With the recent devastating fires in our community we have been seeing many pets suffering for its consequences. Some of these problems include but are not limited to: trouble breathing, coughing, burn injuries, not eating, diarrhea, and eye irritation/corneal ulcers. The smoke contains many toxic air pollutants including carbon monoxide that can irritate and damage the airway. We can see bronchitis, asthma flare-ups, and life threatening fluid in their lungs (noncardiogenic edema, pneumonia).
*If your pet is coughing or having trouble breathing see a vet ASAP.
Below are some tips for Smoke/fire decontamination of your pet:
Pet Decontamination Tips:
- Keep pets inside as much as possible.
- Avoid them from sniffing, licking or eating anything in burn areas
- Have them wear doggy booties if they will allow
- Clean their paws with dawn or neutral dog shampoo and soak in warm water after walks.
- Don’t pull off black debris from paws. Soak paws and let debris fall off on own. Pulling debris can further damage the underlying burned tissue.
- If there are wounds on the paws see a vet. Burn wounds are very painful. You can soak paws and apply SSD (silver sulfadiazine) until you can see a veterinarian if they are not too painful. It is important to keep the paws moist and clean.
- Doggy goggles can be used for heavily contaminated areas.
- Eyes-The cornea can be very sensitive to smoke. Flush eyes with saline eye wash or purified water. Can apply remend eye drops or aqua tears to keep their eyes moist. ***If your pet is squinting, mucus discharge, red or swollen it should be seen by a vet ASAP.
- DON’T brush your pet! This further aerosolizes the toxins.
- Wear N95 mask when bathing your pet
- Bathe with Dawn/Palmolive and lukewarm water. Use a large volume of water with low pressure. ***Rinse-wash-rinse cycle 3 times for maximum benefit
- Birds, reptiles or rodents can be misted with room temperature water in a warm environment. Mist until the visible toxin is gone. ***If trouble getting toxin off can use small amount of watered down dawn but make sure rinse well with water. After misting wipe down with dry towel. Keep in warm environment and away from windows or doors. If stressful stop what you are doing, and contact your local exotic veterinarian.
- Dry pet well to prevent hypothermia.
- Keep birds inside and away from windows, doors or anywhere else where there maybe a wind draft
- Moist towelettes or baby wipes may be used to wipe the facial area (eyes, nose, mouth, and in the ears) where washing is difficult. Remember dogs commonly use their tongue to clean around their lips and other parts of their body.
- Use HEPA air purifiers in homes.
When to see a vet:
- Coughing or having trouble breathing see a vet ASAP
- Burn wounds
- Eye squinting, mucus discharge, or red eye
- Small mammal (Rabbit, guinea pig or chinchilla) having decreased bowel movements or appetite even if it has only been 12 hours
- Cat/dog not eating well for 1-2 days, vomiting or diarrhea
- Missing for more than 1 day
- Bird breathing heavy (tail bob), depressed, puffed up or at bottom of cage