WSU veterinarians say keep your pets indoors, out of the smoke
The poor air quality and smoky conditions are dangerous for humans and for pets. Until the smoke clears, Washington State University veterinarians say the best thing pet owners can do is keep their animals indoors.
Dr. Jessica Bell, clinical instructor at WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, told KIRO Radio that the advice for pets is similar to that for humans, in that staying inside is best. For animals that need to be outside, pet owners should try to limit that time and refrain from heavy exercise. That means no excessive ball throwing, long walks, or hiking while the unhealthy air quality remains.
Additionally, it’s important to provide fresh water for your pets, even inside, as particles can settle in the water and make the pet less likely to return and drink more.
“Make sure they have plenty of fresh access to water, and have it changed daily because the air pollutants will taint the taste of the water and then the animals may not drink as much as they should,” Bell said.
Keep an eye out for any unusual behaviors, and contact your veterinarian if you think something is wrong.
“If the pet is having a hard time breathing and it’s lasting for more than a minute or so, then they need to call to consult their veterinarian,” Bell said. “Sometimes breathing the heavy smoke air can aggravate other underlying health problems, like heart disease or asthma.”
Note that some animals will just be more sensitive to the poor air quality, Bell added, including cats and some exotic animals, like birds and reptiles. Elderly pets and pets with respiratory conditions should be monitored closely as well.
Bell also said that with so many particles in the air, now is the worst time for a dog to have its head out of the window of the vehicle because the smoke can irritate the pup’s face and eyes.
Be aware of what normal looks like for your pet, she said, and look out for any changes that may indicate something is wrong. If animals are showing signs of discomfort, consult your regular veterinarian.
The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.