What Happens To Our Pets When They Inhale Smoke?


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There have been numerous wildfires spreading through the US this year. The fires did damage to an approximate of 9.2 million acres in land as of November 30th, 2017. These wildfires are awful to deal with and can cause extensive damage to various properties, wildlife habitats, and people. It also causes a lot of trauma to our pets.Dr. Lynn Rolland Hovda, director of veterinary services at the Pet Poison Helpline of Bloomington located in Minnesota says that the most prominent reason behind death in pets during a fire is poisoning through carbon monoxide. Not only is it deadly, it is also the very first thing that everyone initially associates with inhaling smoke.Although carbon monoxide poisoning can be potentially fatal, there are also other dangers to watch out for in terms of protecting your pets. These dangers can range from small injuries to medical emergencies. Thatโ€™s why it is so important to do adequate research so youโ€™re better prepared for if something traumatic happens to your pet.

Signs That Your Pet Has Inhaled Smoke:

The outward signs include:

  • Your pet might smell like smoke
  • Your pet might have soot all over him
  • Your pet might be coughing, breathing rapidly, or is having some difficulty drawing breath
  • Singed fur
  • Your petโ€™s mucous membranes and gums change to a bright red color
  • Abnormalities in the eye like squinting, redness etc.
  • Visible burns
Dangers Of Smoke-Inhalation For Pets:

Some minor injuries sustained from smoke inhalation are easily treatable if caught early, here are a few other dangers that could affect your pet:

  1. Thermal InjurySmoke and heat that the pet inhales travels through his nose, into his windpipe, and through his small airways, finally making it into his lungs. This can damage and irritate the airways. The airways can also become damaged by the ash, heat, and chemicals. That, in turn, increases your petโ€™s likelihood of getting pneumonia.
  2. Poisoning Through Carbon MonoxideCarbon monoxide thatโ€™s found in smoke is quite high which results in your pet being poisoned by carbon monoxide. Hemoglobin is used to carry the oxygen from his lungs, back to his bodyโ€™s tissues. Carbon monoxide binds with the hemoglobin which makes it hard for it to do its job. A lack of oxygen can cause brain damage or even death.
  3. Poisoning Through Hydrogen CyanideHouses contain a lot of plastics, paint, laminates, and varnishes and when it burns down, it spreads a combination of dangerous chemicals into the air which can then cause poisoning through hydrogen cyanide in your pets. The symptoms exhibited by your pet after he has been poisoned is much the same to symptoms he exhibits when heโ€™s lacking oxygen. This can include difficulty drawing air or rapid breathing, drowsiness, lethargy, and even excited behavior of an unusual nature.

There are also things like pneumonia and neurologic damage that your pets could get if exposed to too much smoke. So be careful and take extra precautions to keep your furry friends safe during this difficult time.

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