From food and water to air filters and first aid kits, here’s what to have on hand for your pets during a wildfire.
As snow melts and temperatures rise, some regions of the U.S. are getting ready to enter “wildfire season,” a tough time of year for air quality. While you can’t predict when and where a wildfire will occur, you can be prepared with emergency essentials for your family, including pets. Use this checklist to get started.
During a wildfire event, you want to avoid leaving your home if at all possible (assuming you don’t need to evacuate the area). Stock up on your pet’s food so you won’t run out until it’s safe to venture outside. Also make sure your pet has access to clean, fresh water at all times.
Animals that are used to getting their energy out on walks and in the backyard may start to feel a little stir crazy when they’re locked inside for days on end. Keep them distracted with food puzzles and brain games such as hide-and-seek.
A wildfire will put an extra strain on your HVAC filter as it tries to capture smoke and unwanted pollutants from your indoor air. To help reduce the amount of particles in the air that you and your pet are breathing, change the filter both before and after a wildfire event. You can also create a “clean room” for everyone to gather, including four-legged family members, by running an air purifier in a space with closed windows (or, better yet, no windows).
Dogs can literally sniff out our stress levels, which are bound to be higher during a wildfire.¹ Your own anxiety may overwhelm your dog, so give him a safe haven to escape to by setting up a kennel in the clean room.
If your local officials are giving you the order to evacuate, you likely won’t have time to pack a bag for your pet. Be proactive and keep an animal evacuation kit on hand at all times. This might include:
Whether or not there’s a threat of a natural disaster like a wildfire, it’s a smart idea to have a pet first aid kit on hand. Check with your veterinarian for a more comprehensive list, but items should include:
If the air quality is so poor that it’s not safe to let your dog outside to use the bathroom — especially senior dogs who may have breathing issues already—stock up on disposable pee pads and odor-eliminating poop bags so they can temporarily relieve themselves inside during wildfire season if needed.
Before you leave your home, check the Filtrete™ Smart App. With outdoor air quality information, you’ll be able to monitor when it’s safe to resume your daily walks with Fido.
For more information on preparing your family and pets for a natural disaster, check out the American Veterinary Medical Association’s “Saving the Whole Family (PDF, 478.38 KB)” brochure.