As smoke is once again creeping over the southeast, attention should not only be on those with breathing problems but also on pets.

Prairie Animal Health Centre Veterinarian Greg Douglas says that they experience problems with the smoke just like we do.

Well, pets, outdoor animals, even livestock and performance horses will see them have distress and discomfort with breathing as the airways are affected by the smoke, no different than smoking in humans where it's irritating and cause the bronchi to constrict, making it more difficult for them to breathe. Then if the particulate matter from the smoke gets deep into the lungs then it can cause an inflammation such that it is painful to breathe after a while."

"If you can, it's important for animals to stay out of the smoke if possible, and certainly if they have to go out, which they almost invariably have to go out on a daily basis to be out as short of a time period as possible."

Pets can even have their own breathing complications, which means they could need extra attention.

"Every animal is different and we see asthma in cats," said Douglas, "So it's going to make asthma worse in cats, older dogs will have various pulmonary conditions and smoke will make it more difficult for an older small dog to breathe."

While it may not be ideal to wait for the smoke to break in order to exercise your pet, Douglas says most will be able to last a couple of days.

"Hopefully the smoke passes and if there are opportunities to get your dog some exercise in between the smoky periods, that's good, but watch your animals for any signs of increased breathing and that will tell you whether the animal is having any difficulty. 

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