Posted by Pet Honesty on

Protecting Pets During Wildfires and Pollution-Triggered Allergies

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Wildfires pose a formidable threat not only to human lives but also to our cherished pets. As a responsible pet owner, it is imperative to have an understanding of the hazards of wildfires, particularly the exacerbation of allergies due to smoke and airborne irritants like pollens and mold spores. This article provides in-depth insights and practical advice on safeguarding pets during wildfires, with special attention to smoke-related allergies.

dog looking away

Preparation and Evacuation Strategy 

In wildfire-prone areas, preparation is a must. Begin by microchipping your pet and ensuring their collar has updated identification tags. Assemble an emergency kit containing essentials like food, water, medications, a carrier, and a first-aid kit. It is also important to have an evacuation plan in place. Conduct practice drills and ensure all family members know the role they will play in evacuating the pets. Keep carriers and leashes accessible and make sure your pets are acclimated to them.

dog with pet honesty allergy support

Understanding Smoke-Induced Allergies 

Wildfire smoke comprises particles, gasses, and water vapor, which can significantly affect the air quality. Additionally, smoke and wind from wildfires can stir up pollens, mold spores, and other allergens. Pets, like humans, can experience exacerbated allergies due to these airborne irritants. Common symptoms include sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, itching, and difficulty breathing. If your pet has pre-existing allergies, these symptoms can be even more severe.

“Veterinarian organizations had already been bracing vet practitioners for an intense 2023 allergy season, and now the wildfires are beginning to exacerbate environmental allergen and pollen counts in affected areas,” said Dr. Victoria Carmella, DVM, FFCP (“Dr. Vickie”), a veterinarian advisor to Pet Honesty who is also an emergency vet practitioner in the Northeast. “What is important to keep in mind is that outdoor air quality impacts indoor air quality for all family members, including your pets.” 

Air Quality Management

Keeping the indoor air clean is essential during wildfires. Pets should be kept indoors with windows and doors sealed. Use air purifiers and keep the air conditioning on recirculate mode to reduce the influx of outdoor air. Limit outdoor activities for your pets to necessary bathroom breaks. Provide a comfortable space free of common indoor allergens, as this will help in reducing the additive effects of indoor and outdoor allergens on your pet’s health. 

Mari, Bruno’s mom and part of the Pet Honesty family states, “Bruno’s been mostly indoors the past few days and only going out to potty like twice or thrice a day for less than 5 mins. The first time yesterday, after only being outside for 5 mins, he started wheezing when he came back in. The vet said limit time outside to max of 10-15 mins and to use air purifiers”.

Addressing Allergies 

If your pet exhibits allergy symptoms, prompt action is vital. Provide clean water consistently, as hydration helps in flushing out toxins. If your pet is on allergy medications, make sure they are administered as prescribed. For severe symptoms, consult a veterinarian. Keep your home free from additional allergens by cleaning regularly and avoiding the use of products with strong odors. Use hypoallergenic bedding for your pet and wash it frequently.

Provide a daily supplement that helps support the immune system and provide overall allergy support, such as Pet Honesty’s Allergy Support for dogs, which provides immunity support from antioxidant vitamins C and E, and zinc; antibodies from colostrum; respiratory and antihistamine support from nutrients such as omega-3 and turmeric; and probiotics, beneficial bacteria for the immune system and respiratory health. 

dog lying with pet honesty allergy support

Post-Wildfire Care and Support 

After the wildfire, it is essential to help your pets adjust. Survey your home and yard for hazards such as ashes and debris before allowing your pets outside. Gradually re-establish routine and provide them with plenty of affection. Consult a veterinarian for follow-up care and advice on managing any lingering allergy symptoms. Rebuilding after a wildfire can be stressful for pets, so providing a stable environment is critical.

dog walking and owner holding the pet honesty allergy support


The health and well-being of your pets during wildfires hinge upon thorough preparation, an understanding of the risks, and vigilant care, especially when it comes to smoke-induced allergies. 

“When air pollutants are high, we’ll see pets that typically do not suffer from allergies will begin to show symptoms such as itchy skin, watery eyes, wheezing, sneezing, excessive scratching or paw licking,” said Dr. Vickie. “Just like humans, pets are vulnerable to new allergens when the air quality is compromised.” 

By managing air quality, understanding and addressing allergy symptoms, and providing post-wildfire support, you can ensure that your pets are not only safe but also able to recover and thrive after the disaster. Pets are an integral part of our families, and safeguarding them during wildfires is our paramount responsibility.