Smoke Inhalation And Your Pets: Symptoms And Prevention
Smoke inhalation is hard on your small pets, especially since their lungs are smaller than yours and they can't tell you how they feel. It doesn't matter if your pet's exposure was from a wildfire outside or a kitchen or whole house fire inside, smoke will damage your pet's lungs. Sometimes, the symptoms won't be apparent for day, but exposure can potentially be deadly. If you're concerned that your pet may have been exposed to smoke, here are some symptoms of smoke exposure as well as information on limiting the risks.
Common Smoke Inhalation Symptoms in Pets:
When pets are exposed to smoke, carbon monoxide can bind with the hemoglobin and cause oxygen deprivation. Also, the heat of the fire can also burn the lungs even if the skin and fur remain undamaged. This results in the following symptoms, all of which need immediate attention. Your pet may be:
Struggling to breathe or breathing with an open mouth or panting, especially in small animals such as cats.
Coughing or hacking continuously and over a long period of time.
Stumbling around and losing his or her balance. Passing out is also possible.
Showing obvious signs of burns on the paws, fur, skin, or the more sensitive areas around the eyes.
Prevention or Limiting Smoke Inhalation:
If the area is smoky, then you will want to limit your pet's exposure as much as possible as soon as possible To do so, you can do the following:
Be prepared to evacuate if you live in a wildfire area. This means knowing your pet's favorite hiding places so you can remove them quickly in an emergency and keeping the carrier and emergency pet pack ready.
Keep doors and windows closed if the smoke is coming from outside the home. Limit your pet's walks to bathroom breaks.
Limit your pet's exposure to smoky areas inside the home if the problem was a kitchen fire or a fire limited to a specific area.
Remove your pet from the smoky area by evacuating or boarding your pet with someone in a safe area until the situation is resolved and the smoke is gone.
Keeping your pet away from potential smoke hazards is your best bet, but sometimes it's hard to do that when it's caused by things beyond your control. Smoke inhalation can turn into more serious issues, such as pneumonia, and put your pet's life at risk. Some pets, like birds and reptiles, can be particularly sensitive to even the smallest amount of smoke. If your pet has been exposed to smoke and is acting sick, see your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Reach out to a clinic like Parkview Animal Hospital for more information.