Throughout the summer and fall months, shifting winds seem to almost continuously carry wildfire smoke into the area. Most of us know that at times, smoke in the air can be thick enough to become a human health hazard, but were you aware that wildfire smoke can affect our pets as well? Just like in humans, animals with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are at the highest risk of smoke-induced health problems, although all animals can be affected.
Inhalation of the numerous irritant compounds contained in wildfire smoke can cause coughing, gagging, wheezing, breathing hard, and breathing faster than normal while at rest. Pets with disorders such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, collapsing trachea, and laryngeal dysfunction may experience a sudden worsening of their condition.
Smoke can also cause eye irritation, resulting in reddened watery eyes.
A useful tool for determining the current air quality in your location is www.airnow.gov
If your air quality index is over 150, it is a good idea to avoid strenuous or prolonged outdoor activities with your pets. Otherwise healthy dogs can still enjoy short walks under these conditions. When the air quality index exceeds 200, outdoor exposure should be limited to short bathroom breaks only.