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Wildfire Smoke and Your Dog


Updated: 7/6/2021

In the past, wildfires have plagued both Northern and Southern California and as temperatures are increasing, fire risk in the state remains high. If you live near an area where wildfires are a possibility — in California or elsewhere — it pays to be prepared, so that you and your pup are protected.

Help protect your pup from smoke dangers

When a wildfire burns, smoke can spread quickly — and often far beyond the fire's perimeter. Keep in mind that if you’re affected by smoke, it’s safe to assume your dog will be, too. During periods of poor air quality, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends these tips to help protect your pup:

  • Keep pets indoors as much as possible.
  • Keep your windows shut.
  • Let dogs outside only for brief potty breaks if air quality alerts are in effect.
  • Avoid intense outdoor exercise.
  • Have a pet evacuation kit ready, and include your pets in your disaster preparedness planning. 

Tips on emergency preparedness

A veterinary approved emergency preparedness checklist for you and your pup in the case of a wildfire or emergency

Veterinarian Ann Eliopulos, a member of the Wag! Advisory Board, assisted us in developing these Emergency Preparedness tips. The tips can help you gather necessary emergency items in advance so that you can evacuate quickly, which is often what’s required with fast-moving wildfires.

Even if you’re not directly threatened by a wildfire, the AVMA recommends you consult a veterinarian if poor air quality resulting from a nearby fire is affecting your dog. You’ll want to act quickly if your dog is experiencing such symptoms as coughing or gagging, difficulty breathing (including open-mouth breathing and increased noise when breathing), eye irritation or excessive watering, inflammation of the throat or mouth, nasal discharge, or asthma-like symptoms. You’ll find the AVMA’s complete list here.

How you can help pups who need it

We hope you and your dog are safe and healthy. Unfortunately, there are those who aren’t as a result of recent wildfires. They could use some help. Our longtime partner, GreaterGood.org, works with shelters across the country, and in times of need, they provide on-the-ground assistance to help relocate, feed, and otherwise care for animals in need. That’s certainly the case in California right now, and we’re matching the first $5,000 donated to Greater Good through this campaign.

Most of us consider our dogs family. It only makes sense that we’d do everything we can to help keep these furry family members safe in the event of an emergency — and to do what we can to help others going through an emergency of their own.

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