At this very moment, California and Oregon have been experiencing a devastating blaze from wildfire and as much as each individual is running for their own lives, their pets and other animals are experiencing the same effects too. Since wildfire goes around every year, loving your pets goes beyond happy days inside the house and extends even during those emergency times like this. So, every dog owner should know how to protect their best friends during this unfortunate incident.
STAY INDOOR WITH YOUR DOG!
During a wildfire, a heavy smoke emits throughout the sky and the air quality, therefore, becomes hazardous not just for the people but to our pets as well. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, an air quality index above level 150 is already considered unhealthy that may cause asthma, bronchitis and other lung diseases to both dogs and humans while the air quality index during wildfire reaches from level 300 to level 500. Imagine all the hazardous gases, fine dusts, and chemicals burnt due to wind gust that may be inhaled not just by you but your furry friends, which is more than the maximum tolerable level of air quality. Thus, when smoke is already visible, it is recommended to stay away from outdoor activities and stay indoors as much as possible, while closing all possible gaps to allow the indoor air to recirculate that is safe to breathe in and to prevent eye irritation for you and your pets. Since you are staying still inside the house, avoid further smore emission such as cooking or lighting up candles or cigarettes to keep the air inside the house clean and fresh.
USE TOYS FOR DISTRACTION
For your dogs, do not, as much as possible, let it run for too much outdoors. Letting your dogs expand their lungs and find for oxygen to breathe deeply during long runs would make them inhale more hazardous substances during wildfire. Especially those dogs that have pre-existing respiratory and cardiovascular problems, as well as those senior dogs will experience burdensome breathing because of heavy smokes from wildfires. As such, make them still as much as possible and prevent activities that are exhausting or any strenuous activity. Instead, distract your beloved dogs with dog interactive toys that would make them stay still inside the house without exerting much effort. You could do hide and seek to keep your dog still in one place instead of running around for too long. Puzzles are also good activity to do with your dogs, or simply teaching your dogs more training and tricks. These brain toys would also keep them distracted from any wildfire effect that may cause anxiety to your pets. Make sure also to watch for signs of heat stroke, fatigue, headache, salivation and vomiting, and contact your doctor immediately if these occur.
CLEAN YOUR AIR
Turn on your fans to keep your dogs comfortable even if inside your house. If possible, turn on your air conditioning units to filter the air as these units have filters for cleaner air. Also, an air purifier with at least H13 Hepa filter that is hospital grade approved with high efficiency filters you can use to capture fine particles from smoke will immensely help in cleaning the air inside the house and will help you and your dog to breathe in clean air. A humidifier together with clean water to drink would also greatly help your dogs to keep hydrated and the moist in the air would help your dog’s air passage. Also, supervise your dogs’ pee breaks and limit them as much as possible to keep them hydrated all throughout. Keeping your dogs in well-ventilated area, you should also make sure that there are no toxic substances that could be played with, inhaled and drank such as pesticides, cleaning materials or other household chemicals since the dogs will be staying more time inside your house. Clean also the surroundings by any unnecessary items that could easily catch fire inside the house and know your dogs’ hiding places if there will be anything from the wildfire that bothers them so you could easily find them.
ALWAYS BE READY
An emergency kit should always be ready for these disasters and you should include your pets as well. A GPS tracking device would be useful in times like this to make sure that everyone is visible within your sight including your dogs. All the possible medications and equipment useful during heavy smokes should be available on hand for you and your dogs, including your dogs’ vaccination and medical records, travel supplies and comfort items. Take photos of your beloved dogs too as, during the evacuation, they might be isolated from their owners and be with other dogs as well so you could easily make identification of the one in charge during recovery of your dogs.
Also, just like humans, wearing masks for dogs would only be advisable if already recommended by health authorities and wearing masks for a longer period of time would make breathing more difficult. Also, considering that the fit of the mask would be difficult for dogs, it would really be not as effective as it would be for humans.
If already advised, it is better to relocate yourself together with your dogs to a place with better air quality for safer breathing for you and your fur-mily. Prepare an escape plan and determine the fire exit areas in your house. You could also train your family with your dogs and other pets on how to evacuate. The carriers for your dogs would be a comfortable place for your best friends would be better if covered with cloth to keep their anxieties away as much as possible. Lastly, if there is really no choice but to leave them behind, make sure to untie them so they could also run and find a safe spot for their lives.