SACRAMENTO, Fox News, 2018 -- With the smoke from Butte County settling in the Sacramento area, humans aren't the only ones who need to limit their time outdoors. Pets can also experience serious health problems after prolonged exposure to smoke.
Article originally posted on Nov. 15, 2018 at: https://fox40.com/2018/11/15/how-to-keep-your-pets-safe-from-wildfire-smoke/
"She seems to do fairly well out here," said Bill King, who brought his black labrador mix Sophie to the Bradshaw Animal Center dog park on Thursday. "She runs and runs and runs and hasn’t had any problems like humans would."
What Do Veterinarians Say About a Dog Pollution Mask? [Video]
But veterinarians disagree. “Dog and cats are going to breathe in the same stuff you or I are going to breathe in," Dr. Brianna Benedetto said.
That’s why Benedetto says dog owners should just take short walks in the morning or the evening, when there’s more moisture in the air. “And no exercise, no frisbee, no playing ball," she said. "Just not right now, it’s just not a good time.”
Dr. Jyl Rubin says she’s been treating pets from an animal shelter in Paradise, a Butte County community that was all but destroyed by the Camp Fire. Most of the animals have respiratory issues. "And unfortunately we’ve lost a lot of them from smoke inhalation burns," Rubin said.
And she says cats and other pets can also feel the effects of smoke after long time exposure. So it’s best to keep them inside as long as possible too. As for putting masks on pets, Benedetto says those are made for humans.
"They’re not going to work. They just don’t fit right," Benedetto said. "You know with the masks you need them to have full face coverage and they just don’t develop one that’s for a long breed snout like this one.”
Rubin says there are some specialty pet masks but they’re not easy to find and often don’t stay on right. Both veterinarians say it's just better to keep your pets indoors.
Update For 2019 About Dog Pollution Masks
During the wildfires in California in the fall of 2018 there was no solution for a proper fitting pollution mask for dogs. In 2019, this is changing. K9 Masks has created the "World's First' pollution mask specifically designed for dogs.
The Good Air Team in Austin, Texas has designed a mask to protect our furry, four-legged, friends from the dangerous of toxic smoke inhalation. Creating the K9 Mask with adjustability to fit on various size muzzle shapes was one of the key design challenges for a dog pollution mask. However, the Good Air Team persevered with various prototypes and live testing to create a dog mask that fits and is effective for filtering bad air.
While we hope the wildfires in California and the Northwest don't return any time soon we can now better protect our pets from the dangers of smoke inhalation and respiratory problems.