even those living hundreds of miles from active wildfires should prepare. Here are a few things you can do to keep your family (and your dog!) safe from wildfire smoke and poor air quality.

Shut all doors and windows and stay inside

If you live in an area affected by wildfire smoke, only venture outside when absolutely necessary. Avoid smoking, vacuuming, burning candles, or other activities that may stir up harmful particles.

Keep walks and potty breaks to a bare minimum. Opt for indoor activities with your dog where possible. Always supervise your dog while outdoors — pets frightened by extreme weather conditions may flee or seek shelter in dangerous areas.

Related: How to Keep Your Pets Safe in a Natural Disaster

Set up a “clean” room

If the air quality is currently good but expected to get worse, take some precautions. Fit your central air conditioning unit with fine particle filters. Pack an evacuation kit for your family and pets. (Keep reading for a list of supplies to include.)

If certain areas of your home are difficult to protect, you may want to set up a “clean” room where you can seek shelter in the event of poor air quality. Choose a well-ventilated area, like a basement or bathroom. Remove any plants and items that are toxic or potentially dangerous to pets, and set up a portable air filtration unit if you have one.

Monitor your pet for signs of respiratory distress

Contact your vet immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms of smoke inhalation:

  • Watery or irritated eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Labored, rapid, or open-mouthed breathing
  • Loss of coordination
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite or thirst

Related: How Bad is Wildfire Smoke for My Pet?

Distract your pup with some fun games or training sessions

There’s no better distraction from a stressful situation than playtime with your pooch. Choose mentally and physically stimulating activities to replace vigorous outdoor adventures like walking and agility training. Stair ball, the muffin tin game, and advanced trick training are just a few indoor activities your woofer is sure to love.

Check the air quality in your area

The EPA Air Quality Index provides up-to-the-minute coverage on air quality in your area. Consider bookmarking the link for easy access.

Reschedule any upcoming outdoor adventures

Even if you’re planning an outdoor excursion in a faraway area, consider postponing your travel plans. During the 2020 wildfires that affected the West Coast, the California National Guard rescued more than 300 hikers and 16 dogs in Fresno County.

Be prepared for an emergency evacuation

In some areas, evacuation is a worst-case scenario — but preparedness is paramount even if you’re far away from the high-risk zone.

In addition to your own essentials, be sure to pack a doggy evacuation bag with the following supplies. Keep it close to the front door or in your car in case you have to leave quickly.

  • First aid kit
  • Extra harness and leash
  • Canned or dry dog food
  • Treats
  • Bottled water
  • Food and water bowls
  • Waste bags
  • Veterinary records
  • Medications
  • Crate, preferably hard-sided
  • Crate liners
  • Toys

Choose a Pet Caregiver to look after your pup while you’re out

Pet Caregivers on the Wag! platform can check on your pet while you’re working or running errands. In just a few clicks, you can book a short Walk or Drop-in session on-demand. For extra peace of mind, chat with your Pet Caregiver in-app to receive text, photo, and video updates.

Consult your vet if you have questions or concerns

If you have questions or concerns about how wildfires affect your dog, talk to your vet, or connect with a licensed veterinary professional 24/7 through Wag! Vet Chat.

emergency preparedness checklist for dog owners

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