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Wildfire Season: Is Smoke Bad for Dogs and Cats?

Vet Talks 3 min read
Photo of a cat hiding with smoke in the front to illustrate a blog answering the question: is smoke bad for dogs and cats?

If you live in an area affected by wildfires, you might be thinking to yourself: is smoke bad for dogs and cats? As a responsible and caring pet parent, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential dangers that wildfire season can bring to our furry companions. In this article, we’ll explore the effects of smoke on pets, how to recognize symptoms, the role of supplements, proactive measures to protect your pet, and the treatment of smoke inhalation in dogs and cats.

Natural Respiratory Support for Pets

Just like humans, dogs and cats can be adversely affected by the smoke generated during wildfire events. When a fire is nearby, the air becomes filled with fine particulate matter, chemicals, and irritants. These harmful elements can be inhaled by our pets, leading to respiratory issues, eye irritation, and general discomfort. 

These harmful elements can be inhaled by our pets, leading to respiratory issues, eye irritation, and general discomfort.

Keep a close eye on the following symptoms if you suspect your pet is struggling with the poor air quality caused by smoke:

  • Coughing or difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing or sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Lethargy 
  • Decreased Appetite

If you suspect that your pet has suffered from smoke inhalation, seeking veterinary care is crucial. The veterinarian will evaluate your pet’s condition, perform necessary tests, and provide appropriate treatment. Treatment may include oxygen therapy, medications to alleviate respiratory distress, nebulization to soothe airways, and supportive care to aid recovery.

Supplements can play a beneficial role in supporting your pet’s respiratory health during periods of smoke exposure. Here are a few supplements that can help:

  • NHV Resp-Aid: This supplement was vet-formulated to address upper respiratory congestion, combat infections, and promote healing. Resp-Aid contains anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties, which can help relieve shortness of breath. 
  • NHV Nature’s Immuno: This supplement is a blend of mushrooms known for their extensive health benefits, including supporting the respiratory system.
  • NHV PetOmega3: Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can also help support respiratory health. PetOmega 3 is a blend of fish oil designed to be easily mixed into your little one’s food. 

Protect Your Furkiddo from Wildfires & Smoke

A photo of a dog hiding behind a tree in an area that looks completely burnt from wildfire to illustrate a blog answering the question: is smoke bad for dogs and cats?

Taking proactive measures is key to protecting your furry friend during the fire season. Here are some steps you can take before anything happens:

  • Stay informed about local fire conditions and evacuation plans.
  • Keep your pet’s identification tags up to date and ensure they are microchipped.
  • Create an emergency kit with essentials like food, water, medications, and a carrier.
  • Maintain good indoor air quality by using air purifiers or keeping windows closed during heavy smoke periods.
  • Consider a pet-specific mask or alternative protective measures recommended by your veterinarian.

If smoke is already present in your area, there are several actions you can take to protect your pet:

  • Limit outdoor activities and keep your pet indoors as much as possible.
  • Create a safe and comfortable environment by using air purifiers or creating a designated “clean room” with minimal smoke exposure.
  • Keep doors and windows closed to prevent smoke from entering your home.
  • Monitor indoor air quality and consider using a high-quality air filter system.
  • Provide plenty of fresh water to keep your pet hydrated.

Remember, your veterinarian is the best source of guidance and advice specific to your pet’s needs. By staying informed and taking necessary precautions, you can help protect your furry family members during wildfire season.

Next time you hear a neighbor or friend questioning: is smoke bad for dogs and cats? We hope you can pass along your newfound knowledge and help them stay vigilant and prepared to keep everybody safer during this challenging time. Either way, please know that we are always here to help you ensure the safety and well-being of your beloved pets during the wildfire season or any post-emergency care.

Dr. Amanda Nascimento DVM, MVSc, PhD

Dr. Amanda Nascimento DVM, MVSc, PhD

Dr. Amanda completed her undergraduate degree in veterinary medicine in 2010 and graduate studies in veterinary pathology (MVSc. 2012 and PhD 2016) at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of São Paulo. She completed her post-doctoral training at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine – University of Saskatchewan in 2018. Dr. Nascimento will be hosting her own blog series and sharing her knowledge with our extended NHV family.

Published: July 12, 2023

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