Dachshund dog sitting in blue carrier

On any given day, pets depend on people for many things. When it comes to a potentially life-threatening natural disaster like a California wildfire, pets truly do not know how to look out for themselves. Pets and people are safest when they remain together during wildfire season. Whether that means hunkering down at home or evacuating, we’ve got some strategies to help with the preparations. 

Thinking Realistically

Climate conditions that drive wildfires don’t show signs of improvement. Hot, dry winds, drought, and lightning storms elevate the risk. To prevent the loss of life, irreparable health problems, and more, it’s vitally important to have a plan of action. Knowing what to do in the case of a California wildfire, and the ways to best protect your pet are essential. 

Air Quality

A significant consequence of wildfires concerns the air we breathe. Smoke, ash, and fine particulates can impact pet health long into the future. It is best to keep pets indoors whenever wildfire smoke fills the air, but especially if they have asthma, allergies, or other respiratory issues. Smoke inhalation can be perilous for avian pets. 

Making LIfe More Comfortable

If you plan on staying home during wildfire season, these ideas can improve a pet’s environment:

  • Install hepa filters around the house to limit fine particulates. Keep the air conditioning running 24/7.
  • Always keep their water bowls full of fresh, clean, cool water.
  • Reduce how many times the doors and windows open everyday.
  • Take short walks for your pet to go to the bathroom, but try to encourage exercise inside the home. 

When to Evacuate

If your home is in the projected path of  a wildfire, and conditions become too dangerous to stay, evacuation with your pets is mandatory. Pets should never be left behind

The following can help pet owners gather gear and supplies needed during an evacuation. Add to this list as needed:

  • A strong, sturdy carrier (one per pet)
  • Back up leash and collar 
  • Up to a week’s worth of food and bottled water
  • Medications
  • Waste bags and wipes
  • Copies of a pet’s medical records and ownership paperwork (keep a recent photograph of you and your pet together)
  • Flashlight
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • First-aid kit

If you have to evacuate your home, have a general idea regarding where you hope to end up. Emergency shelters may not take pets, so it’s important to conduct some research in advance regarding accommodations within a day’s drive or family members/friends you can lean on. 

Other Tips for Success

If you happen to find a missing pet, or your pet goes missing, it’s good to know that there are various organizations that help pets reunite with their people in the wake of a natural disaster. Start with the local animal shelter nearest to your home. County websites, and other neighborhood apps can help get the word out. Don’t forget to update your pet’s microchip if any contact information has changed. 

What to Do With Pets During a Wildfire

Nobody wants to repeat previous experiences of California’s wildfire season, and yet it’s best to prepare for future calamity.

If you have questions about the best ways to plan for California wildfire season, please call us at (951) 461-4100. Our staff at Sky Canyon Animal Hospital is always here to help you and your pet.