Dogs and Wildfire Smoke: 5 Ways To Protect Dogs During Wildfire Season

While the end of summer typically connotes bark-to-school shopping, running through the park sprinklers, and the last dregs of summer camp, in many areas of the country it’s now becoming synonymous with something much, much less idyllic: wildfire season. 2021 is proving no different, and as we move into August and September, experts have projections of smoke (and the low air quality levels that come with it) blanketing large parts of the U.S. 

Dogs and wildfire smoke don’t mix well, especially when it comes to seniors or brachycephalic breeds. Follow these five tips to protect your pet this wildfire season. 

1. Keep Dogs Indoors As Much As Possible 

As much as it might drive you and your hyperactive ball of floof mutts, the easiest and safest way to protect dogs is keeping them indoors with the windows and doors shut tight. Invest in some doggy puzzle toys to keep doggo mentally stimulated, or find your city’s indoor dog parks to visit if pup’s beggin’ to stretch her legs. 

2. Make Potty Trips Brief 

As an addendum to #1, obviously they will need to go outside to do their business. Vets say this is fine, but do keep the trips to under 10 minutes if you’re able. In and out! 

3. Keep Pup Hydrated 

It may mean more quick potty trips, but experts agree it’s extremely important to keep your animals well hydrated during wildfire season. If you notice that pupper is drinking less than usual, it could be a sign of smoke inhalation. 

4. Have A Pet Evacuation Kit Ready 

If you live in an area where you may be evacuated due to wildfires, prep evacuation kits for the humans and pets. The American Veterinary Medical Association compiled a list they recommend having ready if you need to get to safety quickly, which includes 3-7 days worth of food and water, medications, pet first aid kits, license documentation, and more. 

5. Watch For Smoke Inhalation

As the air quality worsens, keep a sharp eye on your pet for signs of smoke inhalation. These can appear as symptoms like coughing, wheezing, trouble breathing, reduced thirst and appetite, fatigue, and/or red eyes. Call your vet right away if you see any of these symptoms. 

When it comes to dogs and wildfire smoke, err on the side of safety. What are your favorite indoor toys or games for days pup’s stuck inside?

Featured photo: Kelly Sikkema

Sidewalk Dog’s mission is to help dog parents spend more time with their puppers by discovering and sharing activities they can do and places they can go—together! Sniff out our award-winning newsletter and Instagram, then join our Dog-Friendly Seattle Facebook Group.

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