As wildfire season ramps up and you start making plans for your own safety, don’t forget about your animals.
Just as wildfire smoke is dangerous for humans, it can also adversely impact pets and livestock. Here are five steps to take to protect your animals this wildfire season.
You are responsible for your animals.
“The number one thing is don’t forget about them,” Dr. Ari Zabell, a veterinarian in Vancouver with Banfield Pet Hospital, told The Oregonian/OregonLive. “We have to be really perceptive.”
That means keeping an eye on air quality even if you aren’t planning on going outside, so you can know when to take action.
Bring animals inside.
When advisories are issued for people, it’s time to bring your pets inside and close the windows. According to the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association, pet birds are especially sensitive to particulate matter in the air, but you should bring all your animals in when the smoke gets bad and limit outdoor time to quick bathroom breaks.
Monitor your pets.
According to Zabell, you should be on the lookout for trouble breathing, red eyes and low energy in your animals. If you are concerned, you should contact your vet.
Don’t forget to take care of your animals in other ways.
Just like people, animals suffer from stress. Zabell said it’s important to keep playing with pets and keep them fed and busy, even indoors during a smoke situation.
And playing with your pets can help keep your stress at bay as well.
Make an evacuation plan that includes your animals.
Whether you have a small cat or a herd of cattle, it’s important to make a plan for where your animals will go if you are evacuated. Plan ahead so you aren’t forced to make terrible choices as you are leaving.