Is Wildfire Smoke Harmful to Pets?

Are our pets at risk from the harmful effects of the widespread smoke caused by uncontrolled wildfires when they happen in New Zealand? Of course, yes!

When numerous cities and towns advise residents to remain indoors, shut their windows, and limit outdoor activities due to the compromised air quality, it raises concerns about the well-being of our beloved pets.

Keeping the furry little ones away from potentially hazardous wildfire smoke is advisable to avoid unwanted health troubles. At the same time, pet owners should consider being equipped with pet insurance in NZ so they have a medical financial backup just in case something unfortunate happens to their furry companion’ health.

The best pet insurance covers fur babies for comprehensive health conditions with minor financial implications, which is why owners should contemplate purchasing a policy. In the meantime, read on to learn the health consequences of being exposed to wildfire smoke for the pet fraternity.

Why should pets not be exposed to wildfire smoke?

Much like humans, pets can be adversely impacted by the reduced air quality resulting from pollution or wildfires. While some animals might find it uncomfortable or unpleasant, others may develop eye irritation, respiratory issues, and various health problems, even with brief exposure. Also, pets with pre-existing medical conditions might deal with severe repercussions leading to medical emergencies.

Signs to watch out for

Although it would be ideal to keep our pets indoors whenever the air quality is uncertain, this may not be feasible in some situations. For instance, puppies require outdoor time for bathroom breaks. In unavoidable situations, the most important step one can take as a responsible pet owner is to minimize the furry baby’s time spent outside. Also, the pets should be closely monitored for signs of distress or discomfort.

Indications that your pet might be facing challenges due to smoke irritation encompass –

  • Redness, excessive tearing, or irritation in the eyes
  • Discharge from the nose
  • Coughing
  • Breathing difficulty (panting, rapid breathing, audible breathing sounds, or breathing with an open mouth)
  • Gagging
  • Pawing at the face
  • Swelling in the mouth/throat  
  • Unwilling to eat/drink
  • Unsteady/uneven movement
  • Confusion
  • Weakness or tiredness

On observing any of the above symptoms in pets exposed to smoke, seeking veterinary attention becomes inevitable.

Exercising extra caution is crucial if fur babies have pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, allergies, or a heart condition, as they may be at a higher risk of encountering difficulties. Also, brachycephalic pet breeds (with short noses and flat faces) are more vulnerable to experiencing problems and often require special attention.

Steps to take when pets inhale wildfire smoke

1.Remove them from the smoke-filled area

Bring the pets indoors or to a location with clean, filtered air. This will help minimize their exposure to further smoke inhalation.

2.Monitor their breathing

Keep a close eye on the breathing patterns. Contact the vet on noticing significant changes in breathing or other signs of distress.

3.Provide a calm and stress-free environment

Create a quiet and comfortable space for pets to rest. Limit their physical activity to reduce any additional strain on their respiratory system.

4.Offer plenty of fresh water

Ensure the pets have access to clean and fresh water to stay hydrated. This can help soothe their respiratory system and prevent dehydration.

If you have any concerns about your pet’s health or their symptoms worsen, contact your veterinarian for guidance and professional advice. Simultaneously consider being prepared with pet insurance NZ so that unexpected health situations are more manageable. The best pet insurance covers much of a furry baby’s medical costs during unplanned vet visits and health emergencies, which is why you must contemplate purchasing a policy.