While we usually speak on the dangers and possible pet anxiety-triggers caused by summer storms, it’s important to be aware that forest fires can also bring stress to your pet. Lately, many of the areas in west coast region have been in flames due to forest and brush fires, and it’s not just the flames that are destructive- fire smoke can travel hundreds of miles, affecting the air quality throughout a whole region and forcing our pets to stay inside.
For pets that are accustomed to consistent time outside, posting up indoors may spur on added anxiety or destructive behavior. To combat this, we suggest our ThunderShirt, ThunderToy and ThunderTreat to help calm your pet and keep them occupied as the smoke clears. While short trips to answer nature’s call are inevitable, keep in mind that heavy smoke can take a toll on our pet’s respiratory systems just as it can on ours. Additionally, if your home is in danger of a fire and you are forced to evacuate, the hustle and bustle of packing your things can spark anxious behavior in your dog. Consider using ThunderShirt when packing and to take with you to a safe location to help your dog stay calm and relaxed.
Live in an area prone to forest fires? Here’s some safety tips for you and your furry friends!
If your area’s air quality is labeled “unhealthy”
- Shelter in place, stay indoors.
- Keep you and your pet hydrated to progress a cough and help prevent smoky air from settling in the lungs
- Use air conditioning if possible, to help filter air throughout a house
- Keep all doors and windows shut in both home and vehicles, if in a vehicle make sure the air conditioner is set to reticulate the air
- Humidifiers will help the air quality in a home or building
If You Are Forced to Evacuate
Plan ahead for a safe place for your pet
Evacuation shelters generally don’t accept pets and for this reason it’s important to plan ahead to ensure that your pets and family will have a safe place to stay. Research hotels and motels outside your immediate area for pet policies and ask friends and relatives outside the area if you and your pets can stay with them in case of a disaster.
Proper Identification and Updated Vaccinations
Having your pet licensed AND microchipped can protect your pet and help identify them if they were to become lost. Also, keep your pet’s vaccinations current, and keep the records handy.
Leave early and take your pet
One of the most important things to do if you are evacuating your home is to take your pets with you because you may be forced to stay away longer than anticipated. In addition, leave early and don’t wait for mandatory evacuation orders because if emergency officials have to evacuate you, you might be told to leave your pets behind.
If you are away
The risk of a fire may strike when you’re away from home. Make arrangements in advance with a trusted neighbor (who is comfortable with your pets and knows where in the home they are likely to be) to take them and meet you at a specified location.
Have a photograph taken of you with your pets to show proof of ownership should you become separated.
Have pet carriers ready that are the correct sizes for each of your pets. Make sure each carrier is labeled with your contact information, should you become separated from your pet.
Prepare an emergency kit
Have a pet emergency kit prepared and ready for a disaster like a forest fire. This kit should have:
- Three-plus days supply food and food bowls, water and two weeks of your pet’s medications
- A ThunderShirt
- Litter boxes with litter, if you have cats
- Extra leashes and collars
- Vaccination and medical records
- Photos and descriptions of each pet
- Pet first aid kit and pet first aid book
If you have to evacuate at the last minute and cannot take your pets, don’t be a hero and return to the danger zone to try to rescue them. Contact a trained professional rescue team, such as your local animal humane society.
(tips adapted via)