The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) and State Veterinarian Dr. Brad LeaMaster advise pet owners to be aware of the impact of wildfire smoke on their animals. Generally, the same air quality health advisories in effect for people apply to animals. Birds are particularly susceptible to particulates in the air.
If you've been experiencing a headache, scratchy throat, or breathing issues since wildfire smoke has been covering much of the state, your body is reacting to toxins in the smoke. This smoke also affects pets, horses, livestock and wildlife in similar ways.
Signs of smoke or dust irritation include:
- Coughing or gagging
- Difficulty breathing, including open mouth breathing
- Eye irritation and excessive watering
- Inflammation of throat or mouth
- Nasal discharge
- Asthma-like symptoms
- Increased breathing rate
- Fatigue or weakness
Tips to keep animals safe from wildfire smoke include:
- Keep pets and pet birds indoors with the windows shut.
- Avoid intense outdoor exercise during periods of poor air quality. Exercise pets when dust and smoke has settled.
- Limit time outdoors for pets on days designated with a red air quality alert to quick potty breaks.
- Pet birds need to remain indoors as much as possible during the highest level advisories.
Animals that have cardiovascular or respiratory disease are at increased risk during periods of poor air quality and should be closely watched.
The State Veterinarian and OVMA remind pet owners to include animals under their care in planning for potential evacuation.
If your pet experiences breathing difficulties or eye irritation, consult your veterinarian.