Smoky Conditions Can Affect Animals

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It’s smoky in Alberta! We can all feel how the smoke impacts us, and if the smoke is bothering you, it is likely irritating for your pets as well. Wildfires are more common in the United States and the American Veterinary Medical Association lists these tips for keeping your pet healthy during times of intense wildfire smoke.

Companion Animals & Smoke

  • Keep pets indoors as much as possible, and keep your windows shut.
  • Birds are particularly susceptible and should not be allowed outside when smoke or particulate matter are present.
  • Let dogs and cats outside only for brief bathroom breaks if air quality alerts are in effect.
  • Avoid intense outdoor exercise during periods of poor air quality. Exercise pets when dust and smoke has settled.
Office dog Charlie surveys the smoky conditions outside the Alberta SPCA head office

The Association says any pets with cardiovascular or respiratory diseases will be particularly susceptible to the smoke and recommends that you consult your vet if your animals have any of the following symptoms:

  • Coughing or gagging
  • Difficulty breathing, including open mouth breathing and increased noise when breathing
  • Eye irritation and excessive watering
  • Inflammation of throat or mouth
  • Nasal discharge
  • Asthma-like symptoms
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Disorientation or stumbling
  • Reduced appetite and/or thirst

Livestock & Smoke

The smoke impacts livestock as well. And while it is not possible to keep them indoors like companion animals, you can take steps to limit the impact of the smoke on them. The AVMA lists the following recommendations.

  • Limit exercise when smoke is visible. Especially don’t require animals to perform activities that substantively increase airflow into and out of the lungs.
  • Provide plenty of fresh water near feeding areas.
  • Limit dust exposure by feeding low-dust or dust-free feeds and sprinkling or misting the livestock holding area.
  • Plan to give livestock 4 to 6 weeks to recuperate after the air quality returns to normal. Attempting to handle, move, or transport livestock may delay healing and compromise your animals’ performance.
Dan Kobe

Dan Kobe

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