Protect animals from wildfire smoke

Published on September 12, 2017

New web page advises pet and livestock owners

Save the Whole Family Smoke Hurts Animals, TooForest fires are burning in western states from Montana to California, and large fires of any type can send plumes of smoke and particulate matter wafting through the air. No matter the source of the fire, the smoke and dust can irritate animals as well as people.

A new AVMA web resource, Wildfire Smoke and Animals, offers tips that veterinarians can share with clients to help them understand the impact of smoke on their animals and recognize signs that an animal may be suffering.

Among the signs of smoke or dust irritation:

  • Coughing or gagging
  • Difficulty breathing, including open mouth breathing
  • Eye irritation and excessive watering
  • Nasal discharge
  • Excessive frothing of the mouth
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Reduced appetite and/or thirst

The new web page offers advice to help both pet and livestock owners protect animals from the smoke and dust that accompany fires. It joins a growing collection of disaster preparedness resources the AVMA offers for both veterinarians and your clients. In addition, the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association has developed a veterinary client handout with tips to keep pets safe from wildfire smoke

September is National Disaster Preparedness Month, so whether or not you live in an area affected by the current wildfires this is a good time to share this information with clients. The fires now burning are a reminder that fires can happen anytime and anywhere. Knowledge and advance planning are powerful tools that can help save the whole family in times of emergency.