How to Keep Your Pets Safe from Wildfire Smoke

SACRAMENTO -- 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.

"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."

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.

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